The left has been in power so long they have completely lost both the ability to persuade people and any interest in doing so. Instead the only tools remaining in their kit are mocking and derision. So it is that we find that the left has coined a new and not very creative insult for people who believe that the Halbig plaintiffs were correct and that Obamacare, as written, confines the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance to states that have set up their own exchange. The term, of course, is “Obamacare Truther.”
I am not entirely sure what connection can be drawn between people who can read and the festering mass of people on the left who believe that 9/11 was a government conspiracy, but logical connections are not the point in this discussion. The point is to intimidate and shut down legitimate debate over what is fairly obviously a reasonable question.
The latest instance of a lefty using this derisive phrase is especially egregious since it happens to be Jonathan Cohn, who was most recently caught on tape contradicting virtually all his reporting for this entire year by saying, back in 2010, that the Halbig plaintiffs have the legislative history exactly correct. Cohn’s response to “pulling a Gruber” was essentially to “pull another Gruber” and claim that he has no idea what he was thinking at the time, he cannot possibly explain it, he must have had a speak-o, because no one actually believed the words that came out of his mouth. His concluding graf basically asks us to believe that people who have a nakedly partisan post hoc interest in lying should be believed without question:
To me, the most plausible account of what actually happened in Congress is the one that Greg Sargent pieced together the other day, complete with quotes from people who were writing what became the final bill. Those people say they always believed subsidies should go to all states, even those where the federal government runs the exchanges. White House officials and Congressional leaders have all said the same thing. I still think they are telling the truth. I still think it’s not a close call.
Pardon me for saying so, but I think they are not telling the truth, and I think it isn’t a close call. And thankfully, you don’t have to choose between partisan liberal Jonathan Cohn saying that he thinks the Democrats are telling the truth and partisan conservative Leon Wolf saying the Republicans are telling the truth.
It turns out that we have quite a bit of evidence about the behavior of Congress over the past century that we can draw from. And it turns out that attempting to force states to participate in programs they might otherwise not want to participate in by dangling money in front of them is pretty much definitively Congress’ all time favorite move. In fact, I would defy the current Halbig critics to find a single bill in the last 20 years involving the appropriation of federal money that did not contain some clause somewhere (or more likely, several clauses) giving money to the state or local governments, contingent upon their acceptance of some condition or participation in some program. As the Halbig majority noted, we don’t have too look far at all for an example of the contrary behavior, as Obamacare itself is littered with similar provisions in other parts of the bill where it is undisputed by anyone that the federal government conditioned the acceptance of funds on state participation in various programs (i.e., Medicaid expansion).
The argument that the Halbig critics are asking us to accept on faith, and contrary to their own express contemporary statements (in the case of Gruber and Cohn in particular), is that it’s unreasonable and far fetched to assume that Congress did with Obamacare what Congress always does with almost every spending bill it passes. This argument is obviously not persuasive on the merits to anyone who does not already have their partisan blinders on; accordingly those making it have no choice but to resort to insult, mockery, and begging the question.
Republicans to some degree reached this point in 2006 – we see how that worked out in the voting booth.