AP's Elliott Tries to Separate Gruber From His Obamacare 'Architect' Role

November 17th, 2014 11:42 PM

The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press — the entity which to our great misfortune is considered the de facto news source of record by the nation's establishment press — finally broke down several days ago and mentioned the name "Jonathan Gruber" in a news story.

Of course, the wire service saved Philip Elliott's story for Friday afternoon to minimize its visibility; the time stamp at the AP's national site is 4:20 p.m. ET Friday; that's only a minute later than the 3:19 p.m. CT time stamp found here at the earliest Google News entry I could find. Elliott largely made the story almost entirely about Republicans' and conservatives' reactions to what Gruber has said — as if they're the only ones who should be deeply troubled about Gruber's insulting descriptions of the American people and the fundamental dishonesty involved in drafting and passing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in early 2010. But he also quite dishonestly tried to claim that Gruber wasn't even an "architect" of the law (bolds and numbered tags are mine):


Newly surfaced videos are adding fresh energy to the efforts of congressional conservatives to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, feeding into their contentions that the overhaul was approved through a scheme of deception. [1]

... The videos show MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, an adviser in the law's drafting, saying that "the stupidity of the American voter" helped Democrats pass the complex legislation. [2]

... In one video, Gruber describes what he depicts as the behind-the-scenes political strategy of the law's supporters. At a 2013 University of Pennsylvania public forum, he says Americans' lack of understanding helped Democrats pass the legislation.

Other impolitic statements have continued to dribble out in which Gruber claims that the law was written to deceive federal budget watchdogs and mocks conservatives' concerns over health care policy.

He has since disavowed the most controversial remarks, [3] saying he "spoke inappropriately and I regret having made those comments."

... (Republicans) say the remarks show a cynical strategy by Democrats to camouflage the law's politically unpalatable aspects and sneak them past an unsuspecting public. [4]

... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., instrumental in the law's passage, said she did not know Gruber - despite having cited his analysis at least once [5] in the past during an on-camera briefing with reporters.

"He didn't help write our bill," she said this week. [5]

... "How can you put another red penny toward this program?" asks ForAmerica's (David) Bozell, "when the architect of it says the only reason it passed is a lie?"

Few others, however, would call Gruber the architect of the massive law. [6]


[1] — "Feeding into their contentions"? No, as Alex Seitz-Wald at MSNBC (of all places) recently said, Gruber's statements "confirm all the worst suspicions that Republicans had, everything that they’ve been saying about Obamacare, that it was passed on a platform of lies, that Democrats were not transparent in passing this bill."

[2] — The AP's Elliott has totally and dishonestly turned the Gruber affair into something it isn't. "The stupidity of the American voter" in opposing new taxes, risk-rated subsidies, loss of their existing plans, and socialized medicine in general is why Gruber and Obamacare's proponents deliberately decided to engage in subterfuge (described as "lack of transparency") to get it passed. Voters' "stupidity" didn't "help" get the law passed. The law passed because Gruber, the President, and Democratic politicians avoided telling those "stupid" voters what was in it.

[3] — Gruber has never unconditionally said "I'm sorry." Gruber has never said that any of his statements were wrong. Thus, he has NOT "disavowed" his remarks. He has only said that he shouldn't have said them. That's not the same thing, and Philip Elliott should know that (and he probably does).

[4] — Ah yes, the tired "Republicans say" ploy. As usual, it isn't about what "Republicans say," it's about what the truth is. Gruber's remarks indisputably show that there was "a cynical strategy by Democrats to camouflage the law's politically unpalatable aspects and sneak them past an unsuspecting public."

[5] (tagged twice) — Elliott at least noted the not-credible nature of Nancy Pelosi's claim not to even know who Gruber is. Contrary to what she claims, describing Gruber as an architect of the law who helped write it is accurate. The Obama reelection campaign said the following after the first presidential debate on October 3, 2012:

Jon Gruber Who Helped Write Obamacare And The Massachusetts Health Care Law: “The Federal Reform Is Simply A More Ambitious Version Of The Massachusetts Reform.” “‘The federal reform is simply a more ambitious version of the Massachusetts reform,’ said Jon Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who helped policy makers write both laws. ‘Within three years, we should see that the federal reform has covered the uninsured and stabilized the non-group market covering individuals who now face much higher premiums, Gruber said in a telephone interview.”

The campaign was citing to a Bloomberg Businessweek item from March 26 of that year, and clearly agreed with the characterization of reporters Drew Armstrong and Alex Wayne.

[6] — Contrary to what Philip Elliott claims, there are quite a "few others" who have called Gruber "an architect" or "the architect" of Obamacare.

A Google web search on "Gruber Obamacare architect" (not in quotes) for the date range of March 1, 2010 to December 31, 2013 returns 129 results. A search on "Gruber Affordable Care Act architect" (not in quotes) returns 190 results. Obviously, there is some overlap between the two searches, and there appear to be some links to Gruber's recently exposed statements, but the combined total from that time from is certainly well over 100.

The following is a very partial list of establishment press outlets which have called Jonathan Gruber "an" or "the" Obamacare "architect" without any known objections from Obama administration officials during that time frame: Real Clear Politics, the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, Forbes, the Hill, Madison.com (in an announcement of a Gruber appearance, indicating that he was okay with the "architect" tag), and Politifact.

In June 2012, the Huffington Post described Gruber as "the Romneycare architect" who "advised Democrats and the Obama administration on how to build the Affordable Care Act."

Gruber is actually called "the Father of Obamacare in some circles" — a statement which goes further than calling him "the architect."

Philip Elliott's excerpted "few others" statement above, even "cleverly" narrowed to "the architect," is blatantly false.

A future post on the AP's coverage of Gruber will show how the wire service is using President Obama's disingenuous weekend comments to try to eliminate any need to deal with him in future stories.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.