Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Two Americas

Important liberals live a life of privilege. The rest of us....

In 2003, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh admitted his addiction to prescription painkillers and underwent 30 days of inpatient treatment. Though he was a first-time offender and got hooked while treating severe back pain, he was persecuted by the mainstream new media and liberal politicians and hounded by prosecutors. After dragging out their inquiry for 30 months, publicity-hungry prosecutors decided they couldn't convict him of "doctor shopping" and agreed to let him off with a $30,000 fine to cover the cost of their investigation.

On July 4, the spawn of a pothead from way back was stopped after California police clocked him going more than 100 mph on the San Diego Freeway. Al Gore III, 24, told police he had just smoked pot, and a search of his car turned up marijuana and four pharmaceuticals for which he had no prescriptions.

After a brief celebrity-arrest frenzy, the media turned sickeningly sympathetic. "Drug abuse experts say the arrest of Al Gore's son underscores the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among America's youth," swooned The Associated Press "... 'Al Gore's son is just like everyone else's,' said Dr. Donald Misch, director of health services at Northwestern University."

That, of course, is hyperbole on the stilts of exaggeration. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health says just 2.6 percent of Americans 12 or older use prescription drugs illegally in any given month. Rather than being just a typical son, Al Gore III is spoiled-brat pothead who has had more than a few scrapes with the law.

He was just 13 in 1996 when he and several classmates at his exclusive prep school were caught smoking pot. While the other kids were expelled, he was only suspended because he was the vice president's son. In 2000, Al III was busted for driving 97 in a 55-mph zone in North Carolina. In 2002, he was ticketed for DUI near a military base in suburban Washington, D.C. In 2003, he was charged with pot possession in Maryland, but unlike the Limbaugh prosecution, his case ended quickly with court-ordered substance-abuse treatment.

Prince Al III was lucky his latest arrest occurred in Hippie Heaven where people who possess and abuse drugs get their wrists slapped by the "Drug Court." He's also lucky he's not a conservative talk-show host; rather than endless ridicule, he can look forward to piles of pity from the left-wing journalists and politicians.

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