Lawrence O'Donnell on Gruber: "What He Did Was Tell The Truth"


MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MORNING JOE: I get the feeling his name [Jonathan Gruber] is going to become like a verb. Like, you just got Grubered or something. The guy, I think to Joe's point last hour, let's cut this conversation short, the president should have just said, what a jerk.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Well, he did. The president didn't do what Nancy Pelosi did last week when she pretended to literally not know who Gruber was. And then you had video of her talking about Gruber years before. You know, look, this fits the Michael Kingsley definition of a gaffe. What Gruber did, specific language aside, the offensive language aside, what he did was tell the truth.

Legislation always needs collective ignorance about many elements of it in order to move forward. I promise you, there was not one person who voted for the Affordable Care Act who could tell you more than 30% of what was in it. I had the pleasure of coming on this set, sitting in this chair, and announcing to America that there were fifteen taxes in the Affordable Care Act that no one knew about because they were developed in secret as they always are by Senate Finance Committee staff and as soon as Max Baucus' work product was finally public we then knew that. But through the course of that debate, those fifteen taxes did not get debated.

You couldn't find anyone who could name you two or three of those taxes that were in there and that is how these things move. And one of the legislative strategies about secrecy is, as soon as you know there is a medical device tax in this bill, the medical device industry and their lobbyists will come in and try to shut that down. And so everyone who’s trying to preserve the secrecy of legislation and the moving components of it as it’s going through the process think they're doing the right thing. And in their experience tells them, it's the only way we can get this passed.

(via Jeffrey Meyer at Newsbusters)

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