Had a conservative suggested this, liberals would denounce it as ironclad evidence of racism. When it emanates instead from CBS News, the problem being cited has gotten too big to ignore.
Longtime CBS reporter and anchor Bob Schieffer has become the latest high-profile media figure to denounce top Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber's candid insights into Obamacare sausage-making. While hosting "Face the Nation" this morning, Schieffer said he was "dumbstruck" by Gruber's remarks about "lack of transparency" and the "stupidity of the American voter" as key elements in setting up the ongoing train wreck officially known as the Affordable Care Act --
SCHIEFFER: I was dumbstruck when I heard the comments that are surfacing from an economist named Jonathan Gruber, who was paid $400,000 to help shape the president's health care plan. First, he allowed as how the plan passed only because of a lack of transparency and, this is a direct quote, "the stupidity of the American people." (More accurately, "lack of transparency is a huge political advantage" is also a direct quote from Gruber).
Then Friday our Nancy Cordes found a couple of other things he said (only after they were "found" first by conservative media outlets, starting with NewsBusters, the first major site to report on Gruber's appalling comments) going back to 2011 --
GRUBER: ... first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people and we all know it's really a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.
SCHIEFFER: And there was this about Massachusetts' health care plan --
GRUBER: The dirty secret in Massachusetts is the feds pay for our bill, OK ... Ted Kennedy and smart people in Massachusetts (like me, seeing how Gruber was also instrumental in creating the 2006 Bay State health law -- "Romneycare" -- that became the template for Obamacare) had basically figured out a way to sort of rip off the feds for about $400 million a year. (aka, ripping off taxpayers).
SCHIEFFER: I'll be honest -- while I favor health insurance (a show of hands for all those opposed to health insurance, and auto insurance, and homeowners' ...?) I am not wild about the new plan and how it became law either. (Welcome to the club, Bob, mere half-decade late). But here is my question for Mr. Gruber -- if all this was as bad as you say, why did you take the money you earned as an adviser? Nor is it too late to give it back. What we have here is another example of the sorry state of American politics where people take money for things in which they don't believe and whether it's good for the American people is not even a question. As for the president, he may want to consider that old politician's prayer -- Lord, I can take care of my enemies, just protect me from my friends.
The likelihood of Gruber returning his share of the loot for the Obamacare con? Too small to measure. Why would he? Gruber was instrumental in getting this monstrosity enacted into law. Return money for a job well done? Yeah, right. His only fault, at least to liberals, is in the man's apparently manic, post-legislative compulsion to spill all about "dirty secrets."
Nonetheless, conservatives should be grateful that Gruber has confirmed what we've known for years. As National Review's Rich Lowry wrote in a post titled "Thank you, Jonathan Gruber" --
His impolitic remarks now have some Obamacare supporters suggesting that Gruber -- one of the most influential health-care wonks in the country, who was instrumental to crafting the Massachusetts precursor to Obamacare and then Obamacare itself -- is just some random, poorly-spoken guy.
This denies Gruber his due. He has done us all a favor by affording us an unvarnished look into the progressive mind, which values complexity over simplicity, favors indirect taxes and impositions on the American public so their costs can be hidden, and has a dim view of the average American.
Complexity is a staple of liberal policymaking. It is a product of its scale and reach, but also of its imperative to hide the ball. Taxing and spending and redistributive schemes tend to be unpopular, so clever ways have to be found to deny that they are happening. This is what Gruber was getting at.
Liberals like Pelosi are strenuously distancing themselves from the loose cannon they once touted as the smartest guy in the room. But the more we hear from Gruber (the hits keep coming!), the more obvious it becomes that he's not peripheral, he's an exemplar.