Wednesday, October 25, 2006


"They say all politics is local, but it's not always the case," Michael J. Fox says in the 30-second commercial backing Senate candidate Claire McCaskill in Missouri, a Democrat. "What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans -- Americans like me."

Simple and straight forward; but is quite evident is that Mr. Fox is shaking. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and supports research on embryonic stem cell for a potential cure, also has lent his celebrity to Democrats Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, running for the Senate in Maryland, and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, who is seeking re-election; both of whom also back stem cell research.

The ads have triggered a backlash, with some such as conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh criticizing them as exploitive. Limbaugh went as far as to claim that Fox was "either off his medication or acting."

To be fair, Mr. Fox has acted sporadically in smaller roles, such as in a several-episode guest appearance earlier this year on ABC's "Boston Legal," playing a business tycoon with cancer and in other roles since his diagnosis Fox generally has sought to control his movements, though his illness was evident.

What is most depressing from this episode is the fact that Mr. Limbaugh’s comments are so shameful considering his own situation. A recovering drug addict, Mr. Limbaugh asked for compassion and understanding from fans and opponents during his ordeal and apparent relapse a few months ago.

Put aside the fact that Mr. Fox made his comments as support for a Democratic candidate in an election. Put aside the fact that Mr. Limbaugh, a conservative “shock” talk show host is opposed to any Democratic victory November 7, 2006. Both share a physical problem, though let us be fair, Parkinson’s is of a completely different magnitude; this however does not excuse the fact that Mr. Limbaugh decided to attack Mr. Fox.

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