More On The Smoking Gun Jonathan Gruber Video

Yup, that’s the same video that led off the previous post. Be warned: I may write about this video until everyone here is sick of it, because I might keep writing about it until I see it on MSNBC , discussed on the Daily Kos and examined by Talking Points Memo. I try to keep emotionally detached from the issues I write about (though my favored style of expression may suggest otherwise), because emotion is not conducive to careful and dispassionate ethical analysis. This video, however, enrages me.

It enrages me because it betrays the thinking of an arrogant elite so certain that its wisdom regarding the best policies for the nation that it justifies abandoning the promise and the integrity of democracy as our nation’s Founders devised it. The need for a fully and fairly informed citizenry is at the core of Madison’s structure, and the root of many of our enumerated rights. This is why free speech is essential, and why an unfettered, uncensored press has been given unlimited license. If our elected leaders, however, decide that the proper and effective way to govern is to deceive the public, to hide the truth, to garner public support of measures that the public misunderstands by design, and to gain and retain power through fraud, artifice and lies, there is no democracy, no genuine republic. Such a  government reflects the cynical and anti-democratic values of Lenin, Mao, Hitler, and Big Brother. And like these dictators and liars real and metaphorical, Jon Gruber—and make no mistake: his words reflect exactly the culture of the those he worked with in the White House—sees nothing wrong with this. The ends justify the means, you see, and after all, they are better than us. We’re stupid. They need to deceive us for our own good.

It is fascinating to think that Mitt Romney lost a Presidential election in part because he was surreptitiously taped expressing the opinion that 47% of the public is so corrupted by government benefits and dependence on big government control over their lives that they would never oppose Democratic candidates. That may have been an expression of disrespect and a gross generalization (he was right), but it is infinitely less offensive than Gruber’s expressed belief—and Gruber, unlike Romney, said what he did knowing he was being recorded. He sees nothing wrong with lying to deceive the American people, and not only them, but the Congressional Budget Office and members of Congress! It was all justified, because they knew what was best, and an informed electorate, not being manipulated and lied to, would never support such a measure.

Got it.

So this is why climate change data is simplified and hyped by Al Gore and the Democratic Party’s environmental fascists.  This is why false or misleading statistics about gun deaths, the salary gap between men and women, and sexual assault continue to be used to support legislative proposals long after they have been decisively debunked. This is why the President refused to say what his executive action regarding immigration would be before the election, why Susan Rice lied about Benghazi on five network news shows, why Lois Lerner refused to testify about the IRS scandal, why the Justice Department won’t cooperate on Fast and Furious, and why President Obama and scores of surrogates, Senators and Representatives swore to us that if we liked our health care plans and doctors, we could keep them–period. They did all of this because , as Jon Gruber says, they know we are stupid, or at least enough of us to fall for their lies again and again, and then forgive them, forget, and swallow the next batch.

I have to know: if you are not enraged by this method of governing, why aren’t you? I am sending an invitation to the many progressive readers and commenters on Ethics Alarms, past and present, asking them to either condemn this governing philosophy, or explain why it is acceptable to them. Maybe I should term it a dare. My personal belief is—I know this is harsh—that anyone who remains a supporter, enabler and defender of the President and his party as it is currently led in the wake of Gruber’s revelation is either astoundingly naive, or lacks integrity, and should be heretofore regarded as an enemy of liberty, freedom, and the American system of self-governance.

Usually it takes an unusual trauma to make someone reverse ideological poles. David Horowitz was a liberal, until the Black Panthers killed his girlfriend. Ariana Huffington was a conservative, until her conservative husband betrayed her. Dennis Miller was a liberal, until his career faltered and he needed a new gimmick. If I were a dyed blue supporter of Barack Obama and his minions, and learned that this was how they really thought and operated, and if I were not stupid and not corrupt and had any integrity, I believe I would switch poles then and there. Of course, I have suspected this was the mind-set of at least a large percentage of those in the administration from the beginning…because I am not a progressive, and I am not stupid. All the signs were there, for those objective enough to see.

When I hear back from Ampersand, Ethics Bob, tgt, Patrice, Beth, Liberal Dan, Jan Chapman, Karla and others, if I do, what will they say?

Will they argue that..

  • …this was just Gruber talking, and he doesn’t speak for the Administration? That’s what Josh Earnest will say—bet on it. Anyone who believes that is as stupid as Gruber says they are.
  • …that every administration is like this? If every administration is like this, why is this the first time such a vivid admission of an anti-democratic approach to governing been verified? And so what? It’s still intolerable.
  • …that Gruber is right, and the ends justify the means? That is a decisive reason to keep such people out of power.
  • …other rationalizations justify the way the ACA was passed, such as #1-4; 6-8; 10, 11, 13, 14, 22, 25, 28, 29, 31-34, 38, 41, 42, 44 and 45. That’s twenty-four out of the forty-five unethical rationalizations on the Ethics Alarms list, all applicable here. Go crazy.

Or will they agree that this is unconscionable, and must be condemned, punished and stopped?

UPDATE: Here is Prof. Turley’s post on the video. He notes that the University of Pennsylvania, its original source, tried to take down the video once it began to cast a bad light on Gruber and the Administration. Nice. The progressive/liberal institutions protect each other, and even each other’s misconduct: it resembles a conspiracy. Turley is a supporter of the goals of the ACA, but writes, “While I have long supported national health care, I was critical of the sloppy drafting of the ACA, the federalism conflicts contained in the individual mandate provision, and the unsupportable claims made by the White House in selling the Act.”


