By Boyce Watkins, PhD on Mar 23rd 2010 9:44AM
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh gave America reason for hope recently, when he made a public pledge to move to Costa Rica if health care reform were to pass through Congress. In a move that pleased many of those who would like for Limbaugh to return to the rock from which he came, Limbaugh promised that if Obamacare were implemented, he would make the big move to the country whose health care system he respects:”If this passes, and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented — I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.”
What’s most ironic about Limbaugh’s pledge is not just the fact that millions of Americans would love to see Limbaugh leave the country, but that Costa Rica has a far more socialized health care system than we have here in the United States. Not only does the country provide universal health care coverage for its citizens, but the country has a strong public option. The system also works quite well, as Costa Rica has a life expectancy second to only Canada in the Western Hemisphere. The country’s health program was rated “excellent” by a study in the American Journal of Public Health.
So, Limbaugh inadvertently did his liberal enemies a huge favor by drawing attention to the country whose socialist health care system he admires. Limbaugh, one of the right wing talking heads who constantly rants about Obama’s alleged socialist plot to take over the world, has (surprise) put his foot in his mouth.
Of course, once health care reform passed through the House of Representatives, Limbaugh started back pedaling. If it seems as though he’s being a hypocrite for running away from his previous pledge, the answer is “yes.” Limbaugh, the man who once argued that drug addicts should go to prison, is himself a recovering drug addict. But Limbaugh fully understands that he is a clown-like public figure only meant for entertainment. It is our fault for actually taking him seriously.
This incident also points out one other important truth about Limbaugh that the world has yet to fully realize: The man is not very smart. He is uneducated (well, he did get his high school diploma), and a terrible person to be in a position of influence within American politics. His public smack down of black Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele reiterates the fundamental disrespect that he has for black people as well. I jokingly refer to Limbaugh as part of my “Axis of Ignorance,” including himself, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. When these three men are off the air, that will be a huge step toward living in a truly post-racial America. Their very existence as prominent media figures is a manifestation of the fact that we’ve got a long way to go.