A popular current definition of a gaffe is an assertion someone makes that is honest or correct but has to walk back because it generates too much controversy. And then there is the definition of stupidity which needs no definition (unless you’re stupid). The latest example of both comes from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of Obamacare who gives us an example of double-whammy:
An architect of ObamaCare on Tuesday said he regretted his 2013 comment that a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American voter” helped Congress pass the healthcare law.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber made his first public comments on MSNBC after conservative media unearthed a video clip over the weekend of him discussing the healthcare law.
“The comments in the video were made at an academic conference,” Gruber said on “Ronan Farrow Daily.” “I was speaking off the cuff. I basically spoke inappropriately. I regret having made those comments.”
Gruber was speaking on a panel last year when he suggested that ObamaCare passed because lawmakers and voters did not understand how its financing worked
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said at the time. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”
Gruber also said that ObamaCare was written in a “tortured way” to avoid a bad score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). And he suggested that voters would have rejected the law if penalties for being uninsured were interpreted as a tax.
“If CBO scored the [individual] mandate as taxes, the bill dies,” Gruber said.
“If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get subsidies, it would not have passed,” he added.
It’s the perfect example of someone saying something that virtually hands his opponents a fully loaded gun with political ammunition and helps his opponents pull the trigger. Firstly, saying American voters were dumb to help pass Obamacare is a statement many Republicans have either said in public or privately.
So he is a uniter, not a divider.
Except conservatives websites are having a field day over the comment suggesting it confirms their argument all along that the administration had to use trickery to get the law passed and that the law did stand up to scrutiny.
P.S. Walking back that statement will do absolutely no good. A clarification, apology, getting down on his knees and pleading, arguing he was hypnotized, saying he had seven martinis when he said it — will not remove the fact that it was said. And Democrats that lambasted Mitt Romney for what he said about some Americans in private not realizing he was taped will have no standing to say what Gruber said was in private. It will confirm the belief of some and be used against Democrats and Barack Obama for quite a while.
Christmas came early this year for conservatives…
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.