124 thoughts on “More On The Smoking Gun Jonathan Gruber Video

  1. Why is this news? This is how the Democratic Party has operated for quite some time (at least since Clinton was President). If truth-in-advertising laws existed, the Democratic Party would have to change their name. They are the party of the liberal elite and they are elite not because of inherent merit or accomplishment, but because they are liberal. They are the supreme busybodies who want to tell everyone else what to do because THEY know best. The essence of the Democratic party beats in every homeowner’s association in America.

    • It’s not “News” necessarily, this isn’t a News publication though. It’s important to talk about issues like this, not to persuade the people you’re talking to, necessarily (although that is a bonus if you can pull it off), but your audience. Gruber just called Democratic voters stupid. Maybe they’ll be less sympathetic to him if they find out.

    • It’s difficult at times to keep in mind the fact that, generally-speaking, modern liberalism is a mental illness. In its most pernicious form, it’s a transference neurosis, wherein the individual suffering from it is looking towards Big Brother as a parental surrogate. Their handlers are either taking advantage of this easily-manipulated body of people for personal gain, or they’re the sort that thrives on the attention they get from appearing to care. I believe that very few are concerned about actually getting the results they claim to be seeking.

      • “Their handlers are either taking advantage of this easily-manipulated body of people for personal gain, or they’re the sort that thrives on the attention they get from appearing to care … very few are concerned about actually getting the results they claim to be seeking.”

        That’s it in a nutshell. Not the mental disease part, which I don’t really agree with, but the fact that the vast majority of liberals just want to be seen caring. Results are mostly irrelevant (unless they accrue power to the manipulators at the very top of the pyramid).

  2. “because I might keep writing about it until I see it on MSNBC , discussed on the Daily Kos and examined by Talking Points Memo. ” I hope you’ve got a minute or two

  3. “Or will they agree that this is unconscionable, and must be condemned, punished and stopped?”

    Of course it is unconscionable, should be condemned, and must be stopped. But it won’t, because all politicians engage in the same behavior. They apparently all get the same memo the first day on the job. Who exactly do you see leading this effort, especially since they all live in glass houses?

    The fact is, most Americans ARE stupid and uninformed — be they Libertarian, Democrat, or Republican. I have close friends who are high up in the Tea Party and we debated this very same practice a few months ago. They admitted to me that they deliberately dumb down as many of their policy arguments as possible because: (1) they have to, their electorate is too dumb; and (2) this particular strategy has proven to work time and time again. My position (silly me) was that it is a politician’s job to inform and educate regardless of party platform or allegiances owed.

    As I’ve said here numerous times, it’s this kind of shit which keeps good people from running for office or otherwise serving in agency positions. Why don’t you throw your hat in the ring and see how successful you’d be running as the “ethical” candidate who wants to inform his constituents? No one would care Jack and you wouldn’t get elected. Or, even if you managed to, you would soon realize that no one on the Hill would work with you because you didn’t play by the same dirty rules. So you would end up not being successful at your job and wouldn’t get reelected.


    • ‘ Who exactly do you see leading this effort, especially since they all live in glass houses?’

      Paul Ryan, review that 2012 debate performance.

    • I think you have a little bit of a sleight of hand there, Beth.
      Do you equate deliberate deception with “dumbing down”? I have no problem with a politician “dumbing down” a description of policy, as long as the dumbing down is essentially accurate. Certain things are complex and we elect people to get into the details of things that we either do not have the time or the mental acumen to digest. But, he is suggesting that we could not have gotten the law passed if people really understood it, so we had to make sure that they did not understand it.

      That seems to be different.


    • I don’t think that the average voter is dumb. Misinformed. Criminally misinformed sometimes, but not necessarily dumb. See…. This goes back to an earlier conversation we had where people who usually inhabit the left side of the political spectrum sees their views as so obvious, so pure, that they just don’t understand adverse reactions to them, so they see the dissent as stupidity. Obama needed to lie to his supporters to get his law passed. He couldn’t explain it. That’s his failure. And all these…. cronies propping him up… It’s just so… Mindboggling. Even now, you aren’t withholding your support from him, you just said the other guys does it too (#22). What will it take?

      It’s disheartening. I think that Obama could be caught on Camera raping a male Labrador Retriever, and the story would break that the dog was racist because it’s white.

      • I wasn’t discussing Obama, I was talking about Gruber and HIS conduct. And yes, I do think most voters are dumb, but that does not mean that I think all “smart” people should vote Democrat. You can be smart and vote Republican. I have voted Republican before and I am sure I will again.

        The fact that you would read my comment as such is further illustration to me why most people are incapable of complex thought and prefer to rely on knee-jerk conclusions or assumptions. Because that’s easier for their little gray cells. Anyone who is influenced by a bumper sticker slogan is dumb in my book.

        • You can’t deflect like that Beth. Gruber was Obama’s man to write the damn thing. His commentary no doubt reflects precisely the conversations and attitudes of the Party Boss…

        • No Beth, you weren’t talking about Gruber when you wrote “Of course it is unconscionable, should be condemned, and must be stopped. But it won’t, because all politicians engage in the same behavior.” Which is by the way classic rationalization #1 “everybody does it, with subtle undertones of 22 “comparative virtue”.

