Like many if not most of you, I first reacted to Rush Limbaugh's accusations against Parkinson's suffer Michael J. Fox with disgust and fury.
As you likely know, Rush accused Fox of not taking his Parkinson's meds so his symptoms would appear that much more graphic when the actor appeared in a stem-cell-advocacy spot that is part of Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Claire McKaskill's effort to unseat incumbent Republican Senator and ardent "pro-lifer" (except after birth) Jim Talent.
Yes, my first impulse was to yell, you heartless, hypocritical prick. At least Michael J. Fox has a legal prescription, for a legitimate and very serious medical condition. Could you have made the same claims about your oxycontin, asshole?
And who are you to comment on what Michael J. Fox does with his body, and his meds?
But then a realization hit me.
Rush knew full well what he was saying. A native Missourian, he made the charges against Fox for political reasons.
Fox, you see, is a (tsk, tsk) Hollywood actor. And by accusing Fox of being manipulative to state the case for a key issue in a Democrat's plank, Rush is really saying, Michael J. Fox is just another Hollywood liberal interfering in Missouri politics.
Rush is playing to the conservative base in Missouri. The folks that maybe with Mel Gibson excepted, reflexively don't like Hollywood-even a polite actor such as Fox.
Rush is playing to the portion of Talent's base that might have otherwise stayed home but could be energized by such rhetoric. There may well be a calculus in place that this base is probably greater in number than the number of Republican-leaning Parkinson's sufferers and caregivers from the Show Me state who might get turned off by such talk on the part of Rush.
Even if that Hollywood liberal is campaigning for stem cell research that could find a cure or better treatments for Parkinson's.
Even if that Hollywood liberal is campaigning for a candidate who would be far more likely to seek legislative relief for high medical bills encountered by Parkinson's sufferers.
Even if that Hollywood liberal is campaigning for a candidate who, unlike Talent, wouldn't have backed drastic bankruptcy reform that makes it more difficult for financially challenged familities of Parkinson's sufferers to find relief in the courts.
Rush's meanness is all part of a bigger agenda, folks.
The way the math is starting to look, Talent's seat may be the arbiter of a 50-50 Senate (where Cheney breaks ties, such as the vote on a Roe-overturning Supreme Court appointment) rather than a 51D 49R Senate.