Step 1: Fire Kathleen Sebelius
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 HealthCare.gov 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.