ObamaCare, to put it simply, is a snake venom that nonetheless somewhat
succeeds in counteracting an even more pernicious malady. It's the
red-hot piece of metal that cauterizes a bleeding wound.
It was never, ever
intended to be anything more than that.
It is a position, often a lonely and adversarial one, that had been
consistently taken by yours truly in this very byline since the
mislabeled Affordable Care Act was first being debated by no less than
five Congressional committees starting in the spring of 2009. Yet,
conservatives and truly enlightened liberals such as me cannot and
should not succumb to the siren lure of schadenfreude in light of the
strangely delayed revelations regarding Jonathan Gruber.
Beginning in March of 2010, a week before Congress finally ratified the
ACA and put it on Mr. Obama's desk to sign into law, Gruber had openly,
brazenly and, seemingly without impunity until now, was crowing about
how "lack of transparency and the stupidity of the American voter,
whatever" was responsible for the bill's success. Yesterday brought a
fifth video (and, no doubt, counting) of a now-infamous testy and
condescending exchange between Gruber and a Vermont voter concerned
about the ACA's ramifications.
Predictably, wingnuts on
Twitchy, Hot Air, Breitbart and other right wing convection ovens have
been crowing about ObamaCare's inherent dishonesty, of which most us
were already aware. But now they have in Gruber their smoking gun. Five,
in fact. And among their talking points is how liberal elitists lied to
the American public about the health care bill. But liberals had
absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the bill's crafting, creation
ObamaCare was passed in first the House,
then the Senate then put on the president's desk to be signed into law
as with countless other bills. It was not put on a national referendum
and not one American voted for it. None of us little people had any say
as to what it would contain or not.
And now, "leaders" such as Nancy Pelosi are playing the predictably scummy, craven political game
of distancing herself from someone she'd quoted and mentioned countless
times five years ago who has now been exposed as the Most Hated Man in
America. Democrats are running from Gruber as if he has Ebola, Obama and
everyone associated with the bill who's still on the Hill are in full
spin mode and right wingers who were told to hate the ACA by the Koch
Brothers and Dick Armey's Freedomwerx now have their health care Willie
The Triple Whammy
They say celebrities die in threes and regarding the Affordable Care
Act, this is the third whammy that may have finally sunk ObamaCare.
First was the clusterfuck of a rollout. The government literally had
several years to set up a workable website with adequate server space.
State-run partners, through their own exchanges, had the same amount of
time. But ObamaCare's website immediately crashed like a soggy house of
cards because the Obama administration, hardly to the surprise of yours
truly, decided to outsource its set-up and implementation to a private
Secondly, there was Obama's palpable lie of, "If
you like your present health care plan, you can keep it," which proved
to be as honest and prescient as closing Guantanamo Bay.
Thirdly, there's Gruber's arrogant, condescending and, frankly, out of
touch comments about the American people and his pride in the lack of
transparency of the government that had paid him so handsomely to
mislead the American public
And while conservatives
jeered, liberals struggled to put on a happy face and bombed Twitter and
Facebook with memes about how Bush killed hundreds of thousands (a
place they seriously do not want to go) while Obama had a slow website.
Now it's almost entertaining watching these liberals who think that
everything Obama does is in some way miraculous on a Biblical level
struggling even more mightily to keep on their O faces after ample
evidence has been avalancheing down at warp speed 10 out of the past
that its architect called them "stupid."
It's impossible to
estimate the embarrassment this has visited on the Obama administration,
which paid this man over $400,000 to craft a bill that was mislabeled
as almost all about health care (hence the inevitably sarcastic name of
the bill). It ought to be embarrassing to the mainstream media
(especially ABC, which is still ignoring it) for letting these explosive
revelations languish for better than four and a half years. And it
should be embarrassing to any Democrat still in Congress who'd voted for
such a steaming pile of horse shit.
Most of all, it should be embarrassing to so-called liberals such as Esquire
Charles Pierce (who seemed to love it simply because it helped his
ailing wife) who thought the tepid reforms and it being just a giant
gateway to the free market was the greatest thing since Medicare (which
in 1965 LBJ signed into law without him or Congress having to mislead
the American public). In short, anyone who hated the bill or opposed it
with such virulence should be stripped of their voting rights and
undergo a mandatory psychological evaluation since it seems no one save
for Gruber, the President and several people on the five committees that
had refined and crafted it knew exactly what it was all about.
