We’ve now all heard and seen the string of videotapes starring MIT economist Jonathan Gruber where he smugly describes how the Obama administration tricked the American people into accepting the Affordable Care Act because they counted on the “fact” that American voters are essentially a bunch of morons.
Face it. All elitists believe that everyone else in the world is sadly too stupid to know what’s best for them and that it’s thus their lot in life to at least try helping these poor lost souls. Perhaps it’s some deep seeded resentment over all the wedgies they suffered in middle school, where being academically smart was a social faux pas, but whatever leads to this arrogant attitude is clearly there. We, the people, are never going to convince these individuals that we’re actually intelligent and can think and make decisions for ourselves when given all the facts.
Probably the biggest thing that strikes me about this public relations problem for the White House and Democrat leaders in Congress is that by trying to tap down the story, they are only further proving that deep down they really believe Americans are stupid despite their comments to the contrary.
For starters—they obviously don’t know that we all know how to use Google.
It’s kind of ironic that they aren’t aware of this given that they genuinely consider themselves the masters of public manipulation via the internet, but clearly they’re clueless.
For instance, when the Gruber tapes initially surfaced, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the microphone and said of Gruber, “I don’t know who he is. He didn’t help write our bill.”
This probably came as a surprise (or quite an insult) to Gruber because as the ACA was being passed through Congress, Pelosi encouraged the media and the public to look to Gruber’s work to explain the bill.
There are a few ways to look at Pelosi’s recent statement. For example, we could be generous and surmise that perhaps her memory just isn’t what it used to be, and that she really can’t remember much past her latest Botox injection. Doubtful she would like that take on this matter, however, since she just threw a major public fit when a member of the media suggested that she might be getting a little old for her job.
So what are we left with? Unfortunately for Pelosi about the only thing one can imagine is that she didn’t think clueless Americans (or lazy . . . take your pick) would actually Google the search terms “Pelosi” and “Gruber” and see if anything came up. In other words, by trying to get away from Gruber’s comments that Americans are stupid she essentially behaved as if we’re all . . . well . . . stupid.
President Obama is faring no better in this regard. When first asked about this situation on his trip abroad he said, “The fact that an advisor who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run.”
In subsequent interviews, Obama suggests that Gruber was a minor player in the development of the ACA. That’s interesting because records show he was paid a $400,000 consulting fee and appeared at nineteen White House meetings during the process. Later, on the strength of his “expertise,” states and entities paid him millions of dollars more.
Let’s just say if you can get paid that much money and hang at the White House for pretty much doing nothing, sign me up for that job! In fact, if it is indeed true that Gruber’s paycheck at taxpayer’s expense was so high for so little work then as citizens we should be outraged that government officials think we’re so stupid that they can freely waste taxpayer’s money like that without electoral consequences.
The facts, however, tell a different story. Gruber was indeed very involved in crafting the ACA.
Also, Obama’s clear admiration for Gruber’s expertise is well documented. Videotapes are now surfacing where Obama praises Gruber’s intellect. In fact, in one tape made while Obama was a U.S. Senator, he notes that Gruber is one of several academics and policy analysts who he personally has “stolen ideas from liberally.”
It’s been quite interesting watching these people deny that Americans are stupid while acting like they are. Unfortunately, they are doomed to failure in this effort by two inconvenient truths (to borrow from Al Gore). First, as a public figure know that almost anything you say in public (particularly in a speech) is being recorded for posterity and loaded on the internet. More importantly, however, is the fact that it’s pretty common knowledge these days that even most six-year-old Americans know how to use Google.
So while they may choose to curse Thomas Alva Edison for inventing the motion picture camera and Al Gore (ahem) for inventing the internet, at the end of the day they only have themselves to blame for perpetuating this mess.