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Jonathan Gruber: “The Lady Doth Protest Too Much.”

This gem from Wikipedia says it all:  “’The lady doth protest too much, methinks’ is a quotation from the 1602 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It has been used as a figure of speech, in various phrasings, to indicate that a person’s overly frequent or vehement attempts to convince others of something have ironically helped to convince others that the opposite is true, by making the person look insincere and defensive.”  Hamlet’s only mistake was that Jonathan Gruber is a man.

While I don’t usually launch personal attacks in this blog, I do believe it is fair game to comment on someone who has thrust himself into the public arena, especially one who has profited with public funds for doing so.  On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, Jonathan Gruber pawned himself off before a congressional hearing as in intelligent man who made some incredible gaffes.  I have heard most of the testimony, and feel like I need to throw in my two cents. 

First, Jonathan Gruber is an extremely intelligent man.  He is also an extremely egotistical and arrogant man (by his own admission) who further underscored his pride by his testimony.  The fact that he appeared before this committee in an attempt to disavow his recorded comments of several months ago only exacerbated the hubris he said he now despises.  He quickly ran out of ways to equivocate his position, and ended up repeating himself over and over.  Each question thrown at him by his interrogators was a shovel by which he kept digging a deeper and deeper hole. 

Rudy Giuliani, in his commentary on the Gruber performance, said exactly what needed to be said.  “He is a liar who was either lying when he made the recorded statements or was lying in his testimony before congress.”  I thought about that.  My question is this: which scenario was more likely the one in which he was compelled to lie?  The first one?  No.  Why would he have lied to his colleagues?  They were all on the same page.  They all understood what he was saying.  An athlete doesn’t brag before his fellow athletes about a feat they all know is impossible to achieve!  A scientist doesn’t boast before his fellow scientists about something they all know is bunk.  Gruber had little or nothing to gain by spouting exaggerations and stupid statements to them.  On the other hand, he had much to gain by lying to congress.  He had a reputation to preserve; a re-characterization of his recorded performance to manage; and a seminal piece of legislation to defend.  In my opinion, he was eating way too much humble pie for it to be an honest attempt.  We were hearing a cover-up in the making.

Every once in a while, you hear a story about a crook who blabbed about his exploits to the wrong people.  That’s what really happened here.  Jonathan Gruber didn’t lie the first time around.  He just told the truth to the wrong people.  Well, he told them to the cozy little group whom he thought was a safe audience for his insider admissions, but he didn’t count on someone videotaping his remarks and broadcasting them to the world.  He’s like a bank robber who bragged about his heist to some undercover cops. 

Here’s the truth, as I see it: 

Gruber does believe that the American public is stupid.  His testimony didn’t negate that—it proved it.

Gruber does believe that deception was the only way the ACA could pass.

Gruber does believe that the ACA was a tax.

Gruber does believe that he was a major player in the architecture of the ACA.

He was caught red-handed.  He would have been better off defending his original statements.

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