          Also, you have to realize, Obama owns this legislation. He went on talk shows and said he likes the name “Obamacare” He went out on his tours: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor…. period” when what he really meant was “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, comma, emoticon combining a mixture of condescension and scorn” (Thank you Jon Stewart). It’s dishonest to try to completely divorce the people designing the legislation from its salesman.

          • An example of a rationalization is: “It’s okay if the Democrats do it because the Republicans do it too.” I didn’t say that — I explained that both parties do it (and want to continue doing it) so, as such, they won’t point the finger at each other. Explaining a practice is not condoning it. I specifically condemned the practice.

            And I hated the ACA. See everything I ever wrote on the subject. If only I could reduce it to a bumper sticker, then I guess people would remember.

        • I also want to point out that “The fact that you would read my comment as such is further illustration to me why most people are incapable of complex thought and prefer to rely on knee-jerk conclusions or assumptions. Because that’s easier for their little gray cells.” is exactly what I was talking about when I said that certain people take disagreement as a lack of intelligence.

          I think that should be a rationalization “You aren’t smart enough to know why I’m right” or “Educate yourself on….” It’s a shitty dodge. It both demeans your opponent and props your argument up as intellectually unassailable.

            • I don’t think anything of the sort, but continue with your fantasy that all liberals think they know best. That is both convenient and incorrect.

              • The question is, do people like Jonathan Gruber, the leaders and appointees who hire them, and those who support said leaders and their methods think they know best?

                Isn’t the unavoidable answer “yes”?

                • Anyone who spearheads litigation thinks they know best when it comes to that legislation. Otherwise, that person should be fired.

                  But that doesn’t mean that the drafter can engage in deception.

                  • I think you’re being amazingly condescending towards Obama. You’re assuming that he went in the public spotlight, and didn’t lie to the nation…. Not on purpose, that he didn’t mean to deceive people, he didn’t know any better! It was all those mean drafters! I mean what? Are we supposed to READ these things before we pass them or something? Understand the text of them before going in front of millions of people and making promises? Pfft.

                    Either he was complicit, or so absolutely incompetent it boggles the mind. I bet on the first.

              • Not all, but a great many do. In fact, you can identify their party affiliation, even if they don’t, by the condescending and scornful way in which they do so. It’s endemic to your group.

      • “This goes back to an earlier conversation we had where people who usually inhabit the left side of the political spectrum sees their views as so obvious, so pure, that they just don’t understand adverse reactions to them, so they see the dissent as stupidity. ”

        Humble Talent, I have to agree with you here. I have had conversations with women on the political left who don’t get why conservative women are opposed to abortion, birth control (or, rather, birth control paid for by someone else), the ERA, etc since they “are voting against their own best interests”.

        I once postulated that, perhaps, conservative women disagree that those things are in their best interests.

        • Or, a third option, that some women recognize that something’s may be in their immediate and selfish interests, but are not right to support because those policies, in their efforts to advance some aspect of a woman’s life, comes at an unfair and unreasonable cost to other people’s interests or rights…

        • Abortion particularly, in my opinion. They see their assertion that the unborn as nothing more than an aggregate of cells as so plainly obvious that they remove it from the equation entirely, which is what allows them to characterize pro-life people as anti’choice religeous nuts who need to get with the times, rather than people who view the unborn as acual human, independent lives worthy, and most needy, of society’s protection

        • “I once postulated that, perhaps, conservative women disagree that those things are in their best interests.” Liberals wouldn’t be liberals if they didn’t know what was in everyone’s best interest.

      • Thirty years or so from now, when raping Laborador Retrievers is perfectly legal and acceptable, your last paragraph is going to look quaint and passe’, like Ward and June Cleaver sleeping in separate beds, or Al Jolson singing “Mammy”.

    • Here it comes. Liberal arrogance (they ARE all stupid), dominance over the masses (a politician’s job to educate) and the obligatory “the Right does it, too” excuse. I’d say it’s more a factor of the citizens being deliberately disinformed, rather than their being stupid. Certainly, honest activists will boil down the overall scenario to make it more easy for people who are not political animals 24/7 to grasp those essentials. Again, the difference lies with those who inform and those who dissemble. Only elitists regard their fellow citizens as inherently stupid and needing “enlightened” guidance from their betters.

      The Founders of this nation represented much of the “upper strata” of American society. Yet, they were not elitists, as they put together a republic that has at its basis an informed citizenry, not an ignorant “mass” of humanity. Only the Left habitually refers to people by this term. Just what do you put in your teacup that elevates you above the rest of us? Higher intelligence? In your dreams.

  4. So, Jack, now that you are sufficiently enraged, does this level of arrogant deception and the violation of the public trust somehow justify Joe Wilson’s indecorous declaration of the truth (“You Lie!”).
    Put another way: is one justfied in opposing arrogant deception with impolite honesty?

  5. I made some comments in the other thread but I have some to make here as well.

    First and foremost, while I am still “Liberal Dan” I switched my party affiliation from Democrat to “no party” here in Louisiana because the Louisiana Democratic Party endorsed unrepentant convicted felon Edwin Edwards for Congress.

    Now, I am unsure how much it can be said that Gruber was speaking for the Administration. He could have been. He might not have been. Sometimes in todays world people like to be controversial for the sake of being controversial, others like to stir up controversy for the same reason. So I am not certain what his intent was there or if he really believes he is speaking for the administration or not and if the administration would, in private, agree that he was speaking for them (as if he really was they wouldn’t admit it, no administration would)

    I did say in the other thread that other administrations do it as well. It is not a justification but not a truth. And I am sure I could go find many examples on google to verify that fact.

