I would like to clarify a comment I made yesterday that has caused me untold heartache and remorse. When I described Rush Limbaugh as the "clown prince of the GOP" I intended my words to be understood entirely as a compliment. Mr. Limbaugh is self-evidently royalty in the deepest, most God-given sense of the word--yet he is still approachable, a wise and kindly jester beloved by children and animals. Not like those Kennedys.

I am filled with shame that my words may have been misunderstood, or worse, twisted by those jealous of Mr. Limbaugh. I have been unable to eat or sleep or laugh or enjoy prescription medication, and the hours that my unintended calumny was allowed to stand will weigh heavily on my conscience in the years to come. So let me set the record straight: I formally retract, for the record and without exception, any negative implication that might be inferred from anything I have said about Mr. Limbaugh, and from anything I might say at any time in the future. Indeed, I strongly recommend such "pretractions" to anyone who worries they might inadvertently slander Mr. Limbaugh--especially, though not exclusively, those who hope to work in Republican politics in the next several years.

Rush Limbaugh is the physical embodiment of otherwise irreconcilable gifts: puppies and war eagles, moonbeams and space-based lasers, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne and Eddie Murphy pre-Golden Child. He is chocolate cake, bacon, and a stiff shot of rye rolled into one, but not fattening. He is a leader not only of his party and this nation, but of the entire Milky Way, which spins reverently about his lordly axis. He is the alpha and omega, the ne plus ultra, the capo di tutti capi. He is America, minus any of the bad stuff.

Forgive me for ever implying otherwise.

--Christopher Orr