Grubermania: Catch it!

Well, Vermont conservatives finally have a live one: a get-your-blood-boiling, wave-the-bloody-shirt phony “issue” of the kind that rarely presents itself in our green and pleasant land. And boy howdy, are they ever jumping on the outrage train.

Critics of the Shumlin administration are demanding the dismissal of a state consultant whose remarks about the Affordable Care Act last week went viral on Twitter and was picked up by major news outlets…

The target, of course, is Jonathan Gruber, health care expert and creator of the best economic model for health care systems. And utterer of some completely charmless comments on a handful of occasions over the past few years.

Just think, in this age of digital media, how many Young Conservatives are being gainfully employed searching through endless hours of Gruber’s public appearances, trying to locate bits of marketable outrage. Gruber’s been a high-profile figure in health care reform for many years; because of the unique usefulness of his model, he’s been hired by the feds and a whole bunch of states. He’s given testimony, he’s given speeches, he’s been on countless panels.

But never mind the inherent unfairness of tearing a man’s reputation to shreds over a few words. We’ve got some rabble-rousing to do! And our junior-league rabble-rousers are in full force: Rob Roper, Darcie Johnston*, and oh wait — here’s a new entrant to the Pitchfork Brigade: the previously cool-headed, plausibly nonpartisan Campaign for Vermont!

*And again I say, why in hell is anybody listening to Darcie Johnston after the faceplant of the Dan Feliciano campaign added another chapter to her Little Book of Failure?

Between this and CFV moneybags Bruce Lisman’s recent mouth-foamer of an opinion piece (about which more in an upcoming post), it looks like CFV is finally shedding its chrysalis of nonpartisanship and emerging as the Butterfly of Fiscal Conservatism we all suspected was in there all along.

All this Grubermania has a purpose: to toss a can of nails in the Road to Single-Payer, as VTDigger’s Anne Galloway reports:

Gov. Peter Shumlin… is moving ahead with his signature single payer health care initiative. Gruber’s work is crucial to that effort.

“Crucial” because Shumlin has to show that single-payer won’t hurt the state’s economy. Gruber’s model is by far the best tool for the job.

No Gruber, no model. And Shumlin’s task gets a little bit harder.

Now let’s see what kind of cojones the Administration has. WIll they stand by their guy in the face of grossly exaggerated attacks? Or will they toss him off the dogsled in hopes of distracting the wolves?

Based on past experience, I hope Gruber is packin’ a Bowie knife. After all, one of the great saints of Vermont liberalism, Peter Welch, fell for a similar outrage over alleged malfeasance at ACORN. Welch, you may recall, played a small and ignominious role in ACORN’s termination. Sadly, I expect nothing better of Governor Shumlin.

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