How stupid can you get?
Here is a summary of Stupid Tapes I and II:
Gruber specifically was referring to the way the "Cadillac tax" was designed — he touted their plan to, instead of taxing policy holders, tax the insurance companies that offered them. He suggested that taxing individuals would have been politically unpalatable, but taxing the companies worked because Americans didn't understand the difference.
This is similar to remarks he made at a separate event around the same time in 2013. In a clip of that event, Gruber said the "lack of transparency" in the way the law was crafted was critical. "Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass," he said.
After the first tape surfaced — prompting Republican outrage — Gruber went on MSNBC to express regret. On Tuesday, he said: "I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments."
But after Fox News played the second tape, GOP lawmakers said it proves what they've been saying all along.
Gruber collected around $400,000 for his work on the Affordable Care Act–paid for by taxpayers. A White House website was dedicated to Gruber's work. He attended several White House meetings on ObamaCare, one of which was chaired by none other than President Obama (and you thought he spent all his time golfing!).
Mr. Gruber is not alone in regarding Americans as stupid. The stupidity of the American voter has become quite a theme for Democrats. As Clive Crook points out in a piece published at Bloomberg View, Democrats now believe it is the dimness of the American voter that led to the results of the midterm elections. Mr. Crook writes:
Supporters of the Democratic Party have many theories to explain the drubbing they were handed on Election Day. The explanations seem to boil down to one basic proposition, however: Voters are too stupid to know what's good for them.
Let me say it clearly: The Democratic Party will continue to underperform until it learns to take election beatings a bit more personally.
The sheer variety of theories based on the stupidity of voters is what's so impressive. For instance, the Obama administration's record is good, and the economy is finally doing better; but voters are too stupid to see that. Or: The policy record is poor and the economy is screwed, which is the Republicans' fault for paralyzing Washington; and voters are too stupid to see that. Or: The policies are bad, the economy is screwed, and Democrats are to blame for failing to press the robust progressive agenda that voters want; then voters (who really are impossibly stupid) punish this lack of commitment by electing conservative Republicans.
Cook doesn’t find the voters as stupid as Mr. Gruber and the leaders of the Democratic Party find us:
A theory putting less weight on the stupidity of voters might run along the following lines: With Barack Obama in the White House for two more years, the electorate could choose to empower him by electing Democrats or obstruct him by electing Republicans. The voters chose to obstruct the president — and that wasn't such a dumb thing to do.
Of course, this is all very funny. But there is a serious aspect of this: the country now has a New Ruling Class composed of charmless creatures such as Mr. Gruber, who almost always lack grace or cultural attainments but have a low opinion of the intelligence of other Americans. They infest academia and the bureaucracy. I have previously written about disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner as an exemplar of this New Class.
The last six years have been the heyday for such people as Mr. Gruber, bestowing upon them power and prestige. The passage of the Affordable Care Act was their high point.
But it just might be that they are too dumb to get by with their antics for much longer.