- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 16, 2014

“Are the American people too stupid to understand the true costs associated with Obamacare?” asks a point blank survey question from Rasmussen Reports. The pollster wonders if voters agree with MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, a key pointman behind the health care law, caught on video saying that lack of transparency is “a huge political advantage” and suggesting the cumbersome law itself was too complex for “stupid” Americans. The Republican National Committee immediately produced their own parody video tiled “Grubering.” President Obama distanced himself, then reframed the moment, telling reporters, “The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run.”

Ditto from Secretary for Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell who told NBC on Sunday that she fundamentally disagreed with Mr. Gruber’s comments and that her department focused on transparency and accuracy. And from former White House adviser David Axelrod came this tweet a few hours later, homing in on the Affordable Care Act: “As one who worked hard to make ACA and its benefits clear, let me say: if you looked up ‘stupid’ in dictionary, you’d find Gruber’s picture.”

Well, OK. But what did the Rasmussen survey reveal? There’s a complicated divide at work among “stupid” Americans. The survey found that 32 percent of likely voters agree with Mr. Gruber. It also found that 52 percent disagree with the idea while 16 percent are not sure. Among voters who favor the health care law, 18 percent say Americans are too dumb to understand it. “Those who oppose the law, however, by a 46 percent to 42 percent margin do think the American people are that stupid,” states the poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters, conducted on Nov. 12-13.

THE GRUBERISMS

Grubergate, gruberish, grubered, grubermania, moneygrubering and gruberpalooza are among the new terms that have sprung into public use, these inspired by the aforementioned Mr. Gruber. All the new nouns and verbs — some capitalized, some not — are now appearing in multiple print and online reports from Time, Bloomberg, Fox News, Powerline, Lucianne.com and many other sources. The usage has been spirited in recent days.

“How about you man up, Stewart, and admit you were ‘Grubered’ into selling that Obamacare [expletive],” Fox News host Eric Bolling advised Jon Stewart, a rival host on Comedy Central.


SEE ALSO: McConnell rules out government shutdown to block Obama immigration moves


“I think that no other word describes what we have seen in the climate debate quite as well as Grubering. The Climategate emails are full of discussions about how to ‘sell’ the public on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming through a campaign of lies and exaggerations. There are many discussion about how the public could not possibly understand such a complex subject. ‘Climate Grubering’ — it’s a powerful new word that can help us to describe what’s been going on,” notes Watts Up With That, a popular blog covering climate change and global warming.

“So now there are denialists, skeptics, warmists, alarmists and Gruberists,” responded one reader on Sunday.

IMMIGRATION REFORM, PART 2

“Unrestrained, unaccountable, and unhinged” is how Judicial Watch director Tom Fitton describes President Obama’s approach toward immigration policy, and the potential 10-point overhaul of the system rumored to take shape later this week.

“There’s a largely unreported element of this story that deserves greater attention and scrutiny as it provides insight into the administration’s aims and ambitions — and reveals the backroom conniving and outright duplicity inherent in the entire Obama amnesty scenario,” Mr. Fitton advises. “On January 29, 2014, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security posted a ‘Request for Information (RFI)/Sources Sought: Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children.’ ” Among the services to be provided:

“The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year,” according to the request.

Mr. Fitton says Judicial Watch has already filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the federal agency seeking “any and all records” relating to the plan.

VOTER OUTREACH STARTS EARLY

“Hillary, The Coloring Book”

— “Hand-drawn images ready to be colored — including the iconic ‘Texts from Hillary’ moment — are accompanied by fascinating facts about the history of America’s Madam President-in-waiting,” advises publisher Ulysses Press, which has priced the 64-page book at $10.

THE TRAVELS OF MR. HAGEL

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will soon finish up a five-day trip around the nation gauging “first-hand some of the critical training the force receives to maintain readiness across a range of challenges,” this according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby. He toured the 91st Missile Wing Operations Center at Minot Air Force Base on Friday. On Saturday, Mr. Hagel delivered the keynote address at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California — as well as the perfectly splendid “Peace Through Strength” dinner that followed to honor former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Republican Sen. John McCain. Those events, incidentally, are dear to the heart of Nancy Reagan.

“Ronnie’s proudest moments as president involved the men and women who wear the uniform of our country and defend us around the world every day. He would have been so pleased to know that his presidential library is now hosting important and relevant events like these,” Mrs. Reagan observes.

On Sunday, Mr. Hagel journeyed to observe U.S. Army “Decisive Action” readiness training at Fort Irwin, California — this involving 4,700 soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. DOD describes this as a test of “large-scale, offensive and defensive operations against a near-peer enemy” and to “support an embattled host nation government and fight an insurgency.” On Monday, he’s off to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to thank families of U.S. military service members deployed to West Africa, then it’s on to Camp LeJeune on Tuesday to observe a phenomenon of interest to fans and critics alike at his final stop.

“He will observe training conducted by the men and women of the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force. This training will help the Marine Corps facilitate standards base assessments of physical performance to help integrate female Marines into ground combat arms occupational specialties,” DOD advises.

POLL DU JOUR

79 percent support policies that balance the federal budget; 95 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents agree.

73 percent overall support policies that toughen border security; 93 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents agree.

71 percent overall support policies lowering individual taxes; 90 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents agree

49 percent overall support policies that would “repeal Obamacare”; 84 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agree.

39 percent overall support providing illegal immigrants with a “pathway to citizenship”; 22 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of independents agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 995 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 8-10.

Smart remarks and polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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