For matters of complete disclosure, back in the early 90s, when my politics leaned a bit more to the right, I was quite the Dittohead. So it’s not like I have an ax to grind against Rush Limbaugh. I get him and sympathize with him. But still, he shouldn’t be so surprised by the backlash of the possibility of him buying into an NFL team.

The fact is that he’s a public figure who has built his success on his opinions and being an agent provocateur. Republicans in general need to face the facts that if they have to keep defending themselves against charges of racism, there’s probably a reason why. At the very least, they have a public relations problem issue that ought to cause them to examine their methods of operation. For example, Republicans are going to (continue to) look racist if they simply scrap programs for the poor without having a different plan to replace it with. [Just like Democrats are going to (continue to) enable this co-dependent relationship that keeps a disproportionate amount of people suckling at the government’s teat.]

Some things disqualify us from certain positions. In the hierarchy of social sins, perceived racism trumps even dog killing. This is the land of second chances and people have the freedom to pursue the opportunities that come our way. When you are outspoken, controversial, and polarizing—and that’s your brand—doors open and doors close because of your act.

As we think through the criteria of what makes a good leader, certainly their gifts are still in place. Some folks have called Rush the leader of the Republican Party, some see him as just an entertainer with interesting ideas. Either way, he has trained a good deal of his life for his vocation and in few occupations can one failing cast you from your career track for good. Don’t feel bad, it is what it is: I’m probably not going to drop my kids off at the Howard Stern DayCare either.