    Ends do not justify the means.

    There are a lot of examples of misleading going on when describing how the ACA was passed. The whole “dead of night” or “shoved down our throats” garbage is false as well. It is more misleading by the other party opposed to it WHO cannot argue against it on its own merits since they supported the damned thing in opposition to Hillarycare back in the 90s. I disagree that there was an actual lack of transparency in the passage of the law because it was online for 6 months and you could read it as it got amended. That people did not is not an excuse to say it was shoved down anyone’s throats or sneaked in in the dead of night. It is just more dishonest rhetoric from dishonest politicians)

    • Thanks, Dan.

      1. It was indeed rammed down the nation’s throats, passed without even an effort to amend and modify it to attract GOP support of any kind.
      2. Since the lie about being able to keep one’s plan was essential to its passage, you can’t possibly argue that it was passed with transparency.
      3. Arguing that a 3000 page, dense, gibberish and jargon filled document is really available for any to read is naive or disingenuous.
      4. The Democrats who voted for it didn’t read it, and it was their job.
      5. I counted 3 rationalizations, I might have missed one or two.

      • Thanks!

        #3, I was going to respond that at the length of the ACA text, one would have to read 10-15 pages PER DAY, 7 Days a week… sounds simple right? NERP! That’s 10-15 pagers per day of LEGALESE while being able to cross-reference previous pages already read and follow on pages not yet read to even try to make sense of it.

        • Which is why I support the world’s silliest but apparently needed Constitutional Amendment:

          All future legislation must fit on no more than 3 pages at 12 point font.

          Nah, I’ll be generous, since the Founding Law of our Nation fits on less than 10 pages at 12 point font, I’ll make that the limit for future Legislation.

            • You’re correct. Job-killing, bureaucracy-increasing, tax-raising, debt-exploding, problem-making, life-complicating, un-readable, enterprise-stifling, industry-commandeering, cost-increasing laws need to be longer.

              Good observation!

              Nope, if laws being written become grossly complex and tome-like, there’s a 99% chance they aren’t solving the problem, only band-aiding it or layering on a new set of problems.

            • As a citizen of this nation, I don’t want to have to devote 25% of my free time reviewing bills. I want to be able to quickly review them and decide if they are good or not. I also feel that if lawmakers were limited to just how complex these things get, I can begin to rely on them again to not write the BS that is the ACA and therefore no loger have to review every single potential law.

              That’d be transparent.

              • But this of the jobs man! Do you know how many accountants would lose their job if the 3000 page multi volume 6 point font tome that is Tax law was instead brought back to it’s original 14 pages? (Canadian numbers) Or lawyers! Job killer if I ever heard one.

          • I actually would agree with that Amendment. I would also add, “no pork allowed.”

            Regulations can handle anything that doesn’t fit within 12 or so pages.

        • Even then, impossible. My sister is a lawyer in the health care field who wrote some of what’s in the law. She says she couldn’t make sense of it, and that she ‘d be amazed if more than a handful of people read the whole mess, if any. Dan makes it sound like it’s like reading the newspaper.

      • 1) Obama ran for President in 2008 and part of his platform (a major part) was healthcare reform. When the GOP idea of compromise was “here pass this bill or we won’t do anything” and made it clear that they were not going to allow Obama to pass healthcare reform at all, why on earth would they bother getting GOP support. It is RIDICULOUS to suggest that the Democrats are not to blame for not seeking GOP support when the GOP said they were not going to help.

        2) We have been down this road before. The suggestion that Obama meant that in all circumstances you get to keep your plan is absurd. Obama gave a full speech to Congress that was televised and gave more than the 30 second sound blurb. That clearly showed that he was only talking about what the plan required you to do and not how other companies decided to react to the law. Anybody who thinks that a company choosing to drop coverage, not because they were required to by the law but because they wanted to do so for their bottom line, is an example of Obama lying…. is an actual idiot.

        3) I was able to go online, download the documents, and read them. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

        4) Ok, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t do so. Yes, each and every person voting for (or against) it should have read it. Are you critical of the GOP members who voted against it without reading it? Because I am critical of all people who discuss it in general, let alone vote on it, without reading it.

        5) What exactly did I rationalize?

        • 2) And you were wrong then also, just like now.

          3) What’s your job again?

          4) On the contrary, people can oppose the law on principle that it is too complex to be worthy of passing. No need to read it at all. At 2000-3000 pages, that trigger is readily pulled to decide that a bill is TOO complex. HONEST pro-government health solutions could have voted AGAINST it for that reason alone, even while being for a law in the spirit of what Obama propagandized.

        • What part of ” if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period” is ambiguous? Is there a direct quote recorded or printed somewhere that re-frames it in the context you’re suggesting? It’s one thing if a product advertisement makes a claim, then buries a disclaimer somewhere in the fine print, but when the President makes a statement like that, you should be able to take it at face value, I believe.

          • If you want to take words out of context then go right ahead. The OBVIOUS context that the right for some reason wants to ignore was that Obama was talking about what the ACA requires and not a statement on your keeping your plan in perpetuity.

            In order for you to believe that he actually meant you could always keep your plan, for whatever reason, you would have to believe that he meant that you could quit your job and keep the same insurance in perpetuity even if the insurance company went out of business. See how ridiculous that sounds? See how ridiculous it is to take the words out of context?

