Isn't Jonathan Gruber worse than the Downing Street memo?
Gruber, who was paid half a million dollars to design Obamacare, is on tape bragging about how the Democrats relied on "the stupidity of the American voter" to pass that law. Which, ironically, was sort of a stupid thing to say on camera.
Gruber, who will hereafter be known as "the architect of Obamacare," said:
"If you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in—if you made it explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. ... Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass."
The Downing Street memo consisted of minutes from a July 2002 meeting of British labor, defense and intelligence officials during the run-up to the Iraq War, in which the MI6 head, Richard Dearlove, reportedly said that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
These notes from a British cabinet meeting were called the smoking gun of Bush's lying his way into war. The Downing Street memo was written about in dozens of New York Times articles—including six hysterical Frank Rich op-eds. It has been mentioned more than a hundred times in The Washington Post. It was covered on ABC's "Nightline," by George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week," on NBC's "Meet the Press"—even on the "Today" show. It was discussed nightly on MSNBC, where Keith Olbermann covered it like it was Kim Kardashian and he was the E! Network.
By contrast, this week, NBC's Chuck Todd dismissed the Gruber tapes as "a political story" and The New York Times said of Gruber: "In truth, his role was limited." (NYT, March 28, 2012: "Mr. Gruber helped the administration put together the basic principles of the proposal, (then) the White House lent him to Capitol Hill to help congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.")
But when the Downing Street memo came out, conservatives weren't allowed to say, Yeah, well, the British memo writer didn't have anything to do with the president's decision to go to war—even though that guy really didn't have anything to do with it.
Those weren't Tony Blair's notes. They were a secretary's interpretation of the MI6 chief's interpretation of the Bush administration's argument to the United Nations. It's like a movie review, written by someone who knew someone who had seen the movie.
The memo writer also wasn't being paid $400,000 by the Bush administration to make Iraq War policy. Jonathan Gruber was paid that much—plus another several million from the states—to design Obamacare.
You don't pay a half-million dollars to someone who is only peripherally involved in making policy. (Unless we're talking about Obama himself.)
There was no tape of Bush and Blair running around saying: Trust this guy—the memo writer is our guide! But that's what Obama, Nancy Pelosi, then-Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats said about Gruber.
Gruber had more than a dozen meetings at the White House during the drafting of Obamacare. The Downing Street memo writer had no meetings at the Bush White House. Even the guy he was quoting had only one.
The outrage over the Downing Street memo concerned the claim—in the memo writer's words—that the intelligence was being "fixed" around a policy. Although a number of commentators claimed that the British meaning of "fixed" is more like "arranged," let's assume "fixed" implies trickery.
It's still one word! Gruber has given six different speeches rambling at length about how Obamacare was intended to deceive "stupid" voters.
You can't say the Downing Street memo was a totally legitimate news story, but that the Gruber tapes are meaningless.
Ninety-nine percent of Americans were utterly unaffected by the invasion of Iraq—other than to be made safer, until Obama threw our victory away. Every American is affected by Obamacare.
The bald-faced lies told to pass Obamacare expose not only that law, but all Democratic economic claims. When Obama boasts that it will be a huge boon to the economy to give amnesty to millions of low-wage workers, who won't pay income taxes but will need a lot of government services, remember: They said the same thing about Obamacare.
Her most recent book is Never Trust a Liberal Over Three-Especially a Republican.