The PJ Tatler

Republicans Not Unscathed by Gruber Story

The past few days have been replete with coverage across conservative media of provocative comments offered by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. On several occasions, Gruber was recorded speaking to friendly audiences as he confessed intentionally deceiving the public regarding the details of Obamacare. A sampling:

If you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in – you made it explicit, that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get money, it never would have passed.

Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically – you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever – but basically, that was really really critical to getting the thing to pass.

The American voter is too stupid to understand the difference.

It’s a very clever exploitation of the lack of understanding of the American voter.

Ostensibly, the exposure of Gruber’s comments stands as a big win for Republicans, although poorly timed just after the mid-term elections. However, an inconvenient truth which seems to have gone largely unnoticed is that Jonathan Gruber had his fingerprints all over another deceptively crafted socialist health care program – Romneycare. Conservative News and Views expounds:

[Fox News] also aired a clip from a nearly hour-long speech Gruber gave on 18 January 2012 to a conference at Noblis, a “think tank” at Falls Church, Virginia. (The name might derive from the French expression, Noblesse oblige.) There Gruber described the Massachusetts health-care plan, or “Romneycare.” He and others founded this plan on “a three-legged stool”:

  • Forbidding insurers to “discriminate” against those with pre-existing illness,
  • A minimum-coverage mandate for individuals, and
  • Subsidies so those same people could afford to obey that mandate.

He said the Massachusetts plan worked well, and he always planned to have it work for the federal government.Then he made one salient admission:

The dirty secret is, the feds paid for our program.

Specifically, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) arranged 400 million dollars in annual grants to Massachusetts to fund this plan. And again, Mitt Romney knew this.

Indeed, not only did the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2012 endorse and sign into law a Gruber-approved policy as deceptively crafted as Obamacare, but many Republicans holding office today confess to supporting many aspects of Obamacare which they would preserve in a “repeal.” Mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions, coverage mandates, anything politically popular, many Republicans would keep.

Here’s the real lesson from the Gruber story which needs to worm its way past “the stupidity of the American voter,” as articulated by Wrong About Everything podcast co-host and progressive operative Javier Morillo-Alicea:

No one talks frankly about legislation, period. We can sit here and act all high and mighty… What [Gruber] was saying  is the kind of thing that happens in the halls of legislatures, state and federal, all the time – figuring out how [to] make [bills] palatable… that’s just part of negotiations. He just got caught talking about the sausage-making.

In other words, the Republican reaction to the Gruber story is a bit like Captain Louis Renault declaring in Casablanca, “I’m shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on in here.” The fact is, the deceptive tactics which Gruber shamelessly reveals prove non-partisan and properly ought to be attributed to the bulk of the political class, not just Obama and the Democrats.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here.)