The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, October 27, 2006

Oh, yeah? Well this is you-- Duhhhh, duhhhh...

Using an isolated incident-- like, say, the Michael J. Fox/Rush Limbaugh coverage after the Missouri stem-cell ads-- to illustrate the sheer grotesquerie of right-wing punditry is old hat.

But this particular incident nicely showcases just what it is that so baffles us progressives about the state of political discourse. Fox has been nothing but a class act, while Limbaugh has stuck with childish theatrics and cries of foul play.

As Ann Coulter did with 9/11 widows, Limbaugh is claiming that Democrats face an issue by trotting out a victim, thereby denying others the chance to imitate those afflicted with Parkinson's disease... errr, I mean engage in rational debate.

Fox's response on the Today show was admirable, but shouldn't have been necessary:

His body visibly wracked by tremors, Fox appears in a political ad touting Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill's stance in favor of embryonic stem cell research. That prompted Limbaugh to speculate that Fox was "either off his medication or acting."

Fox told Couric, "At this point now, if I didn't take medication I wouldn't be able to speak."

He said he appeared in the ad only to advance his cause, and that "disease is a non-partisan problem that requires a bipartisan solution."

"I don't really care about politics," Fox added. "We want to appeal to voters to elect the people that are going to give us a margin, so we can't be vetoed again."

The irony is that I was too medicated. I was dyskenesic," Fox told Couric. "Because the thing about … being symptomatic is that it's not comfortable. No one wants to be symptomatic; it's like being hit with a hammer."
As Fox himself noted, he isn't a "victim." He's a citizen advocating a particular cause of personal significance to him. Unless I'm mistaken, that's how participatory government is supposed to work. On the other hand, there's something fairly appealing about excluding oil companies from the debate on energy. Same difference, right?