            Here is his speech to congress:

            Here are the words he stated in that speech. “Here are the details that every American needs to know about this plan. First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”

            Now, the short hand political sound byte for these sentences is “if you like your plan you can keep your plan” because the American people are lazy and start sleeping when they hear multiple lines such as this.

            So when individuals lose their coverage because their employer choose to drop coverage, it is not because Obama broke his promise. It is because that company made a decision that was not required of it by the law.

            I hope this satisfies your query about the actual context of the short hand quote of “keep your plan”.

            • This is an embarrassing argument, Dan. It is what I was afraid I would get, but it just makes you look silly, desperate, and sheep-like. The architect of the law says “we lied.” The President lied, it was exposed, and the liberal media tries for a while to call it a “mistaken promise” and other euphemisms. It was a statement of fact that was designed to mislead. Words have meanings. The “it was shorthand, repeated over and over again, using “period” to indicate no qualifications, from a President supposedly renowned for verbal expression” is just a dishonest/naive/desperate/funny excuse for the inexcusable. I couldn’t care less about a link to one speech in which the President said the opposite of the clear meaning of his mantra. Well, I care in the sense that this proves he was lying and knew he was lying. You are seriously arguing that since the President implied, once, that X was the case, he was justified in saying that the opposite of X was true, because it was “short-hand” for what his words could not possibly mean “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, PERIOD.” No way out, Dan, for Obama, or you.

            • As jack stated, obama was using clever semantics to mislead. If there was any doubt about that, this guy erased it in this video. Further, you are being hyperbolic when you talk about expecting to keep your plan as-is in perpetuity. The issue at hand is that the law is such a disaster, that it FORCED employers and to drop plans IMMEDIATELY.(sorry, I’m not screaming at you with the caps; my phone doesn’t have an italics button). Yes, you may make the argument that “forced” is strong language, but contrary to the belief of many liberals, the word is applicable and appropriate for any for-profit venture.

            • Many people who already had health insurance through their employers found themselves forced into losing their plans because of the requirements of the ACA. It happened to my family. The requirements of the ACA made it impossible for my wife’s employer to continue providing the same health plan. The new plan increased our premium cost by 60%, forcing us to drop it. The president lied, period. So did many senators, like the thankfully gone Kay Hagan.

              • Yes, thanks: this is even acknowledged by most of the Obamacare defenders, and was by design. I don’t know why Dan is being stubborn. He must not have received one of those “we are cancelling your plan because it does not comply with current law” letters. Someone send him a copy…

                • I won’t go into all of the gory details, but it certainly did my family no good. I recall spending about 2-1/2 hours in a cubicle with a “navigator”, mostly waiting patiently while he made at least 8 phone calls trying to iron out the particulars of our case, not counting the 3 hours in the waiting room. We were finally presented with our best option; a plan that increased our monthly premium by about $300, and a $12,000 deductible!! We had no choice but to drop me from my wife’s insurance (my income contribution is my navy retirement pension), leaving me entirely at the mercy of the VA. My wife had to accept a different plan offered by her employer. It is still costing her about$200 more in monthly premiums, and we still have a larger deductible than before. As far as copays, some are a bit less, and most are substantially more. Thank you Dear Leader. I’m sure the big payoff you promised is just around the corner.

        • 1. Such a major bill has to have bipartisan support. They all have before. If the GOP insisted on piecemeal measures, then compromises could have been worked out, with a competent President. That’s how the system is supposed to work. The Republicans wanted to fix the pre-existing conditions problem, for example. It is just inaccurate to say that there was an impass on health care reforms.

          2. Dan, you are just flat out wrong about the “plan pledge.” It was made over and over again, and by others, without any qualifiers, “Period”, in fact, precludes qualifiers. And your characterization is, I fear, a lie. The companies had to cancel plans—plans that Obama said they could keep— because the law made them Illegal. Surely you know that. Surely you know that arguing that when the law that would let you keep your plan included provisions that intentionally made it impossible for you to keep your plan,your explanation is just false.He also said you could keep your doctor. also false, and also as required by the law as written.

          3. Of course I’m not critical of the GOP for not reading it. If they knew it didn’t include provisions they wanted, if they believed it was too big by definition, if they object to that degree of nationalized health decisions, if they objected to the slimy, undemocratic, vote-bribing manner in which it was being passed they could justifiably vote against it without reading it. The fact that it was 3000 pages justified not reading it AND not voting for it. But to vote for it, yes, you must read it—and NONE OF THEM DID.

          4. Rationalizations? “We had no choice!” is on the list: that was your first argument. The Obama excuse is #3 “It worked out for the best” (though it didn’t) and #8, “The Trivial Trap.” Your last is a misapplication of #2 “They’re just as bad.” And the website dodge is #5, The Compliance Dodge.Posting a 3000 page bill isn’t transparency, and you know it.

          • “1. Such a major bill has to have bipartisan support.”

            Says who? The GOP decided to participate in a lack of obstruction unseen in any previous Congress. The GOP DID NOT WANT ANY BILL TO PASS THAT WAS NOT THEIRS. Any compromise bill would have meant giving Obama a political victory and they couldn’t have that. At all. They proved this repeatedly.

            Had the GOP shown any actual willingness to work together with the President who had been elected WITH A MANDATE to pass those items that he ran on (you know, since this nation gave him the Presidency with a Democratic house and Senate then I would join with you if it was clear that the Democratic party was the one who was not working with the other side to compromise. But clearly the GOP was unwilling to compromise and it is disingenuous to blame the Democrats for not trying to compromise with people who have already made it clear that they wont compromise.

