( – promoted by Clark)

An editorial in Thursday’s Post-Dispatch states that:

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, yesterday spewed another of the Republicans’ anti-SCHIP talking points. He claimed that “little hidden gizmos” in the bill are “going to provide health care to the children of illegal immigrants.” In fact, the bill states that “Nothing in this act allows federal payments for individuals who are not legal residents.

If this  Dailykos diary is correct, we will be hearing a lot of similar efforts to smear the SCHIP legislation by dishonestly linking it to illegal immigration or presenting it as unnecessary (e.g., insuring those who already have insurance), issues that can be counted on to rally red-meat Republican indignation and undercut the importance of the legislation by presenting it as one more misguided, liberal effort to spend hard-working Joe Citizen’s tax money on the unworthy.

The strategy of knowingly using lies to discredit the legislation is presented in a comment made by another Missouri congressman, Sam Graves, as quoted in the diary above:

critics of the legislation can win the public debate if they say they favor “covering uninsured children without expanding government coverage to adults, illegal immigrants and those who already have insurance….”

The real problem with these talking points is not just that they are untrue, but that those who putting them about know that they are untrue and are willing to sacrifice truth to protect themselves politically. Given the number of people who still believe that Saddam had WMDs, we know that lies of this sort can take on a life of their own. 

I know that many readers of this blog are already organizing to pressure those who voted against SCHIP to change their votes, but we also need a wider and truly vociferous response to blatant smear tactics like these.  As long as we allow such tactics to be effective, Republicans will use them.  Write and phone the Missouri legislators who are resorting to this ugly, cynical strategy and let them know we are not fooled.  Write letters to the editor (and maybe thank the Post-Dispatch for calling Akin on his B.S) and talk to your friends.  Oh, and somebody maybe ask Akin what he means by “hidden gizmos.”