Time for The Mouth That Roared To Come Clean

Nobody should be surprised that Rush Limbaugh’s mouth got him into trouble.

The only real surprise is that it took so long.

Limbaugh, who has an opinion on everything – even topics where his level of knowledge is zero – lost his job as a football commentator on ESPN after saying Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.

It might be easier to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq than find a plausible excuse for why ESPN decided to put Limbaugh on the air to talk about football. Perhaps the answer is easier to understand when you realize the cable sports network is owned by ABC, the same outfit that thought comedian Dennis Miller could be turned into an analyst on Monday Night Football.

The Miller debacle lasted a whole season. Limbaugh’s career as a analyst wannabe lasted, mercifully, only a few weeks before his hummingbird mouth outran his logic-deprived brain.  ESPN gave Limbaugh two choices: resign or get fired. Limbaugh took the path of least resistance but refused to apologize for his stupidity.

“All this has become the tempest that it is because I must have been right about something,” Limbaugh said when he quit. “If I wasn’t right, there wouldn’t be this cacophony of outrage that has sprung up in the sports writer community.”

“Cacophony of outrage.” Now that’s a mouthful. Limbaugh may be a blowhard but he’s an erudite blowhard.

But his comments, while erudite, are still stupid. Donovan McNabb may not be the greatest quarterback to come out of professional football, but he’s pretty damn good. Good enough to get the Eagles into the playoffs more than once. He’s having a bad year. So is St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, a quarterback who led his team to two straight Super Bowls but is now benched. Haven’t hard Limbaugh say Warner is overrated because he is white.

Limbaugh, however, has bigger problem than his racism against quarterbacks of color. The cops down in Florida are investigating charges he has illegally purchased prescription pain killers because the talk show host who constantly reminds us that he is “always right” may also be a hophead.

Could this be true? A celebrity with a drug problem? Most conservative I know say only liberal celebs have such problems. Never a conservative.

Remember Bill Bennett, the former Presidential drug czar and outspoken conservative who preached morality and family values in books and on Meet The Press? Bennett turned out to be a gambling junkie who took frequent trips to casinos and owed millions in markers. You may have forgotten because Bill Bennett has been out of sight and off TV since his hypocrisy became public knowledge.

Limbaugh, however, is – for once – keeping mum. His only real public comment has been a carefully-worded denial where he said he “didn’t know” of any investigation but didn’t say he isn’t a user, or abuser, of drugs.

As a recovering alcoholic, I know a thing or two about denial. Problem? No way. Not me. You lie like hell to avoid facing the truth but you can’t deal with your problem until you get past the denial stage and deal with it head on.

Like any American, Limbaugh must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. At the moment, he is only under investigation. No charges have been filed.

But an innocent man should have no problem standing up and saying: “I am not guilty.” As the host of the most-listened-to talk radio program in the country, Limbaugh has the best pulpit in town to tell his public once and for all that all this is not true.

He should do so in plain and simple language. No double talk. No long, convoluted sentences that send even educated reporters to a dictionary.  All he has to say is: “I did not buy drugs illegally. I do not use pain killers.”

The man with the big mouth and the big microphone is always quick to judge everyone else. It’s time he judged himself.