            “The Republicans wanted to fix the pre-existing conditions problem, for example.”

            Did they? Proof?

            ” Dan, you are just flat out wrong about the “plan pledge.””

            See my link to youtube and the cited quote from that speech. I am right. Period.

            ” The companies had to cancel plans—plans that Obama said they could keep— because the law made them Illegal. Surely you know that. ”

            Plans could be grandfathered. I was in a grandfathered plan in my previous job. So you cannot tell me that the plans had to change because I was in a grandfathered plan.

            “He also said you could keep your doctor. also false, and also as required by the law as written.”

            Nothing in the law requires you to change doctors. To believe the words stated what you claim they mean you would have to believe that the ACA grants immortality and places doctors into servitude until all their patients die.

            “4. Rationalizations? “We had no choice!” is on the list: that was your first argument. ”

            Democrats could not compromise because the GOP would not compromise with them. Period. There was no opportunity to compromise. This is not rationalization. This is fact.

            I didn’t offer up “they are just as bad” as an excuse. In fact I said the exact opposite.

            • 1. Says anyone who knows anything about politics, political science, and how nations are run. You dispute the “rammed down our throat” characterization, but that is exactly what half the nation or more feels like unless both parties are involved. Competence leaders know this. Fair leaders insist on it. With Reid and Pelosi the Democrats had hyper-partisan autocrats who don’t care about comity and compromise, hence their legacy of creating a polarized and unworkable political culture. Obama doesn’t know what he was doing.

              2. Please. There was no mandate to pass the ACA. Obama was elected because he wasn’t Republican and wasn’t John McCain, and that’s as far as the “mandate goes.” The man promosed the skies and the moon, and it was obvious. He had a mandate to do a good job, like every President.

              3. You are just regurgitating talking points. Somehow these Republicans, unlike alll other minority parties, couldn’t be negotiated with. Obama admitted that he had spoken in person to Mitch McConnell exactly once since he was elected in 2008. That’s malpractice, and the results are what you see.

              4. Who DIDN’T want to get rid of the pre-existing conditions problem? What would be the reason? Even the far right talk show hosts agreed with that. And you didn’t have to pass a mega-bill to do it. It would have had near 100% approval.

              5. Your link is 100% irrelevant. A president says something intentionally misleading in multiple places in multiple venues over a two years span. The fact that once in once venue he may have phrased it correctly is at best encouraging confusion, but does not excuse the longer, wider, repeated deception. This is right up there with Hillary’s “You know what I mean” excuse for claiming businesses don’t create jobs, except that she was stating an opinion. Obama was telling people who believed them what was ion a huge bill they couldn’t read, examine or understand.

              6. Some plans were grandfathered in. Many more were eliminated because they didn’t include what the law said they had to include. I can’t believe you don’t know this. After the lie was exposed, Obama and others claimed that they had said that “you could keep it—period” unless it was “sub-standard” according to Jon Gruber and the “experts.” But that was never what the public was told.

              7. “Nothing in the law requires you to change doctors. To believe the words stated what you claim they mean you would have to believe that the ACA grants immortality and places doctors into servitude until all their patients die.” Honestly, sometimes you sound like a 7th grade debate club member, or Debbie Wasserman Schultz. People lost their doctors because the plans they had to choose from didn’t permit or wouldn’t pay for the doctors individuals have had for years. I have several friends in this position. Nobody was arguing that that the promise meant that Obama claimed that the Act would magically keep all doctors alive. Picking an absurd interpretation of an issue and arguing against that is a classic logical fallacy. The LAW made people change doctors. The Democrats claimed, falsely, that it would not do that. Nobody disputes this. The defenders of it argue that “it was all for the best,” but nobody disputes it who is being honest and serious. Except you, I guess.

              8. You always have a choice not to be unethical. Your version of that rationalization is doubly wrong, because the conditions you assert giving Democrats no choice didn’t exist, and nothing required them to pass an incompetent law by lying about what they were passing. And saying that the GOP’s conduct justified the unethical Democratic method of passing the law—for example, not sending the amended law back to conference, using quid pro quo grants to states to buy votes is #2, flat out.

            • Democrats, Obama in particular, haven’t actually demonstrated willingness to work with Republicans. Obama and his blind supporters like to claim otherwise, but the most he has done is accommodate a straw Republican, and a few concessions to conservative democrats.

          • Wait — you seriously didn’t write No. 3. Of course they had an obligation to read it! They had to dispute the statements being made by the Democrats about what would and would not happen under the legislation if passed. To the extent you think that wool was pulled over our eyes, then you have to place some blame on the Republicans because they let it happen.

            • Baloney. The bill was intentionally written to prevent reading and understanding. Nope: don’t vote for any bill like that, as a matter of principle and form. They are per se irresponsible. “I don’t want a giant health care bill written and steamrolled like this—I don’t need to read it” is perfectly responsible.

    • You talk about ‘the Administration’ as if it actually exists, like it has a mouth and can talk. It doesn’t, it’s the name we give for an organization made up of a group of people. Dr. Gruber views, by definition, were the views of the administration because he was the administration’s architect for the ACA. I

      ‘I am unsure how much it can be said that Gruber was speaking for the Administration.’, what a vapid phrase, no one ‘speaks for the administration’, but when people in the administration do speak, publicly and on the record, by definition that is what the administration thinks.

