Hillary isn't going to be happy with MIT's Jon Gruber, the "father of Obamacare." Especially since she is the "grandmother of Obamacare" and Gruber is confirming her maternity once-removed of the most unpopular law in three generations.
Send the former Secretary of State and future presidential candidate a copy of my new book The Happiest Life. My publisher's "pre-order for Christmas and New Year's" campaign began on radio Monday, so it is a great time to get Hillary some good cheer.
CNN's Jake Tapper had advice for Hillary on my Tuesday show.
"If I were Hillary Clinton, I wouldn't talk about Obamacare," Jake declared. And with good reason.
Dr. Gruber, in a long and wide-ranging interview with me on Obamacare's collapse Wednesday, detailed exactly why Hillary knows that the doom of Obamacare is an enormous political problem for her. The key exchange:
HH: So is Hillary Obamacare’s grandmother, Jon Gruber?
JG: Well once again, I think Obamacare is not single payer. It’s not socialism. And look, you can look at my record. I’ve not come out in favor of single payer socialism. I don’t think it’s the right system for America. And that’s not what Obamacare is. Hillary is not, Hillary, basically, she did endorse what became Obamacare in the 2008 elections, 2008 primaries. She endorsed that. But prior to that, she had a very different plan. She had a plan which was much more interventionist. The Clinton, that’s the irony of Bill Clinton criticizing Obama for taking away people’s health insurance. The Clinton health care plan was much to the left of Obamacare. It would have more radically changed our health care system.Obamacare is really, it’s a big intervention, but it is much to the right of anything that’s been tried before.
HH: So Hillarycare would have had far more disruptive consequences for American health care than even Obamacare has?
JG: The original Hillarycare as proposed in the early 90s would, absolutely, would have been much more disruptive.
I added the emphasis to make it easier for the ad-makers to find the exact pull quotes for the general election in 2016.
Of course Republicans already know how far left Hillary's scheme was, and that the 1993-94 Hillarycare legislation revealed the inner Hillary more than anything she has done since (though perhaps not as much as what she didn't do on the night of Benghazi, which was to call back the embattled State Department employees after she spoke with them once at 2 AM.)
Read the entire Gruber interview for a comprehensive overview of the battle lines from the last full-fledged defender of Obamacare, a make-no-changes-to-the-law true believer. Most of the other one-time Obamacare supporters have fled the burning house, and even the president is preparing to do so, but not Dr. Gruber. I am hoping Avik Roy takes the time to critique Dr. Gruber's assessment of Obamacare as of late November, 2013,and perhaps some other specialists as well. If Gruber's defense of Obamacare is toppled, there won't be any left.
We don't need much debate about Hillarycare, however --the consensus from left to right is that it would have been worse for the country than Obamacare, and by a lot.
Hillary ought to be called to task for the disaster that would have been Hillarycare at least as much as Mitt Romney was pummelled for the success of his Romneycare in Massachusetts.
And GOP leaders don't need much prompting to connect Hillary with the Obamacare disaster unfolding around us.
The sort of intervention, Rubio went on, that makes up "the underpinning of this long-term desire that many on the left have had for universal payer, for one insurance for every American, Medicare for all type concept, which I think is, of course, would never work and is a disaster for the middle class and for the American dream."
Rubio was joined in this assessment by his colleague, Senator Ron Johnson, also a guest Wednesday (a busy day on the radio show). The key exchange with Senator Johnson:
HH: Do you think Bill Clinton’s attempting to distance his wife and future presidential candidate from this [Obamacare] fiasco? And is that possible?
RJ: Well, I think that’s what’s going to be happening with every Democrat other than President Obama.
HH: But specifically Hillary, do you think…
RJ: Again, I’d imagine that’s what he’s going.
HH: Is that possible?
RJ: I was surprised that he came out and said that. It certainly helps our cause from the standpoint of highlighting why we have to fundamentally transform Obamacare.
HH: But is that possible? She’s Obamacare’s grandmother, isn’t she?
RJ: You could say that. That was her big project back there in the early 90s. You’re exactly right.
HH: So how in the world does he expect or she expect to not be tagged with the Obamacare fiasco when she runs? And she is going to run, isn’t she?
RJ: I would say maybe a fawning mainstream media?
RJ: That’s worked out pretty well for them in the past, right? That’s a pretty good strategy. It’s worked for President Obama until the reality has slapped America in the face so hard that even the mainstream press is kind of having to turn on them, ask them some tough questions.
HH: Is that fawning mainstream, do you see that? Do you see the fawning mainstream media changing?
RJ: No, other than when the reality is so stark that they are absolutely forced to admit, and they simply can’t cover for their favorite politicians.
So Jon Gruber, Marco Rubio and Ron Johnson all see Hillary and Hillarycare clearly against the backdrop of the Obamacare nightmare: Hillarycare would have been even worse than Obamacare, an even greater disaster for the country. President Bill Clinton's statement earlier this week signals that Team Clinton knows this truth as well, and also knows it has got to get their candidate far away from the disaster, just as it did on the night of Benghazi.
Dr. Gruber's blunt assessment and his standing in MSM circles will make Hillary's evacuation from the scene of the domestic disaster much more difficult than her disappearing act on the night of the Benghazi attacks, but the Clintons are counting on the "fawning mainstream media" as Senator Johnson so accurately put it. A connection to a domestic disaster of this scale is hard to conceal, though,especially when Hillary was urging an even bigger fiasco when it was her last turn at the domestic policy bat.
So send Hillary a copy of The Happiest Life. Send the president a copy, and a copy for every Senate Democrat and Congressman you can find an address for. They are going to need some cheering up, and they are most definitely going to need some very different New Year's resolutions.
Just six weeks ago they were looking forward to 2014. Now it promises to be the worst political year of their lives because the closest thing they have ever had to a utopian dream make it into law is unfolding in real time. And Americans hate it.