[Continuing our series on deception in politics and policy.]
Jonathan Gruber is not a bug. He’s a feature.
The people who run Washington are so-called Progressives—that is, they think that you are a bunch of rubes, ignorant hicks who need smart people like them to tell you how to live your life.
Needless to say, they’re a bunch of idiots. They’re “economists” who believe in Keynes and Obamacare, and “scientists” who believe in Global Warming theory. They’re “Constitutional scholars” who oppose the very idea of Constitutional law, because Constitutional law protects people like you from bullies like them. They’re “public health experts” who believe in banning trans fats and jumbo sodas and e-cigs and non-bureaucrat-approved restaurant menus instead of protecting public health (that is, protecting the public from infectious diseases, like EV-D68 or, for that matter, the Ebola virus about which the President lied: “You cannot get it . . . [by] sitting next to someone on a bus.”). They believe that cases like that of Matthew Shepard and Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown are simply too important to be subject to the normal rules of logic and evidence, but that the case of Billy Jack Gaither—apparently, an actual case of a gay man killed for being gay—must be ignored because he was a redneck from Alabama and therefore not eligible for status as a victim/political cause.
In the lead-up to the 2008 election, a journalist named Ezra Klein organized JournoList, a Google Group made up of some 400 academics, reporters, and others, which was mostly devoted to promoting the election of Barack Obama, and which worked furiously to downplay or cover up those aspects of Obama’s background that should have made him unelectable—for example, his friendship with Bernardine Dohrn, the most famous terrorist in America prior to Timothy McVeigh, and her terrorist husband Bill Ayers. When his effort was exposed, was Klein banned from journalism? No, he got his own column in the Washington Post, and now has his own online magazine, Vox.
Last year, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw explained the Republican Party’s problem: it’s “full of rednecks.” (Brokaw was recently selected by the Obama administration for the Medal of Freedom.) Liberals like Eleanor Roosevelt and Bobby Kennedy really cared about poor people in places like Kentucky and West Virginia and tried to help them; Progressives see them as beneficiaries of “white privilege” whose racism is evident in the fact that they hate Barack Obama for his extremist policies, including his effort, rooted in radical ideology, to destroy the coal industry.
Don’t think, if you’re from Indiana or Illinois or the West Coast or a big city in the East, that you’re excluded from the hatred they direct at “rednecks.” If you disagree with them, if you don’t like healthcare rationing or if you prefer actual science to junk science, you’re a redneck, and it’s OK to lie to you to get you to do things that are for your own good.
Just to show you that Professor Gruber is no anomaly, here’s an excerpt from an October 31 column by Steven Pearlstein, economics columnist for the Washington Post, in which he blamed Democrats’ problems in the then-upcoming election on “branding” and on too much reliance on polls of public opinion.
“To say that there is an over-reliance on research is a gross understatement,” laments Srere at Siegel + Gale. “It’s asking people to tell you things they can’t possibly tell you. As Henry Ford put it, if he had asked people what they wanted, they would have told him they wanted a faster horse.”
Voters, like consumers, are fickle, their opinions fluid and susceptible to new information and experiences. They don’t really know what their priorities are. They often act on emotion, not rational calculation. And in the end, they often vote on the character that candidates reveal in dealing with an issue rather than whether they fully agree with a candidate’s position. Given that reality, polls that tell you that voters are most concerned about the economy (when aren’t they?), have an unfavorable opinion of the president they just re-elected and are opposed to a health-care law they don’t begin to understand — that’s hardly research that can provide the basis for a successful campaign strategy.
When Ronald Reagan was reelected in 1984, CBS News anchor Dan Rather blamed it on racism. In 1994, after Republicans led by Newt Gingrich took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years, ABC News anchor Peter Jennings said:
Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week. . . . Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old.
More to come on Gruber and the million little Grubers that make up the Progressive movement.