During this morning’s hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Congressman Trey Gowdy, (R-SC), repeatedly asked MIT Professor of economics Jonathan Gruber what he meant when he made his now-infamous quotes. Here’s part of the exchange between Rep. Gowdy and Prof. Gruber:
REP. GOWDY: What did you mean when you said you wish you could be transparent but you’d rather have the law than not?
PROF. GRUBER: Once again, it was my trying to conjecture about a political process about which I’m not an expert.
REP. GOWDY: Well, what did you mean when you said it was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO didn’t score the mandate as a tax?
PROF. GRUBER: Once again, it was using inappropriate language to sound impressive to my colleagues.
REP. GOWDY: Do you see a trend developing here, Professor Gruber?
PROF. GRUBER: I don’t understand the question.
REP. GOWDY: It’s a lot of stupid quotes you made. That’s the trend.
PROF. GRUBER: A lot of inexcusable quotes.
REP. GOWDY: Right. And again, your defense is that you’re not a politician. “The lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” Well what is a nonpolitician doing talking about political advantages?
PROF. GRUBER: A nonpolitician is talking about political advantages to make himself seem smarter by conjecturing about something he’s really not an expert about.
REP. GOWDY: So you’re a professor at MIT and you’re worried about not looking smart enough?
PROF. GRUBER: Yes.
Congressman Gowdy’s cross-examination of Prof. Gruber was exceptionally illuminating. It’s clear that Gruber’s main goal was to fake humility in front of the committee without being sincerely humiliated. Unfortunately for Prof. Gruber, Congressman Gowdy wasn’t finished humiliating Prof. Gruber. Here’s another exchange:
REP. GOWDY: Now I want to ask you when did you realize that these statements were inappropriate … because it took you about a year to apologize so I’m trying to figure out if you realized sooner that they were inappropriate or was it just the morning before you went on MSNBC that you realized that they were inappropriate. When did you realize that these statements were indefensible and inappropriate?
PROF. GRUBER: I honestly didn’t remember making them.
REP. GOWDY: You didn’t remember calling your fellow citizens stupid and you didn’t remember saying that you’re the only person that cares about the uninsured, that the rest of your fellow citizens don’t give a damn about the uninsured?
Anyone watching this hearing could see that Prof. Gruber’s contrition wasn’t sincere. It isn’t believable that an MIT professor would make that many disparaging statements about his fellow citizens without meaning it. This didn’t just happen once. There are over a dozen different taped instances where Prof. Gruber criticized his fellow citizens for being economically illiterate or for being stupid.