Darrell Issa Showdown With Jonathan Gruber

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Republican House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa will interview disgraced Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber Tuesday morning.

Gruber infamously remarked on the “stupidity” of the American voter and detailed how he and Obama crafted ways to deceive people during the writing of the law in order to get their bill to pass. (RELATED: First Bombshell Gruber Video).

The 9:30 a.m. Oversight hearing, titled “Examining Obamacare Transparency Failures,” which also brings forth Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Marilyn Tavenner to testify, gives Issa his final opportunity to interrogate one of the most powerful people in the history of the Obama presidency.

Issa, who is turning the Oversight gavel over to Rep. Jason Chaffetz next month, has one more opportunity, as he did on the IRS scandal, to grill an Obama-world figure for the sake of the American people. And this is a big one when it comes to Obamacare. Gruber, after all, was a more important Obamacare figure than Obama — and Gruber got there first.

The meeting that doomed Obama on the domestic front occurred in the Oval Office on July 20, 2009 with Jonathan Gruber.

It was time to turn in the health care bill. But Obama was face-to-face with the false promises he made on the campaign trail. He promised that his plan, unlike Hillary Clinton’s, would have no mandates, either “individual” or “employer.” He also promised that people could keep their existing health insurance plans and doctors if they liked them. But those were lies, developed in polling research by a small but extremely powerful health care advocacy group called the Herndon Alliance.

When the Herndon Alliance approached the campaigns of the three major Democratic candidates in 2008, it was no challenge to get each of them on board with health care reform. After all, this Ted Kennedy dream bill was supposed to be Bill Clinton’s first project fifteen years earlier. Herndon Alliance head Phillipe Villers, the French-born Massachusetts-based founder of the Ted Kennedy-linked operation Families USA, was behind the push, with a direct messaging partner at the AARP. So Hillary, Obama and John Edwards all signed up with the same group of East Coast health care experts to develop essentially the same bill.

But second-place contender Obama went rogue at a pivotal moment in the primary. At a Jan. 21 debate in South Carolina, he announced that his plan, unlike Hillary’s, did not have any mandates forcing people to buy health insurance. Five days later, Obama scored the crowning win of his political career by defeating Hillary Clinton in South Carolina by twenty-nine points. Two days later, Ted Kennedy broke Bill Clinton’s friendship and endorsed Obama to become the Democratic president to write the bill.

Did Obama ever really have a competing health care plan in mind separate from Hillary’s? Nope. Never — as the outraged Clintons knew perfectly well.

Fast-forward to the first weeks of the 2009 health care push. Obama announced his support for mandates in a CBS News interview just five days before meeting with Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. It was a major flip-flop. The New York Times later fingered Gruber, a member of Obama’s transition team, as the man who “convinced” Obama to change his mind about mandates. But that was just spin. “Mr. Mandate” Gruber was always slated to design the Democrats’ big health care law. He even got introduced on stage by Herndon Alliance executive director Bob Crittenden to talk about the individual mandate. Obama had been kissing Gruber’s ass as far back as 2006.

Obama knew the bill would mandate health insurance for all Americans and companies. He knew millions of Americans would lose their existing plans. He knew these massive changes were in the works before he even took on the health care issue. He knew the changes would shock people. And in the one White House planning meeting out of twelve he actually showed up at, he chose to deceive people.

Obama said, according to Gruber: “Look, I can’t just do this. It’s just not going to happen politically. The bill will not pass. How do we manage to get there in phases and other things?”

Obama might have paused at that meeting where deceptions were plotted. He might have looked out the Oval Office window and pictured hundreds of thousands of tea party protesters just two months later marching to the Capitol. He might have imagined the party-line vote, the Supreme Court challenges, the re-election referendum, the government shutdown, the glitchy website, the canceled plans, the “Between Two Ferns” make-up appearance.

He might have foreseen his loss of Congress to the Republicans in the midterm elections of 2010. He might have known he would never get Congress back. And he might have seen just how little his party’s health care project really meant to him, and just how much it would end up costing him.

“You want to repeal health care?” Obama hissed at imaginary Republicans in a rant to his advisers picked up by a hot microphone shortly after his midterm loss. “Go at it. We’ll have that debate. You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?”

It was the wounded howl of a president that had lost his power to pass domestic laws through constitutional channels. It was the mournful sigh of a policy reformer that had squandered his ability to reform. It was “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and Loses.” It was the concession speech of the Democrat that finally lost on health care.

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