It’s ironic that conservatives are so outraged over MIT healthcare economist Jonathan Gruber’s comments about lack of transparency being necessary to pass Obamacare due to the stupidity of the American people. It’s conservatives who saw through bill architects’ obfuscation and contempt for voters’ intelligence, and liberal suckers who fell prey to their sweet nothings.
Consider Gruber’s history of “misspeaking”:
Recently the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of King v. Burwell to reconcile disparate lower court rulings regarding whether the federal government can create a health care exchange with tax credits for the 37 states that decided not to set up their own Obamacare exchanges.
Although the administration claims that the failure to specify the legitimacy of establishing a federal exchange is a typo, Philadelphia accountant and self-described “nobody” Rich Weinstein caught Gruber on tape arguing that this funding stipulation was necessary to get states to participate in Obamacare and set up their own exchanges.
Recently Weinstein unearthed video of Gruber admitting at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania, “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies… [I]f you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in… it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass.”
Gruber subsequently claimed that his remarks were an “off the cuff,” inaccurate, one-off expression of his sentiments.
Then Gruber was caught in a second video saying the exact same thing. Gruber again claimed that he misspoke off-the-cuff.
Then Gruber was caught in a third video saying the exact same thing. Once again, Gruber characterized his comments as a misstatement.
Then Gruber was caught in a fourth video saying the exact same thing. Gruber isn’t even bothering to defend himself anymore.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest disavowed Gruber’s comments, claiming that they don’t represent the views of the administration—though Obama once claimed he had “stolen ideas from [Gruber] liberally.” Obama paid Gruber $400,000 of taxpayers’ money for the privilege of incorporating those ideas into Obamacare.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went further, saying she didn’t know who Gruber was and that “he didn’t help write our bill.” Then video emerged of Pelosi citing Gruber by first and last name and institutional affiliation, and commenting on the pivotal role he had played in shaping the bill’s cost-cutting measures. Pelosi’s spokesman lamely responded, “She said she doesn’t ‘know who he is,’ not that she’s never heard of him.”
To paraphrase Pelosi, I guess we have to pass the law so we can find out who wrote it.
Meanwhile, visitor logs show that Gruber attended 19 meetings at the White House to discuss the bill.
As Slate’s John Dickerson points out, the left played up Gruber’s influence on Massachusetts’ health care bill before the 2012 presidential election, and argued that Gruber’s Obamacare ideas were identical to those that influenced Romneycare. If the left can use Gruber to bash Romney, then the right can certainly use him to indict Obama.
Even The New York Times called Gruber a liar for not disclosing his sole-source consulting gig with the Department of Health and Human Services before penning a pro-Obamacare column in their pages.
But what makes the controversy so upside-down is that conservatives saw through the administration’s lack of transparency and paternalistic attitude all along. Obama and Gruber’s constituents were the ones who were snookered.
Let’s see: Was that The Washington Times that was stupid enough to be taken in by Gruber’s lies about the amazing cost-cutting properties of Obamacare? Was it FOX News? Was it conservative radio? No, it was The New York Times, whose editors desperately wanted to believe Gruber’s reassuring lies.
Was it economist Thomas Sowell who blithely gushed over Gruber’s rosy projections? Was it George Will? Was it Charles Krauthammer? No, it was liberal columnist Ron Brownstein, who published a 2,600-word puff piece on Obamacare in The Atlantic, parroting Gruber’s claims without bothering to learn or report that Gruber had a paid contract with the administration.
Brownstein’s article was so influential that President Obama declared it “mandatory reading for all senior staff… [E]veryone involved in, or covering, the health care debate should see the piece.” Brownstein centered his piece around Gruber’s analysis, citing Gruber five times in the first three paragraphs. Yet we’re supposed to believe that Gruber had no influence on Obama’s healthcare bill.
The Democratic National Committee invoked Gruber’s name and contributions to Obamacare in 71 emails they sent subscribers. Liberal politicians who lauded Gruber included Obama, Pelosi, Harry Reid, and John Kerry. Yet we’re supposed to accept that no one in the party ever heard of Gruber or was influenced by his ideas.
Left-wing politicians and wonks uncritically cited Gruber’s work as evidence that Obamacare would insure 30 million more Americans, all while lowering costs, increasing choice, and failing to hire a single new doctor. How gullible can you get?
The people who should be most outraged over Gruber’s comments aren’t conservatives, who saw through the administration’s ruse from the start, or hardened liberals, who will spin Gruber’s comments and never admit their error. It’s independent and center-left Democrats who gave the administration the benefit of the doubt, because they thought their hearts were in the right places.
As conservatives have charged from the start, bill architects were always lying, and always believed that voters’ motivations were too venal and simplistic for them to be able to make wise decisions for themselves.
Obamacare authors’ failure to see how thoroughly America rejected their scam reveals how transparently stupid they are.
- Rattner: Gruber was ‘the man’ on Obamacare (politico.com)
- Jonathan Gruber, Obamacare architect, lies about healthcare exchanges and calls American voters ‘stupid’ (sott.net)
- It’s Time For Leftist Gruber Truthers To Give It A Rest (thefederalist.com)
- Former Obama WH Official: Jonathan Gruber Was ‘The Man’ Putting Obamacare Together (teaparty.org)
- Gruber, who? Gruber, the guru (powerlineblog.com)