An important point has been buried in the avalanche of commentary about Jonathan Gruber’s indictment of the electorate as intellectually deficient. The “father of Obamacare,” as he was known in his salad days, inadvertently acquitted nearly half of us with his reference to “the stupidity of the American voter.” The professor’s condescending comments can only apply to those people who actually believed the empty promises our President made on behalf of his health care “reform” law. A large plurality of the voters always knew that Obama, his congressional accomplices, and creepy little hirelings like Jonathan Gruber were lying to us.
As for the voters who believed all the misrepresentations, they were more credulous than stupid. Though it was obvious to millions of us that the ironically named Affordable Care Act was never going to increase access to care while also improving quality and decreasing cost, Obama’s supporters thought he was a “post-partisan” politician who could be trusted. They failed to subject his implausible claims to serious scrutiny and therefore missed what was wrong with the rosy picture he was painting. It is these voters who should be most insulted by Gruber’s remarks. It is their naïveté that the President and his co-conspirators cynically exploited.
Inevitably, some of these voters have finally opened up their eyes, and they are not at all happy with what they see. Among them is Burke Beu, a lifelong Democrat who recently described his rude awakening in the Wall Street Journal: “I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, then lost my job in the Great Recession… I voted for President Obama again in 2012, then received a cancellation notice for my health insurance.” And he has not been taken in by White House propaganda concerning the source of his employment and insurance travails. He places the blame precisely where it belongs: “This was due to Obamacare, the so-called Affordable Care Act.”
Regarding Gruber, Beu reacts with understandable outrage: “Now we learn in videos that came to light this week that Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and a key architect of the Affordable Care Act, proudly relied on his perceived ‘stupidity of the American voter’ as the basis for designing ObamaCare.” And, the good professor’s opinion notwithstanding, Beu is intelligent enough to know that this snide comment is aimed at all of the voters: “Such comments, along with the program’s notoriously dysfunctional website and false assurances that people can keep their previous health plans, are insults to every citizen regardless of party.”
Stories like Beu’s have played out countless times across the country. This unquestionably played a role in the drubbing the Democrats just received and, in a sublime manifestation of poetic justice, it also caused the Gruber videos to surface. Most of the six now in circulation, including the original “stupid voters” clip, were found by investment advisor Rich Weinstein. Like Beu, Weinstein believed Obama’s “you can keep your insurance” lie. Thus, when his coverage was canceled and he was “forced to buy compliant insurance at double the price,” he “got pissed” and began the research that eventually uncovered the incriminating videos.
Now that their deceptions have cost them Congress, disillusioned their supporters, and sown the dragon’s teeth that produced a legion of damning videos, how has the Obama administration and its congressional partners decided to deal with the situation? By telling more lies, of course. Nancy Pelosi actually claimed that she had never heard of Dr. Gruber. This was… well… stupid. As Emily Zanotti pointed out in this space last week, “Pelosi herself dropped Gruber’s name in an interview about the ACA back in November of 2009.” Also, his name was apparently featured prominently in a Pelosi’s press release, which has now vanished from her website.
For its part, the White House is now denying that Gruber played a significant role in designing the health care law. In fact, on Sunday morning, the President himself reiterated this transparent lie as follows: “The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run.” The President evidently believes the reporters traveling with him are also stupid. And he may well be correct in their case. Not one of them asked how such an unimportant adviser got into the White House meeting during which the deceptive “Cadillac Tax” was concocted.
Nor did any of them ask Obama how such a bit player managed to get so heavily involved with his DOJ in the IRS subsidies case, King v. Burwell, that the Supreme Court has recently taken up. As Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute pointed out last month, “Gruber has been cited in every single previous government brief in King, and in the government’s major filings in Halbig.” Oddly enough, however, he is missing from any Obama administration filing made since his incriminating videos began appearing. Apparently, the government lawyers are under the impression that the Supremes are just as dull-witted as Gruber finds the voters.
There was never a chance that Obamacare would provide universal coverage, but it will take universal stupidity to save it. Conservatives who have always opposed it will have to be stupid enough to stop pushing for repeal, disillusioned progressives will have to be stupid enough to accept broken promises and exorbitant insurance premiums, and the Supreme Court will have to be stupid enough to rule that the meaning of PPACA has no connection with its text. Jonathan Gruber has finally done the nation a service. He has reminded us of the deceptions that got Obamacare passed and demonstrated how much its authors despise ordinary Americans.