  6. I’m even more saddened by this than I am enraged. This is a canary in our coalmine, an accurate metric of how low we’ve sunk as a nation. So many good people have worked tirelessly, and sacrificed everything, to keep alive what our founders gave us, all apparently for naught. I’m terrified for my kids, because it seems that we are on a steep downward trajectory. How do such gleefully ignoble carrion like this man sleep at night?

  7. This may not be a great analogy but Gruber’s demeanor reminds me of the character’s demeanor played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Wag the Dog. At the end of the movie Hoffman’s character wanted credit for doing such a great job of deceiving the American public. Gruber comes off the same way. He seems very proud of what he has done and seems to want people to know the great lengths that smart people (himself) had to go to in order to get this bill passed. He seems to want credit for what he had done and also seems a bit manic or at least very excited to be talking about the deception. It makes me wonder if the “administration” is now arguing with each other and asking, “Who let Gruber out? Who was supposed to be watching Gruber? Gruber needs to be found and brought back to headquarters immediately!”

    I wonder if we will ever see Gruber again?

    • The summary of the monologue is this:

      If people knew what was in the laws we passed, the Republic would work, and the people wouldn’t be saddled with something they don’t want. But, we, the benevolent overlords who know what is best, want this law to pass, so we HAVE to lie. We HAVE TO! I don’t see how that’s a problem.

    • On the other side of the coin, cartoonist, progressive pundit, blog censor and former commenter here Barry Deutsch—who quit here in a huff following my objections to his taking a good faith comment of mine on HIS blog and striking it through because it was too harsh to his loyal cadre of leftist race-baiters who were then claiming that, against all fact and logic, the Zimmerman jury should have found George guilty of murder absent any evidence whatsoever that it wasn’t self defense—is still holding a grudge and couldn’t bring himself to send a gracious reply to my invitation to comment on this matter, and sent this

      “Unless you’re prepared to apologize on your blog for how you treated me, please don’t contact me again.
      And you do not have my permission to quote this email, or summarize it, on your blog.”

      Now, I would normally NEVER publish a private e-mail on Ethics Alarms without permission, unless it was from an ideologically rigid hypocrite who abused me on his blog, published a private e-mail in our earlier exchange on this blog without my permission, and who then has the utter cheek to presume to 1) impugn my integrity by suggesting that I would do likewise and 2) tell me what I can or can’t publish. So I am publishing it, in lieu of telling Barry to perform an anatomically impossible act, as he richly deserves for acting this way. Got that? I know what the ethical thing is, and I also protect my right to autonomy. Tell me to do without authority or justification what I already would do, and what I believe it should be assumed that I will do, and I won’t do it—just because you ordered me to.

      Barry is the kind of hopelessly addled Leftist who feels that one has to place trigger warnings before blog posts. He’s a smart guy—but then, so is Jonathan Gruber. Too bad. It’s a shame that they get this way.

      But don’t order me how to handle my own website.

      • What, precisely, does he feel you need to apologize for? He commented here as a COTD just last month, and I don’t recall any interaction since. Did something happen recently to change his mind, or is he just being bipolar? Any chance someone else intercepted his email?

        • No, that’s just Barry. I guess I caught him on a bad day. I treated him a lot better here than he treated me on his blog, on which political correctness reigns. He’s smart and well-read, and is a terrific researcher. He just is so infused with partisan Left cant that he is immune to persuasion. Nor was he ever kicked off EA—he gave a dramatic farewell after I called him on what I felt was under-handed conduct.

  8. I seem to remember this Gruber guy making stupid remarks before, so it is no surprise that he would say something like this. I’m trying to decide whether it’s more or less worse than Romney’s 47% remark, since surely he knew he was being recorded and Romney did not. I will not defend the remarks. Actually, the law is not that hard to understand for the average citizen and how it applies to them. I worked as a navigator to enroll people and they had very little trouble understanding what was going on. Insurance is complicated, but the law is not.

    I worked hard to get Obama elected, but I will think twice about working that hard again. He has done many things that I am proud of him for doing, but I am disappointed and appalled at others–although I’m sure the list is somewhat different from yours, Jack, as it includes his persecution of whistle blowers, his record deportations, his failure to live up to his pledge to help rid the world of nuclear weapons, the secrecy of his administration, his treatment of the press, the drone strikes, the assassination of US citizens without due process, and now being dragged back into a war in the Middle East. The sad thing is, if I had it to do over, I would vote for him again because of the Republican stance on women’s issues, the safety net, the environment and national security.

    Just to show you how beyond redemption I am, if I worked for anyone in the next election, it would probably be Bernie Sanders. You wouldn’t catch him pulling this crap. So bring on the ridicule.

    • Actually, the law is not that hard to understand for the average citizen and how it applies to them.

      I have zero confidence that the sensible, simple way the ACA is being interpreted by you and others bears any resemblance to the actual wording of the act.

      Just to show you how beyond redemption I am, if I worked for anyone in the next election, it would probably be Bernie Sanders.

      May his tribe increase. I like the cut of his jib too.

      • It’s not complicated? The Supreme Court Challenge is over two provisions that appear to contradict each other! Nobody could decide whether the individual mandate was a tax or a penalty! The law is incomprehensible! Is there ever such a thing as an uncomplicated 3000 page anything? Who are we trying to kid? Even those stupid voters understand THAT much.

