Jewish World Review May 6, 2004 / 15 Iyar, 5764
Right in the Krischer: Rush Limbaugh's tormentor has yet to hear from everyone on the First Amendment right
Very few things ever surprised the recently deceased editor of The Wall Street Journal, Bob Bartley. However, I know of one firsthand. When the First Amendment rights of The American Spectator were trampled by the Clinton administration, specifically via a melodramatic grand jury investigation, almost no one from the press paid any attention.
That surprised Bob. He believed that legions of civil libertarians would hasten to the magazine's defense, not only from the media but also from the First Amendment "Watch Dog" groups that sempiternally pat themselves on the back for their fearless idealism and their direct lineage to Thomas Jefferson.
Bob told me to call upon Floyd Abrams, the Moses of First Amendment law in these United States. I hope Floyd will not consider it libelous of me to report that he took no interest facts are facts. Later, when I asked the great man why he had shown no interest in the Spectator's trials, he explained, "Because you don't listen." He had just delivered a very stirring sermonic on what else? free speech.
Well, OK so the First Amendment is not extended to the hard of hearing. I guess that explains why the guardians of the First Amendment have been so slow to defend Rush Limbaugh from the prosecutorial excess besetting him in progressive West Palm Beach.
Rush is hard of hearing. He has had a cochlear implant to improve his hearing. That and chronic spinal pain got him hooked on prescription painkillers. Now, after admitting to his addiction and undergoing rehab, he is being exposed to prosecutorial harassment that no Hollywoodian with a coke habit or any other confessed user of recreational drugs is likely to experience. But Limbaugh is known to the public for the political and philosophical positions he espouses, not the leading roles he plays in film or on stage. So in the spirit of encouraging Diversity, the West Palm Beach government is going to nail him. The only support he has gotten from the civil liberties strutters is from the American Civil Liberties Union. Bravo the ACLU, and shame on the phonies.
In a finely illuminating piece in the May issue of The American Spectator, my friend Sam Dealey lays out the Florida prosecutor's hypocrisy. When last fall the prosecutor he will be remembered by the enlightened everywhere as Barry Krischer was asked by Limbaugh's lawyer how he planned to deal with claims about Rush's addiction made by a crook and his shady wife in the National Enquirer, the prosecutor was reassuring. Krischer claimed his office had already been aware of Limbaugh's reliance on painkillers.
"If it was their intention to prosecute…" reports Dealey, "they would have done so already. Their office policy, Krischer continued, was not to prosecute the drug addict, but to go after the pusher."
The media's reports of Limbaugh's addiction elicited such howls, however, that Krischer suddenly changed his mind. Now Limbaugh, the recovering addict, was Public Enemy Number One. The West Palm Beach prosecutor went after Limbaugh's medical records from four doctors, skirting the subpoena process. His office released confidential correspondence between the prosecutor and Limbaugh's lawyer. Mysteriously portions of Limbaugh's medical records popped up all over cable television for a day or two.
Not a peep of protest from the Floyd Abramses of the world was heard, and the silence remains as Limbaugh continues to defend himself against this obvious harassment.
That brings me to another of Bob Bartley's beliefs. He thought that the institutions of the Old Order, that is to say the institutions of moribund liberalism, were passing. He thought the New Order, that is to say rising libertarian conservatism, was going to have to establish its own institutions at least, for the most part. Thus it is incumbent on nonliberals to defend the First Amendment.
We are fortunate that the ACLU has gone to the defense of Limbaugh. To assume other First Amendment defenders are going to play their part is futile. The time is now for the friends of personal liberty to remonstrate against the prosecutorial excess being practiced in West Palm Beach.
What Krischer is doing is wrong. It is a threat to the rule of law and to free speech. Limbaugh should be treated as any other recovering addict might be. Let us hear from the commentators of the New Order.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.
04/29/04: It is 1992 all over again, and I rejoice
04/15/04: There seems to be two George W's
04/08/04: Kennedy & Kerry
04/01/04: Sen. Jean Francois' fun and games are only starting poor Dems
03/25/04: What really explains the rancor arising in this election year?
03/19/04: College daze
03/11/04: The understandably confused are confused
03/04/04: Hillary, the loyalest of the loyal
02/19/04: Hannity's optimism
02/12/04: The moron vote
02/05/04: At least Lieberman stood for something
01/29/04: Surprised by the government vendetta against Rush?
01/15/04: Eight Angry Men
01/09/04: Doc, the greatest swim coach of all time
01/02/04: It’s lying time again
12/29/03: Alternative "Person of the Year"
12/18/03: Dean and me
12/11/03: Long live Bob Bartley
12/04/03: "Hit 'em when they're down!"
12/01/03: The Wright Stuff
11/13/03: How wrong the naysayers and the utopians have been
11/06/03: Will I be banned from America's campuses?
10/30/03: They don't care about restraint
10/24/03: "The Reagans" and the evidence of a historic life
10/17/03: The Moron Vote
10/09/03: The politics of groping and the groping of politics
10/03/03: Is there a witch doctor in the house?
09/26/03: Funny Girly-Boy
09/18/03: Send Arafat to Paris!
09/15/03: The soi-disant party of Latinos comes down hard on a successful Latino
09/05/03: Placating the carpers
08/29/03: A melange of one-issue enthusiasts will win?
08/07/03: Angry partisans
07/31/03: Why no holy cities in America?
07/25/03: They underestimate not only the president, but the American people
07/18/03: The irascible, bigoted Harry Truman was a product of his times
07/11/03: A grand affair of hot colors and surprisingly sedate audience participation
07/04/03: In search of anti-Americanism and the perfect bullfight
06/26/03: Calling on London
06/20/03: Too upsetting for the evening news?
