Iowa Democrats Tweet Limbaugh's drug addiction in healthcare debate
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Monday March 9, 2009

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It appears the Democrats' plan to enshrine Rush Limbaugh as the true "de facto leader" of the GOP is having its very own trickle-down effect.

Legislation which would allow Iowa workers to choose their own doctors through the workers compensation program is meeting stiff resistance from state Republicans and business groups. The fear, they say, is that allowing a citizen to choose their doctor would encourage "doctor shopping."

Iowa House Democrats bit back with a single sentence and link, fired off from their Twitter page.

"Doctor shopping ... is this what ABI means?"

The tinyrul link points to a Palm Beach Post story about Republican pundit Rush Limbaugh's admitted addiction to OxyContin from 1998-2002. He professed to obtaining the drug, also commonly known as "hillbilly heroin," by "doctor shopping," or obtaining overlapping prescriptions from multiple practitioners.

"The ABI mentioned is the Association of Business and Industry, which has launched a series of radio ads in Iowa opposing the choice of doctor legislation," said the Iowa Independent.

The Iowa GOP Tweeted back, in a manner of speaking, paraphrasing Iowa Republican party chairman Matt Strawn, who alleged that allowing workers to choose their doctors will "devastate area's small businesses." The feed did not provide any links to supporting evidence.

"Currently, 35 states have some form of employee choice of doctor, including all of Iowa’s surrounding states except Missouri," the paper reported.

Limbaugh was facing a third degree felony for his doctor shopping, an offense punishable by up to five years in prison. He struck an agreement with the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, ultimately paying a $3,000 bond and agreeing to a common court diversion program. The charges were dropped after 18 months.

Following his repeated sentiment that he hopes President Obama "fails," Democrats have gleefully piled on, even launching a parody Web site that mocks top Republicans in government who've been embarrassed by and apologized to the pundit.

The wish for failure is "arguably treasonous," remarked Daily Show host Jon Stewart. "He's a fat, pill-popping idiot," exclaimed Rolling Stone's Matt Tiabbi during a recent appearance on MSNBC.

Shortly after the Iowa GOP's semi-response, state Democrats added another Tweet, insisting "Iowa GOP taking lead from Limbaugh." The link provided, however, went back to the Independent's story about the original slap at Limbaugh's addiction.

During the 2008 primaries, Iowa Republicans who describe themselves as "very conservative" largely ignored Limbaugh's tirades against former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, giving Huckabee a larger portion of their votes than any other candidate. The ballots led a writer for Accuracy in Media to question whether Republican talk radio is losing its influence.

In 2004, Limbaugh and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, sparred over the pundit's presence on taxpayer-funded armed forces radio, where he suggested political alternatives to the abrasive Republican should be made available. Limbaugh accused Sen. Harkin of trying to censor him, but the Democrat insisted he simply wanted to see differing opinions carried on the military's signal.

A recent poll found Limbaugh's favorability ratings are lower than those of former Preisdent George W. Bush.

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