November 28, 2013

JAMES TARANTO: Susan Rice for HHS: A YouTube video caused the next ObamaCare failure.

“We’re probably heading for a turning point in the health reform discussion,” writes former Enron adviser Paul Krugman. No, he doesn’t see congressional Democrats as revolting imminently against ObamaCare. Quite the opposite: “The facts on the ground are getting better by the day, and Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.”

One is tempted to observe that if Benghazi is the standard of success, ObamaCare must be an even worse disaster than its harshest critics imagine. But that’s not Krugman’s meaning. His analogy has nothing to do with “the facts on the ground,” and it reveals more about Krugman’s values than about either Benghazi or ObamaCare.

In neither the above-quoted post nor the earlier one in which he first put forth the analogy does the erstwhile adviser make any reference to what happened at Benghazi. To him, Benghazi is purely a phenomenon of partisan politics: “The [Republican] party has convinced itself that there must be a . . . winning issue hidden in there somewhere, and that if only it keeps flogging the thing, long after the public has moved on, it will eventually score big.”

The analogy is flawed even if you accept Krugman’s amoral partisan terms. Krugman may shrug off four murdered Americans, but he can’t claim the Obama administration accomplished anything at Benghazi. The administration’s success consisted only in a propaganda effort in which a designated liar, then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, created enough confusion to neutralize the attack as a potential threat to Obama’s re-election and set the stage for the administration, at least so far, to evade accountability (though Rice herself perhaps paid the price of not being nominated secretary of state, a position requiring Senate confirmation).

Well, maybe Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should swap jobs with Rice, who could then be sent out to blame ObamaCare’s failure on a YouTube video.

You may think that’s a joke, but even our wit isn’t always quick enough to keep up with this crowd. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and Organizing for Action, the nonprofit organization that sells access to the president, has produced a YouTube video titled “Health Care for the Holidays.” The completely functional OFA website urges Obama supporters to spend the holidays urging their kin to buy ObamaCare insurance.

In all but a handful of states, of course, that’s not even possible, given the failure of HHS and some states even to build functional exchanges.

It’s Potemkin villages all the way down.