06/12/03: Rain(es)ing Clintoon myths
06/05/03: Hillary-ous is pathetic
05/22/03: End of the last great persecution of the 20th century?
05/15/03 :Grey turns to grim at Times
05/08/03: The only intellectual force in Western history to gain moral superiority by being wrong
05/01/03: Dinning with Tom Wolfe: More lessons in nusual aspects of American life, hitherto ignored
04/28/03: Ambuscade at scholarly frontier
04/21/03: Stars in search of a galaxy
04/10/03: Baghdad Bob and Tom Daschle
03/31/03: When the media itself becomes the story
03/20/03: Revealed! Estrada is a gifted linguist -- a Japanese-American fluent in Spanish
03/14/03: Genuinely in charge
03/10/03: Stalin and Saddam
03/05/03: They just cannot stomach a protracted alliance with the Bushies
02/25/03: Identity gridlock
02/18/03: People calling Dean a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy
02/13/03: The new political establishment
01/30/03: The time is now
01/27/03: Witnessing self-love by people completely incapable of self-criticism
01/21/03: Of course our kiddies are depressed
01/13/03: Why is it that Official Washington still believes that a tax reduction means a revenue reduction?
01/02/03: Missing Moi
12/27/02: The grizzled and menacing-looking senator in Confederate drag is … a Dem
12/24/02: Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land
12/20/02: Under fire, Lott showed an ignobleness that is embarrassing
11/26/02: Bartley's enemies have been routed
11/14/02: Clarence Thomas and the segregationist Mississippi sheriff
11/07/02: I muffed up
10/31/02: Is the American university turning its back on change, on progress?
10/24/02: So why aren't the Dems buoyant?
10/17/02: Mourning the loss of the "yellow-belly"
10/10/02: American politics at its most ignominious
10/03/02: A man above the law, a bully
09/26/02: Is Bob Greene a victim of an anti-Clinton backlash?
09/19/02: I knew Mafiosi and …
09/12/02: Chickens and poseurs
09/05/02: Sympathizing with the Europols
08/29/02: 9-11 did not change us forever
08/22/02: Public persons frivoling with serious matters
08/15/02: Beachcombing among the fat of the land
08/08/02: They pave the way for corruption, not personal responsibility
08/01/02: Believing the unbelievable
07/25/02: The congressional posse comitatus
07/18/02: Cosmopolitan Arab fashion
07/11/02: What the prez actually knows
07/04/02: The vindication of a truly original thinker
06/27/02: The perfect book for Hillary
06/20/02: To say that they were ordinary is not to slight them
06/13/02: Daschle must begin to act like an adult
06/06/02: Lack of "intelligence" --- and sheer stupidity
05/30/02: Revealing a carefully guarded media secret
05/23/02: In these times, thank Heaven for Clinton!
05/16/02: Fast Times at the Church of the Nativity
05/09/02: "Name the Prettiest Suicide Bomber"
05/02/02: Vindication for the Boy Scouts
04/25/02: A topic almost no other columnist will touch
04/18/02: 'Conventional Wisdom' --- and those who defy it
04/11/02: Let the Sun shine in
04/05/02: Hooded men of color in sheets
04/01/02: A McCain-Feingold Act for Hollywood
03/21/02: Yakkin' on Yates
03/15/02: No role for Paul Volcker in Enron: the movie
03/07/02: My membership in the Communist Party U.S.A.
02/27/02: This award is bestowed by 'contrarians'
02/21/02: Mike Tyson: Made for Washington?
02/14/02: Enron as underdog?
02/07/02: Freed from the presence of money -- hard or soft -- most politicians would be just as bad
01/31/02: Needed: Bush to make a preemptive strike against his enemies …. Ones who'd like to see him fail even during war
01/24/02: Hucksters will move on to make their next marks
01/17/02: Debonair prez should begin to do the High Life
01/10/02: Move over Twinkies --- "the acne medicine made him do it!"
01/03/02: Leaving the Nazis looking comparatively humane
12/27/01: A "self-made journalist"
12/20/01: Calamities and unanticipated benefits
12/13/01: America's grief ought not to give comfort to those who caused it
12/06/01: Leahy, the strict civil libertarian!? A short-term exploiter of the Constitution is more like it
11/29/01: Welcome to Afghan, Maryland?
11/26/01: So, why don't more folks hate us?
11/15/01: America's quagmire and other certainties
11/09/01: No longer the smug statists, the prodigal Keynesians?
11/01/01: The New Seriousness
10/25/01: Bright lights and the Taliban
10/18/01: Is bin-Laden propaganda from Western intelligence?
10/12/01: No yellow ribbons
10/05/01: Bubba's back --- again!
09/28/01: Exposing peacetime's frauds
09/21/01: So protected, we're vulnerable
09/14/01: At Barbara Olson's home
09/11/01: Duh! All conservatives are racists
08/31/01: Arafat's terrorists have created their own hell
08/24/01: Time for some political prophecy
08/16/01: They claim to be doing so much good
08/10/01: Visiting the source of the White House braintrust
08/03/01: Morality and reality
07/31/01: Blinded by success?
07/24/01: The latest Kennedy capitulation in Massachusetts
07/13/01: Talk about tawdry
07/06/01: Delighting in the Dictator
06/29/01: The G-dphobes
06/21/01: Fashionable Washington is sempiternally in a stew
06/15/01: The limits of hypocrisy
06/08/01: Flagging our general apathy
© 2001, Creators Syndicate