Last Friday afternoon, Rush Limbaugh slammed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for choosing not to lie about undocumented immigrants receiving health care reform benefits. While many Republicans have used Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) outburst as an opportunity to “drum up a false debate,” McCain resisted his party’s fear mongering instincts when Today Show host Matt Lauer asked him if the reforms that President Obama is proposing will cover undocumented immigrants:
MCCAIN: They do not. Everything that I’ve seen they do not, and it changes the number of uninsured in America down to about 30 million instead of the 47 or so that they talked about before. They do not as far as I can see, nor should they.
Limbaugh decided that McCain’s tepid truth-telling was completely out of line and vehemently attacked him on his show:
LIMBAUGH: McCain said that Obama wasn’t lying? This was on the Today Show today? And they asked McCain if he thought Obama was lying?…That’s why McCain lost. Really no surprise there….You know, he’s just a useful idiot. They bring him in to do exactly what he did, and that has undercut everything that the Republican opponents, conservative opponents of Obama and health care are saying. He just falls right in line with it. But this is why Senator McCain lost.
Limbaugh should rest assured that most Republicans are still lying about Obama lying and even some Democrats have acceded to the GOP’s false claims. McCain might not be concerned about undocumented immigrants receiving free health care, but it’s unlikely that he’ll speak up against the flawed and costly citizenship verification requirements that Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Max Baucus (D-MT) are suddenly willing to adopt. Even the White House has come out saying that they’d work with Congress to make sure verification requirements are adopted and additionally indicated that undocumented immigrants should be barred from purchasing private insurance at full cost on the proposed public exchange — glazing over the fact that the private insurance market will likely shrink if health care reform passes as is. After all, it’s not like McCain dared to point out that making it more difficult for undocumented immigrants who can even afford insurance from buying it and denying coverage to those who can’t might actually be a bad idea.
Limbaugh also accused McCain of “throw[ing] Sarah Palin under the bus” when he confirmed that the President’s plan doesn’t explicitly create “death panels.”