In a nice stroke of NBC corporate synergy, radical-left MSNBC host Rachel Maddow appeared Tuesday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and when the topic turned to Rush Limbaugh, Maddow insisted that it’s one thing for Rush to oppose Obama’s socialist agenda before it passes, but once it becomes law, he should salute and get behind it:
"It is one thing to say, ‘I hope that this guy's proposed policies don't pass. I hope those don't become the policies of our country.’ But once they become the policies of the country, and they are designed to save us from this economic collapse, you ought to hope they succeed, unless you are hoping for your country to suffer worse in an economic collapse. I mean, actually rooting for the failure of your own federal government is pretty creepy."
This was not Maddow's approach to the Iraq war. After discussing the Obama recovery plans and the ongoing outrage over Bernard Madoff, Leno turned to Limbaugh:
LENO: Okay. Now, Rush Limbaugh is in the news. This whole thing. And this, publicity, he's got to be loving this.
MADDOW: Oh, yeah.
LENO: Yeah, obviously. I'm watching him and Michael Steele. He says he wants Obama's policies to fail. Does this actually help Obama? Does it make -- does it turn moderates and people who are sort of on the fence?
MADDOW: Well, it's -- it's good news for people who want the Republican Party to fail at its efforts to get back into power. Because now with Rush Limbaugh saying that, every republican politician in the country, you can ask them, "Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh that you want the president to fail, or do you disagree?" Imagine being a Republican right now in that position. [Adopting silly voice] "No, I think Rush is wrong --"
LENO: To be fair, did Rush say he wants Obama to fail, or he doesn't believe in his policy? I mean, it is America, and do you have the right to say, "I don't like his policies, I want them to fail."
MADDOW: He has said that he wants the president to fail. That's the way he put it.
LENO: Okay, all right.
MADDOW: It is one thing to say, "I hope that this guy's proposed policies don't pass. I hope those don't become the policies of our country." But once they become the policies of the country, and they are designed to save us from this economic collapse --
MADDOW: You ought to hope they succeed, unless you are hoping for your country to suffer worse in an economic collapse. I mean, actually rooting for the failure of your own federal government is pretty creepy.
LENO: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Especially wearing the black shirt and the whole deal. It looks a little creepy. Have you ever met him?
MADDOW: No, no. I don't think he'd want to meet me. I don't know. No. I mean -- it's great publicity for him. Right now, the Republican Party doesn't have any recognizable leaders, and so they've turned to a radio talk show host. And as a person who comes from the radio talk show world, he's got to be psyched. If I were a Republican, I would not be psyched.
Never root for your government to fail? This is not the approach Maddow took to the Iraq war: that she opposed it, but it became government policy, so she rooted for it to succeed. Take Maddow on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on September 13, 2007. She expects Limbaugh to support Obama, but she wasn’t expected to root for President Bush:
There's almost nothing weirder than hearing George Bush, of all people, warn ominously about people who want to topple Iraq's government. It's like getting a lecture on the evils of prostitution from David Vitter. It was so, such a weird way to start the speech, and I think it was kind of a harbinger of a lot of weird assertions by him.
At the end of the Tonight show interview, as Leno discussed health care, he said a friend of his crashed his motorcycle and broke his arm and it cost $26,000. This inspired Maddow to denounce the American health care system as not just bad, but "stupid and embarrassing":
"It would be one thing if we spent this much money on health care and we all lived to be 300. That in America, yeah, sure, we spend a ridiculous amount of money on health care, but we are the healthiest, fittest longest living people in the world. But instead we're not. 15% of country doesn't have health insurance. We've got -- not great health outcomes. We -- you know, as a sedentary person, I don't want to say it, but we're not in the best shape, and so we pay a lot of money for something that's not very good. Which means it's not just a bad health care system, it's a a stupid and embarrassing health care system. And it ought to work better for what we're paying for it."