You're absolutely right here as well and its something the people pushing that they should be treated the same, or Rush should be treated WORSE, are completely missing either purposefully (my guess) or unintentionally (I highly doubt it).
Rush Limbaugh, at the end of the day, only has whatever power his listeners bestows upon him. He got to his position through his own work and through people making a choice with their wallets. He was not voted, he is not a representative of the people or an adviser to someone who is, he is not paid on tax payer money.
Rham Emanuel is the Chief of Staff of the white house, a close adviser to the President of the United States...a man voted in by the people to serve the people...and is paid by tax payer funds. He is a man thats words and voice does not simply affect people who choose to listen to him but directly has access to the most powerful singular man in the United States of America.
Rush is a radio jock whose entire business is made on being controversial and shocking, and there is a level of expectations that it will happen.
Rham Emanuel is a public servant representing the United States of America and is expected to be an upstanding representative of it.
In essence, Rham Emanuel is an executive of a company and Rush Limbaugh is the mail clerk that everyone knows but ultimately just files the mail. Even going beyond the notion that Parody and Satire in this country is looked at as far more benign and acceptable than what Emanuel did, one must also take into consideration their positions, their purposes, and their power when measuring ones response to what they did.
But see, many hyper partisan liberals want to bitch about things not being "black and white" when it suits them...but the moment it means they can bash Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh suddenly the world only has two shades for them.