The Three Blind Chinese Men and the Republican Mascot
I'm sure we all know the story of the three blind Chinese men and the
elephant. One blind man felt the tail and thought it was a rope. Another
at the other end felt the trunk and thought it was a snake. The third
in the middle thought the stomach was a wall. The parable only shows
that, without the proper context, individual parties can be completely
wrong about what they think they perceive.
describes the second-hand experience of the American voter who had no
say in the bill's crafting and had foisted off on them like a pile of
flaming dog shit on Cabbage Night. It was a testament, albeit a sad one,
of the persistent cheerfulness and glass-half-full optimism of your
typical Obama voter.
But the fact remains that out of all the
bills signed into law by the nearly six year-old Obama administration.
the ACA is easily the most misunderstood one of all. And that's not
completely their fault. The administration's and Democratic Congress's
explanations of it were largely incoherent, almost as much as the
Teabaggers' screaming oppositions to it during Town Halls in the summer
of 2009. And Gruber did
, after all, lie to not just us but the
nonpartisan CBO over how the ACA should be packaged and sold (90% cost
control and 10% mandatory health care instead of the opposite). Yet it wasn't as if there was a complete media blackout of the bill's contents.
However, liberals chose to ignore the back room deal struck by Rahm
Immanuel (whose very name ought to be, if it already isn't, synonymous
with arrogant, Democratic elitism) and Big Pharma to cap drug
reimbursements at $80,000,000,000. La de la de dah, dig hole in sand,
insert head. Repeat as necessary.
Liberals also stuck their fingers in their ears when Max Baucus, then chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee, refused to hear testimony from universal single-payer
advocates and even made a joke about arrested protesters to Republican
Chuck Grassley about running out of cops. Liberals were also nonplussed that the ACA was never, ever
(despite Obama's immediately-broken campaign promises) to be anything
more or less than a gateway to the very same health insurance companies
that have been bilking the American taxpayer, and government, for
decades, turning our health care system into the rest of the world's
And Gruber's abominable and infuriating comments
about the "stupidity" of the American people that he nonetheless
willfully mislead and even lied to show just how much of an out-of-touch
elitist he truly is. His comments back on March 10, 2010, when the bill
was still being hashed out, that Americans care much more about health
care costs and far less about insuring the uninsured are so wrongheaded
and ignorant it's beyond laughter.
One Shade of Grayson
I guess he forgot all about Alan Grayson constantly hammering home the
fact on the floor of the House that 48,000,000 Americans were uninsured
and that 45,000 Americans die each year because of lack of health
coverage. I suppose Gruber also forgot about liberals (the real
screaming about universal single payer and not allowing red states to
opt out of Medicare expansion out of a misguided and futile attempt to
respect "states' rights" (a sop thrown to the GOP that got exactly two
Republican votes in the Senate and has not done a thing to keep Republicans from voting no less than 52 consecutive times to repeal ObamaCare).
Limousine liberals and the Obama administration (as I'd said here
several times) made the colossal mistake of investing so much political
capital on one piece of domestic legislation so early in its history.
With the Iraq War, Afghanistan, terrorism, Gitmo, immigration,
environmental issues, gay rights and too many others to name, the Obama
administration should've dispersed its political capital more evenly
instead of putting all its eggs in one basket.
liberals, happily following that disastrous meme, acted as if the
success of the rest of the Obama administration rested with ratification
of the ACA, a bloated and more unwieldy version of the equally
disastrous RomneyCare here in Massachusetts.
Liberals had it
only half right as were spittle-flecked teabaggers who didn't, couldn't
or wouldn't understand it any better than we: ObamaCare has undoubtedly
saved lives and over 10,000 fewer Americans are dying every year through
lack of coverage. It has driven down premiums, deductibles and co-pays
as well as abolishing the prejudice against those with preexisting conditions. And your child can remain on your health care plan until they're 26.
But it was, at best, a vastly flawed work in progress and in desperate
need of improvement. Liberals made the mistake of seeing it, hairy warts
and all, with the peculiar beer goggles with which lonely horny men see
the last barfly at last call. If it was to be so popular, then why
enforce "compliance" through two bylaws in the federal tax code?
Conservatives hoarsely screamed as they were told to that it was a
Commie takeover of 1/6 of our national economy while Sarah Palin
sneeringly claimed to see death panels from her house.
neither. It was a single, staggering step in the right direction, with
muddy bootprints. But with Gruber's astoundingly stupid confessions
these past four to five years, this may be the monkey wrench the
newly-empowered Republicans have been looking for to finally repeal the ACA and put us right back to the Dark Ages we were in prior to the bill's passage.
Liberals and conservatives ought to stop pointing the finger at each
other and at elitist assholes such as Gruber and Obama. We were all had.