Marketing is a huge part of politics, and Jonathan Gruber has helped a great deal (inadvertently, of course) to sell the case against Obamacare. Dylan Scott of Talking Points Memo claimed in a Monday post that the leaked videos of the MIT professor’s comments on the Affordable Care Act have enabled conservative media (including NewsBusters) to package Grubergate as “another brand-name controversy like Benghazi and the IRS.”
And, Scott noted, plenty of righties are buying. He remarked that when Gruber came off in the videos as “haughty” and “condescending,” it caused “apoplexy among conservatives” and served to reinforce “everything that the right already believes about President Barack Obama.”
From Scott’s post, headlined “How Right-Wing Media Finally Benghazified O-Care With 'Gruber-Gate'” (emphasis added):
Haughty. Condescending. Pernicious.
Everything that the right already believes about President Barack Obama, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber embodied in his recently revealed comments on the "stupidity of the American voter" and the "lack of transparency" in the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Now he'll be back center-stage on Tuesday to testify at the House Oversight Committee, expected to face a classic Hill grilling.
Gruber-mania has gripped the conservative mediasphere in a way that few stories have, becoming another brand-name controversy like Benghazi and the IRS. An academic who had been little known outside of Washington or Boston has been mentioned nearly 2,800 times in English-language news since news of the most recent video broke last month. Prior to that, across a career that spanned decades and after playing an important role in Massachusetts and national health care reform, he'd been named less than 1,000 times...
The larger meaning was baked into Gruber-gate -- there is a hashtag and Gruber can now be used as a verb -- almost immediately...
The apoplexy among conservatives can be difficult to measure, but PolitiFact took a stab at it about a week after the story broke. Gruber had been mentioned 779 times on Fox News after the "stupidity of the American voter" video leaked, versus 79 mentions on MSNBC and 27 mentions [on CNN]…
Every other story could invoke Gruber, too. Obama's pledged executive action on immigration? Newsbusters was on it:
And Jonathan Gruber, who confesses that the Obama administration deliberately sold its program by lying about it, has now been tied to supplying data on health care for…illegal immigrants…
“Were they 'Gruber-ing,' thinking Americans were dumb enough to believe anything?" Fox News host Greg Gutfield [sic] asked rhetorically last month after the House Intelligence Committee found no wrongdoing by the administration. "Or did they truly believe Islamists weren't at fault and that a video was to blame? If so, to blame physical evil on words or art scares me.”
The implications could not be grander, as the National Review's Jonah Goldberg explained in -- where else? -- a Fox News appearance.
"In a lot of ways, this spectacle represents not just everything’s that’s wrong with the Obama administration," he said. "It’s everything wrong with liberalism and a lot that’s wrong with America itself."