Soon after President Obama was elected to a second term in office in 2012, I wrote a column for this website entitled, “How Can Obama Respect an Electorate That Would Re-Elect Him?” The piece presented the argument that the majority of the country, at the time, chose not to factor the president’s job performance (during his first term in office) into their decision to support him a second time. My contention was that Barack Obama won because, after four years, voters still liked the idea of him as our president. The reality of President Obama? Well, it just wasn’t much of a consideration.
As far as most of the electorate was concerned, the poor state of the country was totally unrelated to the policies and decisions being made by the man sitting in the Oval Office. To those voters, all of the hardships the nation was going through were the product of some curious, faceless anomaly that would eventually pass. In that regard, their support for President Obama was, for all intents and purposes, unconditional.
In the column, I asked the question of how Obama could possibly respect those types of people. I wondered how he could possibly bring himself to look out for the best interests of individuals who absolutely refused to hold him accountable for his actions. Now, six years into the Obama presidency, it’s become increasingly clear with each passing day that such respect just doesn’t exist, and never has.
The most glaring proof comes in the form of Obamacare. Against the wishes of most Americans, the Affordable Care Act was passed through congress, along partisan lines, using every dirty, legislative trick in the book. It was marketed to the American public using a barrage of often repeated lies, before more lies were later told, claiming that the original lies were never spoken in the first place.
And now, to add insult to injury, a video was released just this week showing one of Obamacare’s architects, Jonathan Gruber, declaring that the Affordable Care Act was passed due to the “stupidity of the American voter.”
Gruber admitted during a panel discussion last year, at the Annual Health Economists’ Conference, that the ACA was purposely written in a “tortured way” to make sure the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the bill’s mandate as a tax. As you’ll recall, the administration repeatedly claimed that the bill was not a tax while selling it to the public, before later arguing that it was indeed a tax to the Supreme Court, so it would be deemed constitutional.
“If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies,” said Gruber to the panel’s audience. “OK, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money — it would not have passed.”
He went on to say, “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 for the thing to pass. … Look, I wish … we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
In other words, if the administration had been honest about what was in the Affordable Care Act, even more Americans would have been against it, and the increased pressure on elected representatives would have prevented it from ever being passed. But since Americans are easily duped, the administration went ahead and blatantly lied about it to get it passed.
Of course, Gruber didn’t reveal anything that hasn’t already been reported by now. We’ve learned that the falsehoods surrounding the ACA weren’t the result of gross incompetence or innocent misunderstandings. The administration knew exactly what it was doing. They lied – plain and simple. All Gruber did was shelve the insulting spin that has been used by politicians like President Obama, and finally come clean. He admitted, in no uncertain terms, that the pushers of Obamacare had such little regard for the American public that they circumvented them to pursue their agenda.
Perhaps this is now a moot point, with the country finally making their discontent toward President Obama loud and clear in the midterm elections. But there is a serious lesson to be learned here: Unfettered allegiance to political leaders will never earn voters any respect. Only when there’s a likelihood that they’ll be held accountable for their actions will politicians revere their constituents.
It’s all the more reason why a fair and honest media is vital to a successful democracy.