Gruber says ‘Americans are stupid,’ but stupidity begins in Washington

Cartoon by Branco. (Via LegalInsurrection. See note below)*
Cartoon by Branco. (Via LegalInsurrection. See note below)*

CHARLOTTE, N.C., November 16, 2014 — If you listen to any conservative media source, you know about Jonathan Gruber’s comments concerning the stupidity of the American people. Liberals, on the other hand, have probably heard nothing about the story.

The videos of Gruber discussing Obamacare are remarkably candid, yet also insulting. Gruber may actually have a point regarding the stupidity of Americans, but most of the stupidity he cites actually emanates from Washington.

It does not take a veteran travel writer to understand exactly what Gruber was suggesting, as evidenced by the following examples from a Washington, D.C. airline ticketing agent.

  • A New Hampshire congresswoman requested an aisle seat so her hair would not be messed up by sitting near the window.
  • A staffer for a Kansas congressman called to request ticketing to Capetown. When the agent attempted to explain the necessary passport information and the length of the trip, the caller said, “I’m not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts.” The ticketing agent calmly replied, “Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in South Africa.’’ (Click)
  • When a senior Vermont congressman called his contact to discuss his Orlando vacation, he complained that he asked for an oceanview room and did not get it. The agent explained that Orlando is in the middle of Florida thus making an oceanview impossible. “That’s a lie,’’ shouted the congressman, “I looked at a map, and Florida is a very THIN state!’’
  • “Is it possible to see England from Canada?,’’ asked a lawmaker’s wife. When she was informed that it was not possible she answered, “But they look so close on the map.’’
  • When an aide to former HHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called and asked for a rental car, the agent noticed there was only a one hour layover in Dallas. “Why do you want a rental car?,’’ she asked. “Because I heard Dallas has a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates.’’
  • “How do I know which plane to get on?,’’ asked a freshman congressman. “I was told my flight number is 823, but none of the planes have numbers on them.’’
  • An Illinois congresswoman called to find out how her flight from Detroit could leave at 8:30 a.m. and get to Chicago at 8:33 in the morning. After attempting to explain the one hour difference in time zones with no success, the agent simpy said, “It’s a really fast plane.’’ That worked.
  • A New York representative called to ask if airlines put a physical description of a person on a bag so they could identify the luggage. When the agent replied “No’’ and asked him why he was concerned about this, the congressman answered, “Well, I checked in with the airline and they put a tag on my luggage that reads FAT. Since I am overweight, I thought that was rather rude.’’ After a little research the agent realized that airline city code for Fresno, California is FAT, for Fresno Air Terminal. Problem solved.
  • You would think an aide to Secretary of State John Kerry would know a little bit about the geography of our 50th state. But then again, when the following incident transpired, Kerry was only a senator. The aide wanted to know if it would be cheaper get to the Aloha State if Kerry just flew to California and then took the train to Hawaii.

And they just keep on coming. California Senator Dianne Feinstein called to say, “I need to fly to Pepsi Cola, Florida.’’ Then she asked if she would need to fly on one of those “little computer planes.’’

When Mary Landrieu called about documents for China she was informed that she needed her passport, of course, and a visa.

“Oh no,’’ she said, “I’ve been there four times before and every time they accepted American Express.’’

Now, of course, this could just be one of those myriad Internet e-mails that gathers momentum like a snowball in an avalanche.

These and many like them are the folks who pass confusing and largely unworkable legislation on a daily basis. Yet Jon Gruber says it is the American people who are “stupid.’’

Worst of all, those elected and appointed government officials cited above and many more like them have been known to reproduce.

On the brighter side, even would have fun checking this one out.


* Cartoon by Branco. Reprinted by permission/arrangement with which requires this link.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News; follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod


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  • Tim Kern

    With a House vote of 219-212 (34 Democrats didn’t fall for it and joined all the Republicans in opposition), we have proof that there were at least 219 stupid US Representatives; the subsequent Senate vote proved there were at least 60 like-“minded” senators, including all Democrats and both “independents.”

    Perhaps the House members weren’t “stupid.” Maybe they were merely curious, and wanted to see what was in the bill, so they passed it, trusting Nancy Pelosi. OK, never mind; trusting Pelosi is prima facie evidence of stupidity.