Friday, October 25, 2013
Did Obama win the battle only to lose the war?
Janet Daley has some good points below but what she overlooks is that the shutdown should have SEARED into everybody's mind that the GOP fought tooth and nail against Obamacare. And as Obamacare implodes, the GOP should get some credit for being right and the Donks should get the blame that they deserve. But then again:
One hesitates to ascribe too much credit to Boehner & Co. but it could be that an awareness of how quicky Obamacare was crumbling lay behind abandonment of the shutdown -- JR
There is now virtually no one in Washington who does not believe that Barack Obama's army won the Battle of the Shutdown. The Republicans took a big hit in the opinion polls and their Tea Party faction was particularly reviled for its bloody-minded insistence on demanding the delay of Obamacare as the price for allowing the federal government to function. That was then.
This is now. That flagship policy on which the White House refused to accept any delay or conscientious doubt is turning into a political car crash for the administration. So hopelessly unfit for purpose is the website which was supposed to be the portal to a new reformed healthcare future, that it has permitted only a trickle of users to enroll in the brave new venture of universal health insurance. This might have been excused as an early-days teething problem if the White House had not been so vindictively adamant about its refusal to consider any deferment of the rollout. Having insisted that there could be absolutely no relenting on the date of launch of what proved to be an untested, faulty system, makes them look as if they were putting political gamesmanship above responsibility to the citizen.
In fact, the scale of the inadequacy of this programme is raising a pantheon of criticisms of the entire principle on which it is based which could have real long-term consequences for the credibility Obama's policy. Is is right that the federal government should be operating such an enormous universal programme? Is the premise on which it relies – that young, healthy people can be coerced into sharing the health insurance burden against their inclinations – even viable? Is this bizarre mix of state enforcement and private provision in which people are made to buy a product they do not want under threat of legal penalty, the right answer to the problem of escalating American healthcare costs? Even the Obama loyalists in the media and the Leftwing satirists are having a rip-roaring time tearing into the disaster of the Obamacare launch.
So how is this for irony? Now that the Republicans' "shutdown" farrago is over, the delay that they were demanding in the Obamacare programme might become necessary after all. And now that everyone is forgetting about the politically disastrous attempt to undermine it, the president's radical healthcare reform might collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.
Rollout Was Bad, but the Law Is Worse
Barack Obama had just the solution to the train-wreck rollout of Healthcare.gov: He gave a speech. He assured us Monday in the Rose Garden that "nobody's more frustrated by that than I am" about his own website not working. Small comfort. "There's no excuse for the problems," he said. "There's no sugarcoating it." He had, of course, just spent 10 minutes trying to sugarcoat it and would continue to do so for the remainder of his lengthy remarks. In fact, the president spent 30 minutes not explaining what happened or why.
Not to worry, though, there's good news: "The product is good," he says, and even though the website doesn't work, people "can still buy the same quality affordable insurance plans available on the marketplace the old-fashioned way, offline -- either over the phone or in person." So he gave an 800-number to call, but, if callers didn't get a busy signal, they were redirected to ... the website. And the website refers people to the phone number. Press "3" for the Pony Express.
The speech was certainly little more than an infomercial intended for low-info voters. Obama was flanked by a baker's dozen people out of whom only a couple had successfully signed up for coverage, though he claimed, "Thousands of people are signing up and saving money as we speak." No, that was actually just one guy in Iowa trying a hundred times. And by all means, let the successful few tell us how much they've "saved."
Obama's magnetic personality isn't going to fix the law's implementation just because he says the law is great. Because of the massive failure, the White House is even seemingly open to more delay while a "tech surge" works to rewrite millions of lines of code in some indeterminate time. How many more millions of dollars will that cost?
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that the site had "almost no testing" -- the consumer end wasn't tested fully until Sept. 26, five days before rollout, and it failed those tests -- and that Obama didn't know of the problems until after the rollout. Republicans calling for Sebelius' resignation, however, are missing the point: To suggest she should be held responsible for the Healthcare.gov debacle implies that a better HHS Secretary might have made it work. Fact is, the failure of the rollout is but a metaphor for the reality that no government bureaucracy is ever going to successfully manage 18% of the U.S. economy, much less a basic commerce website for insurance comparisons.
Obama did say one thing Monday that was more true than he perhaps intended: "The Affordable Care Act is not just a website." Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal notes, ObamaCare's "real goal ... is to centralize political control over health care," and conservatives should keep that in mind as we continue to oppose the law and Democrats are saddled with full ownership of health care.
About 4 hours ago, I tried to log on (from Australia) to healthcare.gov. I did get on but after a couple of steps, this is what I got:
The System is down at the moment.
We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Please try again later.
