Who exactly is Jonathan Gruber, that mysterious MIT professor that most of us were first introduced to last week through videos of him gloating over the “stupidity” of American voters for not understanding that they were being conned into supporting Obamacare?
He sure seems like an important person. He was, after all, an architect of the Affordable Care Act, the most sweeping healthcare-related law of our time. He was a key player in federal legislation that took control of a sixth of the American economy. The guy has even earned millions of dollars from taxpayers for his government consulting work; $400,000 for his work on the ACA alone.
Who is this man who has been praised by some of our nation’s top-level leaders?
Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid called him, “one of the most respected economists in the world.” Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and U.S. Senator Max Baucus cited Gruber’s studies in their public arguments in support of healthcare reform. Our current Secretary of State, John Kerry, called Gruber the Senate Financial Committee’s “guide” on costs related to Obamacare. Former Obama adviser, Steve Rattner, called Gruber the White House’s “guru” on health care, and said the administration viewed him “as an important figure in helping to put Obamacare together.” Barack Obama himself even lauded Gruber, once admitting that he had stolen healthcare ideas from Gruber’s work.
As highly as these people regarded Gruber, the respect was clearly mutual. In an interview with PBS, Gruber praised the open-mindedness and dedication of President Obama. He explained how, in a meeting between the two in 2009, he sold the president on the necessity of the highly controversial coverage mandate.
Gruber sure seemed to be on top of the world. He’d earned his place in history. He had long dreamed of the kind of national healthcare system that was signed into law with Obamacare, and he had the ears of the most influential decision-makers in the country. It couldn’t have hurt that he made a small fortune in the process. Yet, after a week of conservative media outlets airing multiple videos showing Gruber copping to the administration’s willful deception of the stupid American public, everything seems to have changed. Once the toast of the country’s ruling class, Gruber has now become their Invisible Man.
Nancy Pelosi, who had previously touted Gruber’s work, claimed last week that she had never even heard of him, and that he had nothing to do with the ACA.
President Obama distanced himself and his administration from Gruber by calling the professor just “some adviser” who was never a member of his staff. Apparently, paying a consultant $400,000 – courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer – doesn’t come with any liability strings attached, in the eyes of our president. That sure is strange considering that in 2012, President Obama’s re-election campaign proudly called Gruber one of the writers of Obamacare. They sure were thankful for his help back then. Now, he’s been demoted to just “some adviser.”
Universities where Gruber has spoken are reportedly scrubbing their websites of Gruber’s speeches and discussions, seemingly in an attempt to prevent more incriminating footage from turning up on Fox News. Academia is washing its hands of the once esteemed professor – at least until the media attention dies down.
Liberal, New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait, who called Gruber “the author of Obamacare” last week, is now feverishly insisting that Gruber just wasn’t all that important to the ACA, and should be given no credit for writing the law.
One has to wonder what’s next? Is Gruber’s publishing company going to claim that he didn’t even write that adorable Obamacare comic book of his?
For the past week, the mainstream media has been acting as if they don’t know who Jonathan Gruber is either. While Fox News and conservative websites have been covering what the professor has been telling audiences about Obamacare over the past few years, few other outlets have. To them, Gruber just isn’t newsworthy anymore – not like the days when he was mentioned regularly in major newspapers that were favorable to the ACA becoming law. Apparently, an admission of a massive lie told by a president to the country just doesn’t hold the same weight as it used to.
It all seems very unfair to Professor Gruber. He really is, after all, an important figure in American history. Not only was he an architect of President Obama’s signature accomplishment while in office, but he was also a key figure – by his own admission – in one of my generation’s biggest political con jobs.
It feels like an injustice not to give him credit where credit is due. Don’t you think?