We missed this in our coverage of Gruberama yesterday, but Washington Free Beacon clipped it for good reason. Howard Dean, the darling of Internet progressives, has never exactly been enamored of ObamaCare, but not for the same reasons that conservatives oppose it. Both Dean and conservatives agree on the arrogance and contempt of those who wrote the law, whom even Dean derides as “elitists”:
“The problem is not that he said it–the problem is that he thinks it,” Dean said. “The core problem under the damn law is it was put together by a bunch of elitists who don’t fundamentally understand the American people. That’s what the problem is.”
Is Dean just posing here as a populist? If so, he deserves an Oscar. Right before the clip rolls, as Mika Brzezinski finishes the set-up for the first (of three — so far) videos of Jonathan Gruber chortling over the “stupidity” of American voters, Dean issues an audible “Jesus!” into the microphone. Brzezinski offers a rather amusing, “I don’t think you’re supposed to say that” at the end of the clip, which is when Dean goes off on Gruber and ObamaCare.
As The Hill reports today, the series of Gruber videos talking about the rubes of America — let’s call them “Grubes” — has given Republicans a new opening for attacking ObamaCare, as well as the credibility of the White House:
Comments about voter stupidity made by an ally of the Obama administration are turning into conservatives’ newest weapon against the president’s healthcare law. …
The newly discovered remarks — revealed so far in three videos circulated by conservative media — add fuel to the GOP’s claim that Democrats were deliberately obscuring pieces of the law to assure its passage.
Add a wave of interest from Republican lawmakers and increasing scrutiny from the mainstream media, and you have the latest flashpoint in the abiding partisan war over ObamaCare, just ahead of the start of the law’s second enrollment period on Saturday. …
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a candidate for chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Wednesday that he supports a hearing, though his spokesman said no event had yet been scheduled.
“We may want to have hearings on this,” Jordan told The Washington Post. “We shouldn’t be surprised they were misleading us.”
Of course we knew that Democrats “were misleading us.” We spent almost a full year trying to tell everyone who would listen that Democrats and the White House were lying about the nature of the bill, the fiscal structure, the fake timeline created specifically to pervert CBO scoring, and so on. In sheer frustration, Rep. Joe Wilson even yelled out during Barack Obama’s speech to the joint session on ObamaCare, “You lie!” The bill is built on a foundation of lies, from its supposed deficit neutrality to “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
In part, that’s why the White House denial that came out last night was so amusing:
“Transparency is a key goal of the ACA: consumers now have more access to information about their health insurance than ever before,” White House spokesperson Jessica Santillo said in a statement to TPM. “The Affordable Care Act was publicly debated over the course of 14 months, with dozens of Congressional hearings, and countless town halls, speeches, and debates.
“The tax credits in the law that help millions of middle class Americans afford coverage were no secret, and in fact were central to the legislation,” she continued. “Not only do we disagree with those comments, they’re simply not true.”
Yeah … that’ll work. Gruber wasn’t claiming that the debate was held in an Altered States sensory-deprivation tank. He claimed that the open debate the White House cites was filled with deception on the part of Democrats to exploit the ignorance of the Grubes. The White House statement dodges that point, which suggests that they still think American voters are idiots who now can’t understand English, let alone economics.
This is all a piece of the same elitist impulses that created ObamaCare in the first place — contempt for other people combined with an unearned arrogance that is simply breathtaking in its conceit. As I write in today’s column for The Fiscal Times, this is a moment of revelation about the entire nanny-state movement:
The lies and deceptions speak to a deeper truth about the impulses behind nanny-state initiatives like Obamacare, and those suckered in by them. Gruber may sound especially arrogant and contemptuous of ordinary American voters, but initiatives like Obamacare are predicated on that kind of contempt. They presume that Americans can’t make their own decisions on whether comprehensive health insurance makes fiscal sense, or whether they take in too much salt and sugar in their diet, for that matter.
Nanny-state activists believe, like Gruber, that people are essentially too stupid to be left to their own devices, and that elites have to remove as many choices as they can from them – or at least as many as they can get away with taking. Gruber merely made that underlying assumption explicit, and repeatedly so. They want the government to either be the elite or to choose them – like Gruber himself was chosen in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, and then by Democrats in 2009 – to tell people what to do.
This is the antithesis of democracy and liberty. Free will and respect for individual choice undergirds the very fabric of representational government. If people can’t be trusted to choose whether and how to buy health insurance, or even their own food, then how can they possibly choose the government that would abrogate the power to dictate those choices to them?
Gruber just made it clear to American voters what his allies in Washington really think of them. They must be hoping that Americans are too stupid to understand it. Last week’s election results show that voters may be a lot smarter than Gruber or the rest of the elitists think.
In the end, though, the real Grubes were the Democrats who supported ObamaCare. Only a relative few were fooled by Gruber, Obama, and their ilk. They underestimated the American public, but probably not as much as they overestimated their own intellect and cleverness.