I hate to do this…

…but I have to defend Rush Limbaugh. He was detained for having a bottle of Viagra at the airport? What was he going to do, threaten Palm Beach with his little gift from god?

I think Limbaugh is a lying hypocritical scumbag, but what alarms me more here is the way airport security and customs has become an arm of fascism: a way to invade the privacy of the individual, all in the name of protecting us from the faceless evil of the other. A guy, I don’t care who it is, traveling with one bottle of Viagra is not a threat, and this shouldn’t have warranted even a prim finger wagging with eyebrow raised from an inspector.

Besides, seeing this in the news everywhere and having to imagine Limbaugh with a chubby is making me feel a little bit ill.


  1. #1 Cyde Weys
    June 27, 2006

    Gerard, Viagra is prescription-only because it has some very real risks associated with it that need to be evaluated by the prospective user and their doctor. Dozens of people have gone blind from Viagra – I’m not kidding. That’s one of the side-effects. The same chemical that dilates the blood vessels in the penis and increases circulation can play havoc with the delicate blood vessels in the eye.

  2. #2 ivyprivy
    June 27, 2006

    Will this further fiasco with drugs lose Limbaugh the support of Dole republicans?

  3. #3 ivyprivy
    June 27, 2006

    ivyprivy, attack the ideas, not the man.

    I did, you *******.

  4. #4 ice weasel
    June 27, 2006

    A few thoughts (and as few thoughts about rush and viagra as possible);

    -The reporting that I have seen mentioned other perscription drugs that may or may not have been limbaughs. It doesn’t seem all that odd that if someone came into this county with a quantity of controlled substances and had no obvious perscription for them, that customs might be interested.

    -Accotding to reports, the viagra, and possibly other drugs, were perscribed to the doctor that perscribed but in limbaugh’s possession.

    -What does a single, conservative-republican, christian man need with a with a drug that gives you an erection?

  5. #5 Steve LaBonne
    June 27, 2006

    Well, you know, he just couldn’t have continued to be such a bigtime wanker without his Viagara.

  6. #6 PZ Myers
    June 27, 2006

    I don’t care if it is Customs, TSA, or the Gestapo — one bottle of Viagra is not a conspiracy to undermine the economy. It’s not a threat to others. It does no harm.

    Now I agree that it is rather creepy, and it does sound as if Limbaugh could have been taking advantage of the sex tourism trade in the Dominican Republic…but hypocrisy is not illegal, and vague, uninformed speculation is not an indictment. If he gets in trouble for a parole violation (is he on parole now?), I won’t feel good about it if he’s locked up for something as trivial as one bottle of Viagra. It’s cheating. It’s using the strictest possible interpretation of the law to silence a political opponent, and it’s not just.

  7. #7 quitter
    June 27, 2006

    Forgot to mention, it’s great to see someone who has argued for the fascism you dislike actually get nailed by this.

    He should be overpublicized that he got nailed for such a minor crime. It needs to be reported more and more so even fat old white guys realize their rights are at risk too. What a better posterboy for excesses of security and law enforcement that fat old white Rush Limbaugh getting hassled for his penis pills?

  8. #8 calladus
    June 27, 2006


    I was just thinking that there was a trend.

    o Is anti-drug – but he does use illegal drugs
    o Is pro-marriage – but divorced several times
    o Is pro-abstinence out of wedlock – but is going on sex tours

    Does the next step in this (completely unscientific) trend have something to do with his anti-gay stance?

  9. #9 PZ Myers
    June 27, 2006

    Hypocrisy: not a crime.
    Hoist on the petard of his own mindless insistence on legalism: true enough, and there is some poetic justice to that…but do you think that once Limbaugh is nailed, the officious fascists will stand down? That you won’t ever be a target, because you aren’t a big fat idiot with a radio show?

  10. #10 PaulC
    June 27, 2006

    I noticed that Salon’s War Room had a similar take to PZ’s on this story. I halfway agree: it’s not much of a story and we look desperate trying to trump it up. But if it causes Limbaugh any distress then so much the better.

    No, hypocrisy isn’t a crime, but neither is Schadenfreude. I also don’t consider it a moral failing to refuse assistance to others quite capable of helping themselves. Limbaugh has plenty of people to defend him already.

  11. #11 George Cauldron
    June 27, 2006

    Now if hypocrisy were illegal – whoo. Isn’t Rush supposed to be pro-marriage, anti-drug? Doesn’t he encourage abstinence outside of wedlock?

    Like every good rich loudmouth wingnut, Rush knows restrictions like that are for the ‘servants’, not people like himself.

    Please keep in mind, he was already on probation for doctor shopping. He’s smart enough to know he was doing some risky shit that they’d nail him for if they caught him.

    I do wonder what would have happened if they’d found the pills on him with no ‘priors’.

