Professor Jonathan Gruber’s roster of American voters whose ‘stupidity’ was integral to passing H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (henceforth ACA) should encompass millions. Coverage of his statements was variously slanted across the media spectrum. The Right played the professor’s several video clips so often that it made me wonder if their sole motivation was inciting and keeping like-minded citizens among their audience incensed. The Left was barely audible, or mildly critical, or apologetic, or dismissive of Gruber’s comments. Pick one.
Neither side availed itself of an opportunity to identify those voters whose ‘stupidity’, by Gruber’s telling, was relied upon to make this legislation law. Unremarkably, the public record contains names of every one of the voters about whom Dr. Gruber derogatorily spoke. They went to work in 2009-2010 in opposite wings of the same building in Washington, D.C., from among 535 elected voters; the only voters who could possibly be germane to Professor Gruber’s comments.
Those whose ‘stupidity’ was necessary to passing ACA can be quickly distilled down to 279; the block of Aye-voting Americans upon whom Professor Gruber’s repeated insults actually fell, whether or not that was his intent.
Voting Aye (Yea) on H.R. 3590 (ACA):
U.S. Representatives voting Aye: Democrats 219, Republicans 0.
U.S. Senators voting Aye: Democrats 58, Independents 2, Republicans 0.
277 Democrats for ACA, two Independents for ACA, and zero Republicans for ACA.
Wonder if this vote, and the manner in which the vote came to be, would qualify, according to The Federalist Papers authors, as legislative tyranny of the majority?
The then House Speaker’s quote “. . .we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it” should be regarded as the enduring statement symbolizing Professor Gruber’s ‘stupid’ remarks.
Democrat members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who served in 2009-2010 made this scenario ironic when they took Professor Gruber mildly to task in December 2014 for his insulting glibness without once reflecting upon the reality that they were, save one, among the Aye-voting objects of his “stupidity of the American voter” insult.
In repeated town hall meetings across America before the ACA vote, citizens took their respective elected officials to task, asking about short and long term implications of ACA. American voters were anything but stupid about ACA. At no time have polls reflected that a majority of American voters have favored ACA.
Imagine the back and forth, and ensuing media circus which might have occurred in December 2014 had the Congressional Oversight and Reform Chairman leaned into his microphone, looked to the right, and asked the Ranking Member if he were aware Professor Gruber had actually been talking about him, among others on the committee.
Remedial action began 4Nov2014. Or has it?