Step 1: Fire Kath­leen Se­be­lius

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Imag­ine you’re on a jet, fly­ing to Los An­ge­les. You look out the win­dow to see the en­gine on fire. In fact, the en­tire wing is ablaze. In full panic, you look up the aisle to the cock­pit door. There, you see the pi­lot pulling on a para­chute.

“Sorry folks, not my prob­lem,” he says, and leaps out the door.

That’s Kath­leen Se­be­lius. Amid the Oba­macare web­site melt­down, KS has been any­where but at the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices she runs, fix­ing the dis­as­trous Oba­macare web­site she cre­ated.

First, she went to a gala in Bos­ton in­stead of tes­ti­fy­ing about the de­ba­cle be­fore Capi­tol Hill law­mak­ers. Then she jet­ted off to Phoenix to as­sure Amer­ica that she was work­ing “24/7” to get her $634 mil­lion web­site up and run­ning. (She didn’t say how she was man­ag­ing that from 2,500 miles away.)

Amid calls for her ouster, Queen Seeb then flew over fly­over coun­try to para­chute into — Austin, Texas, of all places. There, she high­lighted the many ways “Tex­ans can learn about the health insurance mar­ket­place.”

“Sign up,” she said. “Don’t be­lieve what you’ve heard. Just check it out, look at the prices, look at the plans.” Well, not on the web­site, of course, but fax us and we’ll shoot a mes­sage to your pager.

And about those calls for her res­ig­na­tion: “The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple call­ing for me to re­sign,” she said, “I would say are peo­ple who I don’t work for.”

Such an odd thing to say: Imag­ine Harry S. Tru­man say­ing, “The buck stops here — ex­cept for peo­ple I don’t work for.”

Mean­while, Seebs went out of her way to say that Pres­i­dent Obama had no idea — not an inkling — of just how bad the web­site was be­fore it launched. This is an ac­tual quote: “I think that we talked about hav­ing test­ing go­ing for­ward, and if we had an ideal sit­u­a­tion and could have built a prod­uct and, you know, a five-year pe­riod of time, we prob­a­bly would have taken five years, but we didn’t have five years.”

Five years to set up a web­site? Ab­surd. But the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­tu­ally had 3 1⁄2 years to build the site, and still it has been a mess.

While the sec­re­tary is say­ing the pa­thetic de­but was not her fault — and it cer­tainly wasn’t the fault of her boss, the pres­i­dent — the stellar main­stream me­dia has so far failed to ask the one im­por­tant ques­tion: “Uh, then whose fault was it?” Any­one? Bueller?

Still, House Repub­li­cans are de­mand­ing some­thing in­sane — ac­count­abil­ity. “The scope of the prob­lem is so great that, were this a pri­vate com­pany or mil­i­tary com­mand, the CEO or gen­eral would have been fired,” a group of law­mak­ers wrote to the pres­i­dent. “We are, there­fore, call­ing on you to hold Sec­re­tary Se­be­lius ac­count­able for the fi­asco that is Health­ and ask for her res­ig­na­tion.”

Ac­tu­ally, a com­pany that dropped $634 mil­lion to cre­ate a woe­fully in­ad­e­quate web­site would just go bank­rupt — as it should. Ev­ery­one would get fired, with­out a sev­er­ance pack­age.

But never fear, Sen. Al Franken says that the web­site is “im­prov­ing ev­ery day.” Even though the one-time co­me­dian said that with a straight face, he surely had all around him ROFL.

Yet one se­na­tor is threat­en­ing to sub­poena the sec­re­tary on Mon­day if she con­tin­ues to stonewall his com­mit­tee’s probe of the roll­out de­ba­cle. This isn’t over, not by a long shot, and Congress is about to get all up in Seeb’s bid­ness.

For her part, Seebs com­pared the web­site roll­out to a foot­ball game. “It’s early in the first quar­ter,” she said. True, but you’re al­ready down 74-0. And you’re quar­ter­back is RGIII, with three bad knees.

Most spec­tac­u­lar, of course, is that nei­ther the pres­i­dent nor his sec­re­tary will have to deal with Oba­macare at all. As one of the few in Amer­ica who will get to keep her pol­icy, she said, “I have not tried sign­ing up, be­cause I have insurance.” Nice for you. Oh, and let us, the tax­payer, pay most of your premi­ums.

De­spite the ob­fus­ca­tion and stonewalling, Mrs. Se­be­lius will, at some point, be forced to ex­plain to Congress, which has over­sight of all fed­eral pro­grams, what went wrong and why. But for all those who ac­tu­ally be­lieved Oba­macare was go­ing to be won­der­ful: Did any­one re­ally think the gov­ern­ment could take over and re­or­ga­nize one-sixth of the U.S. econ­omy when it couldn’t even run a Cash for Clunkers pro­gram?

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times and is now ed­i­tor of the Drudge Re­port. He can be reached at and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.

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