  12. #12 PaulC
    June 27, 2006

    Speaking of Tommy Chong, where’s the outrage? Here’s a guy who did time in the pen for selling glass pipes

  13. #13 Daniel Martin
    June 27, 2006

    Note that as far as I can see from any of the news accounts, Rush was released without being charged. (though he was held for at least three hours, I can’t find any explanation of why – it isn’t clear, for example, that he was being detained on illegal drug possession charges, since possessing Viagra without a valid prescription is only a second-degree misdemeanor. That “double checking his identity” theory may actually hold water)

    This means that the more this story gets played, the more Rush gets to play the double card of both “victim of oppression” and “thoroughly vindicated”. I’m sure this is a wonderful opportunity for him – what conservative gasbag wouldn’t love to have a reason to yell “help, help, I’m being oppressed!” and feel self-righteous about it? (while avoiding all the nasty consequences of actual oppression)

    Any idea who it is who wrote the wire copy that every news site seems to have as their main source for the story? I’d almost believe that Rush (or his lawyer) hyped the story up hoping for some kind of public backlash against the authorities so that Rush’s plea agreement wouldn’t go away.

  14. #14 Barry
    June 27, 2006

    Seth: “Rush copped a plea in which he promised to “refrain from any violation of any law”. And this is a guy who said, ten years ago, that “if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up”.

    My sympathy for Mr. “talent on loan from God” is strangely muted.”

    Rush has used his pulpit to urge his millions of listeners to support harsher drug laws for well over a decade. His work has undoubtedly caused pain and suffering for a number of people; it’s a moral imperative that he should be punished by those laws that he’s spent time and energy supporting.

  15. #15 Narc
    June 27, 2006

    PZ, I’m a little confused about your argument. Are you saying that anyone should be able to carry around an illegal bottle of prescription drugs, or just Viagra, specifically? It certainly sounds like this had the appearance of an illegal prescription, having someone else’s name on the bottle and all. Or are you saying that Customs should ignore such prescription violations completely?

    If a nameless convicted drug addict was intercepted at Customs with a similar bottle, detained for a few hours while they looked into his story, and then released and not charged, I’d say that the response was reasonable, proportionate, and appropriate. I don’t see why that changes because it’s Limbaugh.

  16. #16 Cyde Weys
    June 27, 2006

    So then there’s certain drugs it’s “worth” hassling people over and others that it’s not? That gets awfully confusing to law enforcement (especially considering most people don’t know anything about the various chemical names that likely appear on the label of the bottle). Are we going to have to hand law enforcement a huge list of drugs that are worth persuing prescription violations of, like Oxycontin, as well as a huge list of drugs that aren’t worth persuing prescription violations of, such as Viagra? PZ, I just don’t understand your defense of Limbaugh. I think it’s reasonable for Customs officials to be questioning people over illegal prescription medications. We don’t want the law enforcement trying to act as pharmacists and doctors and trying to determine which illegal prescriptions are “okay” and which should be stopped (and don’t kid yourself, there are lots of prescription drugs out there that are incredibly dangerous and easily abused). That’s for the courts to decide.

    Hypocrisy ain’t illegal, but neither is schaudenfraude. What is illegal, however, is crossing international borders with illegally obtained prescription medicine.

    You don’t need to rush to the defense of people you hate when they break the law just because you hate them.

  17. #17 ice weasel
    June 27, 2006

    PZ, It’s difficult to criticize anyone for trying to apply law consistently and fairly but I ask you sir, what is consistent and fair about drug law? The law is it what it is. Limbaugh appears to have violated it. I’ve seen no evidence that he was unfairly singled out for search. PZ, everyone who comes back into the US is subject to extreme search procedures whether they’re bloated talk show hosts or not. So Customs found some controlled drugs that didn’t match his passport. As they say in the UK, “It’s a fair cop.”

    End of story.

    You’re not being inconsistent or opposing anything in celebrating this hypocritical bigots bust. If it had been you or me, or any one of a million other people, do you think anything else would have happened?

    limpbaugh has slid through the legal system just as many other rich, white folk have. That he he got caught up in this little kerfluffle bothers me not at all. That it may have violated the terms of his parole, if for no other reason, is more than reason enough for the publicity and attention.

    Let it go PZ. This is not the hill you want to die on. Not on this sibject, not with this offender.

  18. #18 mjfgates
    June 27, 2006

    Can’t we just drop all this arguing, and instead have Rush Limbaugh skinned and his hide used as material to make a remote-controlled squid? I think the world would be a much better place with a remote-controlled squid than with Rush, and I’m fairly sure the squid wouldn’t… wouldn’t… HEY, YOU IN THE JAPANESE SCHOOLGIRL OUTFIT, GET AWAY FROM THERE!…

  19. #19 PennyBright
    June 27, 2006

    A sex enhancement drug of questionable legality was found in the luggage of a person coming back from a known sex tourism destination. It seems perfectly reasonable to me for Customs to detain said person for further investigation.

    A few hours inconvenience is hardly oppression. That this particular individual may have fouled up a legal action they were involved in by this is his own darn fault.

  20. #20 stevie_nyc
    June 27, 2006

    I think you’re missing the point.

    ANYONE male or female being attracted to RUSH and or his chubby is gross.

  21. #21 stevie_nyc
    June 27, 2006

    Ann Coulter is equally one I wish not to consider in a state of sexual arousal.

    Eew. Just Eew.

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