Obama never heard of that Gruber guy
This is it, Obama dead-enders. This is the Big One. Your leader has demanded some humiliating loyalty tests from you in the past, but now he’s expressing nothing less than sneering contempt for your intelligence. He’s basically commanding you to ram a screwdriver through your temple and lobotomize yourself, because only when you need a bucket to catch your excess drool could you possibly swallow the spin he dished out on the Gruber Revelations in Australia on Sunday.
Politico reports on the President’s remarks – which, they don’t bother to inform you, came in response to a question from Ed Henry of Fox News, in case you’re momentarily tempted to think the rest of the media lowered its hard embargo of the Gruber story and dared to ask Obama a tough question:
President Barack Obama denied Sunday that his signature health care reform law was deceptively marketed, rejecting statements by a consultant on the plan who said aspects of Obamacare were designed to take advantage of the “stupidity” of voters.
“The fact that an adviser 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,” Obama declared at a press conference here, speaking for the first time about the comments by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber.
When the president was asked whether he had intentionally misled the public in order to get the law passed, he replied: “No. I did not.”
Obama said the notion that any provisions in the bill were hidden is absurd given the intensity of news coverage of the subject when the bill was being drafted and debated in Congress.
“I would just advise every press outlet here: Pull up every clip and every story. I think it’s fair to say there was not a provision in the health care law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent,” the president declared. “It was a tough debate.”
[See the update below for video and a note about the widespread softening of Obama’s actual quote] Politico is good enough to dispense with the most obvious deception in Obama’s remarks: “While Gruber was not a staffer, he was a paid consultant whose models were used to help assess the impact of various policy changes being considered as part of health care legislation. Official logs show he visited the White House about a dozen times between 2009 and this year.”
As a matter of fact, Gruber has raked in a cool $6 million from government contracts over the years, including the $400k he was paid to help Obama deceive the Congressional Budget Office, so if one is inclined to take Obama’s childish evasions seriously long enough to have a little fun at his expense, one could say it’s sadly plausible that he would completely forget about a man he showered so much of our money on. You might have noticed by now that Obama treats taxpayer billions like fistfuls of Monopoly money.
Gruber is fond of boasting about how he personally worked with Barack Obama on the technique they used to hoodwink those stupid American voters into giving up the tax exemption for health insurance:
The White House has sent out over seventy emails pushing Gruber’s work, cited him on its official website dozens of times – often portraying him as an independent authority and concealing the fact that he was a paid consultant – and admitted him as a visitor 19 times since 2009, during which he met with such luminaries as the White House budget director. In addition to the videos already exposed of congressional Democrat leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi praising Gruber for his invaluable contributions to ObamaCare, there’s now 2009 video of then-Senator John Kerry hailing Gruber as “our guide on a lot of this,” referring to the cost estimates of ObamaCare.
Obama’s silly “I just read about this in the news, and boy am I pissed” excuse – which he has trotted out in the early stages of every single scandal to rock his Administration – is even less convincing than usual with respect to Gruber. As I said, this is an obedience test, both for Obama’s dwindling band of hard-core supporters and his media allies. He’s looking you right in the eye and lying with such extravagance that you must sacrifice your own will and dignity in order to pretend you believe him. You’ve come this far with him; now it’s time to cross the mystical River Lethe, where memories are drowned, and accept his command to erase Jonathan Gruber from the history of ObamaCare.
It’s a tactic that has worked for Obama before, but there are plenty of reasons to think it won’t work this time, beginning with the sheer lunacy of the President dismissing Gruber as some guy who just happened to hang around the ObamaCare clubhouse while the cool kids were making all the big decisions, and the question of when the American people will grow annoyed with the most powerful man in the world for perpetually claiming complete ignorance of everything.
The growing unpopularity of ObamaCare is another factor. A new Gallup poll released on Monday found the health-care scheme hitting an all-time low approval rating. That survey couldn’t have reflected much of the Gruber fallout – Gallup credits the midterm elections as being a major factor, which would certainly be a sign of poor political health for the Affordable Care Act.
And then there’s the always tricky question of when Obama’s loyal media allies will grow tired of the abusive, domineering relationship they’re trapped in with President Boyfriend. Several news outlets have made absolute fools of themselves trying to embargo the Gruber story… only to be completely outmaneuvered by Fox News when Ed Henry threw that question at Obama, obliging the blackout networks to report on his response, and sheepishly explain to their viewers what the Fox News, conservative blog, and talk-radio audiences have been buzzing about for a week. If you rely on the broadcast networks for news, you are, quite simply, not as well-informed as those audiences, a lesson that certainly won’t be forgotten by the advertising departments of the outlets that “scooped” Big Media on a story it deliberately tried to avoid covering.
I have no doubt Obama retains an unhealthy number of followers who will shove that screwdriver into their brains and swear that today’s truth has completely erased yesterday’s truth. I suspect everyone else is tired of his antics, and of the health-care scheme he lied so copiously to foist upon us. None of that scheme’s remaining defenders can be cheered by the thought of Team Obama spending the next few weeks offering nit-picky arguments about the exact parameters of their relationship with Jonathan Gruber, a spectacle pretty much guaranteed to alienate everyone who isn’t willing to lobotomize themselves. It makes the President look small and infantile, at a time when he can hardly afford such perceptions to grow stronger with a public that dislikes him, and a Party that blames him for its recent election losses. My sense that the midterm elections were part of a serious long-term realignment of American politics grows stronger.
Update: Politico, and many other outlets, misquoted Obama slightly. I wonder if this was done deliberately, to soften the blow and make him look less foolish. Perhaps they’re all working from a printed transcript doctored by the White House, instead of the raw video.
A quick Web search suggests that about 75 percent of U.S. media use the same altered language, but what Obama actually said was, “The fact that some advisor who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with, in terms of the voters, is no reflection on the actual process that was run.” He used the extra-dismissive “some advisor,” to more strongly imply that Gruber is a nobody that he never heard of before, not “an advisor.”
Below is the actual video of Obama’s comments in Australia; as often when Obama is being exceptionally petulant or dishonest, the full effect is more easily captured by watching him speak, with all the “ums” and “ahs” included. The arrogant way Obama mounts his “ignorance defense” by claiming to be exceptionally well-briefed before he took the stage is amusing, too.
Hat tip to @SissyWillis on Twitter for catching the difference between Obama’s remarks and the altered language widely distributed in print!