          • My “not complicated” comment referred to the average customer’s experience in purchasing health care through the exchange, not to the intricacies of the law as written. It’s pretty easy to explain that you pay a monthly premium and receive help paying that premium based on your income. The complicated part is explaining co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles, which has nothing to do with the law but with insurance. The ACA did not invent these things. I’m sure the law as written is very complicated, but the individual’s interaction with it is not complicated at all. And more and more people are finding that out.

                • That will only mean that its getting LESS complicated. I tried in March, and gave up. It was virtually impossible. It was literally impossible in Maryland, and Oregon, to name two. I think “impossible” means “too complicated” in this context, no?

                  • I know many people who signed up on their own. Applying for insurance has always been a time-consuming and complicated process. I know, because our daughter had to buy individual insurance from the high risk pool for years. I am no longer a navigator, but I am going to try applying on Saturday to see how it goes and I will let you know. There is no obligation to buy just because you go through the process. I would suggest that anyone who finds the application overwhelming to go to the website and find a link that will find a navigator near you. They are really nice people who will help you through the process.

  9. “why is this the first time such a vivid admission of an anti-democratic approach to governing been verified?”

    Answer: information technology. Part 1: We are in an age of instant first-times and IT (so well named, isn’t it) is in overdrive, accellerator stuck to the floor, with no brakes, and a new driver every nanosecond. Someone wants to know something. Someone else wants to tell others whatever it is. The gadgets are available: to look and listen to everyone about everything, show and tell everyone else. Part 2: When there are enough mediums with enough outlets (i.e., channels on television; blogs on the internet) so that everyone can receive only the information they want — Et voila! You can stop asking this question, Jack.

    This particular one, anyway.

    • I can’t accept that. This has been out since 2013? Not that instant.

      We’ve had the technology and proliferation of the same since the mid 2000s, and enough since the late 1990s…so I don’t see that being the reason we’re only now recognizing something that is supposedly an endemic practice.

      No doubt there has been deceit time immemorial. But there is something uncharacteristically BIG about this one.

      • Turley, in the post linked in the UPDATE above, says that it is surprising that the mainstream media isn’t covering this story! Surprising!!! Has the professor really been paying so little attention the past, what, 25 years? More? The MSM won’t lift a finger to report facts that sully “the President’s signature achievement”….but liberal media bias is a conservative myth.

  10. I’m inclined to agree with Prof Turley, as you quote him above. I think part, maybe a major part, of the problems with the ACA, stemmed from the election of Scott Brown as the 41st Republican vote in the Senate. That meant to the House Dems that if they ever wanted a health care bill it had to be the Senate-passed bill. Any change, even a comma, would doom it to a Republican filibuster.

    Like Jan, I dislike a lot of things about the Obama Administration, although my list is different from hers. Like her I don’t regret voting for him over Romney.

    • Oh, I know that the reason the bill by-passed the system was that it wouldn’t be passed if they followed the system, just as they knew it would be passed if the public knew what they were in for. How is that better than what Gruber is admitting? How is that consistent with democracy, and respect for the public?

      And why would anyone, knowing this and the rest of what the last two years have uncovered, say they don’t regret voting for a corrupt, cynical, dishonest President? I don’t get it. It is the equivalent of “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts” crossed with “as long as it works, that’s all the matters.”

        • No, I don’t get it. I know Bob. I like Bob. I admire Bob. He’s a smart man. He teaches ethics. He often agrees with me. He comes from a military background. I know him to be a man of integrity and intelligence, so no, I really don’t get it.

          • Sorry,Jack, I apparently didn’t go back far enough to realize you were speaking of a certain man, and a friend. If memory serves me (I’m just replyinv via email on my phone; my computer’s broke), we’re discussing blind allegiance to Obama, even in the face of overwhelming and indisputable evidence of his gross incompetence, and what appears to be a derisive and condescending attitude towards both our system of governance, and even the need to maintain the appearance of personal and institutional integrity. There is undeniably a pathology at work, one very reminiscent of the ones played out time and time again that started out with eloquent and charismatic speakers, and invariably led to things like huge crematoriums, gas chambers, mass graves, and hundreds of neatly stacked skulls. No, this isn’t another Obama/Hitler comparison, but one of the ways I answer people who think these things could never happen here; usually the same people who think more gun control is reasonable if it could save just one child, that spying on the press or using the IRS to harass and intimidate a political group is ok, that being concerned about what appears to possibly be a rapidly emerging police state is paranoia, and our intelligence apparatus being turned more and more inward just makes us safer, especially if we’ve got nothing to hide. It’s not the Obamas of the world that worry me, or even some of the things I named above; It’s the staggering number of people who refuse to see them for what they are.

        • They followed a procedure never before used for this kind of bill, and did so specifically to avoid debate and transparency. Saying they followed the system is technically true but misleading. And the results, like the current Halbig mess, are why this isn’t the usual system. Mistakes and bad laws result.

          An untrustworthy administration and leaders is, by definition, per se worse that a hypothetical administration that hasn’t proved itself untrustworthy. Only with that calculus will cheating, lying and anti-democratic tactics be discouraged. The devil you know is NOT worse than the devil you don’t, because with the one you don’t, there is still a chance that it isn’t really a devil.

  11. Can someoe please help this techno-tard? I would love to be able to read all comments. Unfo e tunately, most of them end up being a string of single, vertically-oriented letters that are nearlly impossible to read. I am using an Android phone, by the way.

    • Happens to me too on occasion. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click the link that says “desktop view”. Occasionally your smart phone thinks it knows what’s best for you and changes its whole method of operation.

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