October 25, 2006 at 07:37 PM EDT

Oh dear. I fear I’ve used up my day’s supply of bile and rancor discussing Nissan’s new Sentra ads, and I can’t seem to conjure up much more than an irritated eye-roll over Rush Limbaugh’s pukey attack on Michael J. Fox (pictured). The blowhard talk-radio host claimed earlier this week that the beloved sitcom star is “exaggerating the effects” of his Parkinson’s disease for a new ad (click here to view it) for Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill (a proponent of stem-cell research).

Now I’m not saying Fox is a sacred cow who should get a free pass on being criticized — not at all. In fact, his appearance in a political ad makes him fair game. Digging into the issues at hand and debating the pros and cons (like Patricia Heaton and Jim Caviezel do in this response ad): Can’t argue with that.

But if you’ve seen Fox’s ad, I can’t imagine how you could saysomething like, “So this is really shameless, folks, this is reallyshameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication orhe’s acting, one of the two.” (A half-assed, “if”-filled apologydoes nothing to negate such a comment, in my book.) I mean, it’s notlike Fox is fighting restless-leg syndrome — he’s got alife-threatening chronic illness! The way Limbaugh makes his attack sopersonal, so ugly, it’s almost as if he’s secretly rooting forMcCaskill and trying to rally folks behind Fox and his candidate.

Hmmm. Could Limbaugh actually be a sleeper agent for the Democraticparty? Yeah, it sounds far-fetched, but think about it: Don’t you get anear Pavlovian urge to pull down the ‘D’ lever every time you hearLimbaugh’s voice? Or am I overthinking things and missing the realpoint: that Rush Limbaugh will do anything for attention?

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