Please include the reference ID below if you wish to contact us at 1-800-318-2596 for support.
Error from: https%3A//www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/global/en_US/registration%23signUpStepOne
Reference ID: 0.cd7755b8.1382607921.61cbcc.238110
Impressive, no? JR
Interpol Chief: Fight Terrorism With Armed Citizens
In September, terrorists waged a days-long attack on a Kenyan mall, killing dozens. This week, Ronald Noble, secretary general of the international policing agency Interpol, discussed the problem of “soft targets,” using the mall as an example. “Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem,” he said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”
But here's where we did a double take: “Ask yourself,” he added, “If that [mall attack] was Denver, Colorado, if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly? What I'm saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, 'Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?' This is something that has to be discussed.”
Fortunately, there were a couple of armed citizens who took action in Nairobi, saving many lives. But for a European bureaucrat to understand something that the American Left vociferously opposes is really something. Armed citizens can't always prevent attacks, but they can at least be equipped to respond to evil. Our Founders certainly understood that national security begins with armed citizens. That's why they codified that God-given right in the Second Amendment.
What Isn't Racist? According to the Media, Nothing
President Obama's election was supposed to usher in an era of racial unity greater than any Americans had previously experienced. By making the historic move to place the first black president in the White House, Americans signified that they were ready to move beyond the racial conflicts of the past and move forward, arm-in-arm.
At least that's what we were told. So much for that.
In the last two weeks, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, official hot-air-trial balloon for the Obama administration's public relations strategy, has played the race card incessantly. First, he proclaimed that Republican New Jersey senatorial candidate Steve Lonegan was using a racist "dog whistle" when he stated that Cory Booker's Newark was a "black hole" for state tax funds. Then, Matthews said that tea partiers using the word "we the people" to describe the country signified racism, since not everyone agrees with the tea party program. Then, to top it all off, Matthews declared Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is of Cuban descent, a racist for joking upon his return to Texas, "Gee, it's great to be back in America." That led Matthews into this wild rant: "This 'We're Americans, we white people out here in Texas, as opposed to people who live in the big cities: the ethnics, the blacks, the browns. Those people in Washington, those liberals, they're not Americans.' This guy either has a total lack of understanding of American history and the hell we went through in the McCarthy period or he knows it damn well and is playing that card."
Matthews has not been strapped into the straitjacket yet, but he's getting close.
Meanwhile, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., went further than Matthews, declaring that the tea party was akin to the Ku Klux Klan. He put out a flyer to his constituents with a burning cross in place of the "t" in the word "tea." The flyer stated, "The Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan." When called on to disown this race-baiting trash, Grayson instead doubled down, stating, "there is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the shoe fits, wear it." Grayson did not explain why the KKK was a group that voted unanimously Democrat, why progressive hero Woodrow Wilson was a huge fan of the KKK, and why KKK former honcho Robert Byrd was treasured by the Democratic Party until the day he died.
Charges of racism have echoed from nearly every left-leaning mouth of late. Opposition to Obamacare: racist. Opposition to President Obama on the shutdown: racist. Don't like the president's tie-shirt combination? Racist.
This is not what Americans were promised. What's worse, it's un-American drivel. Ascribing racial motives to those who have none has become a near pathological condition among those on the left who cannot come to terms that their beloved leader's second term is a policy disaster. Racism is the last bullet in the leftist arsenal. And they're running out of ammo quickly.
Greece: State funding cut off to Golden Dawn party: "Greek lawmakers voted to cut off state funding to the far-right Golden Dawn party early on Wednesday, the latest effort by the government to clamp down on a party it has branded a 'neo-Nazi criminal gang.' Golden Dawn had steadily risen on the back of an anti-austerity and anti-immigrant agenda to become Greece's third-most popular party, until the killing of a left-wing rapper by a party supporter last month triggered the government crackdown."
Fascism in WA: "An elderly woman has turned down the City of Seattle's offer to purchase her prime, waterfront parking lot. So, what does the city do? The Seattle City Council voted 8 to 0 to acquire 'through negotiation or condemnation' the waterfront parking lot that belongs to a 103-year-old Spokane woman."
Germany: Vatican suspends “bishop of bling”: "The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the 'bishop of bling' by the media over his alleged lavish spending. Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is accused of spending more than 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on renovating his official residence. The Vatican said it deemed 'appropriate ... a period of leave from the diocese' for the bishop. The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter."
Obamacare’s real kink: Fuzzy math: "At an event on Monday to boost the Affordable Care Act after its glitch-rich rollout, President Obama asserted that his signature healthcare plan is a hit because 'prices have come down.' That's the administration's big lie: that Washington can mandate universal healthcare with beefed-up benefits and somehow the plan will save everyone money."
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Posted by JR at 1:36 AM