During the Bush 43 administration, leading lights on the left arrogantly christened themselves “the reality based community.”
Many of the same people who claimed at the time to base their assertions and beliefs “more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology” have hysterically concocted reasons why HealthCare.gov, surely in size and scope the most disastrously incompetent website rollout ever, cannot possibly be more than partially the Obama administration’s fault. Other nefarious people and shadowy forces, particularly Republicans and conservatives, who in reality “didn’t cast a single vote in favor of the ACA and had no control over its 42-month rollout,” somehow deserve the lion’s share of the blame.
On Thursday, the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein promulgated perhaps the longest list of ways Republicans did “everything possible to sabotage” Obamacare. He considers them hypocrites for criticizing the HealthCare.gov debacle, and believes that “their plan to undermine the law worked too well.”
As he blathers on about this non-existent conspiracy, one thing about which Klein can claim legitimate expertise is in orchestrating one.
In 2008, he founded Journolist, a private and intensely secretive Google Groups forum of 400 left-leaning journalists he coordinated from his blog perches, first at the far-left American Prospect and then, beginning in May 2009, at the Post.
In April 2008, Journolist participants were infuriated with reasonable questions raised by Hillary Clinton herself, as well as ABC’s Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, at a presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mrs. Clinton about the degree of Obama’s philosophical kinship with his longtime pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright. In reaction, making it appear as if they had each spontaneously developed a case of instant outrage, they drafted an open letter calling the debate “a revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross disservice to Americans concerned about the great issues facing the nation and the world.”
The letter and subsequent internal Journolist discussions demanding that group members ignore all matters pertaining to Wright succeeded in killing virtually all subsequent establishment press coverage of Obama and Wright. Combined with Republican opponent John McCain’s decision, clearly in reaction to the enforced silence, to avoid the topic in the vain hope that he might end up being liked by people who would despise him no matter what he did, their conspiracy succeeded in removing an objectively important issue from the fall presidential campaign.
How can anyone, given the administration’s blatant attempts at race-based wealth redistribution and its disastrous foreign policy, still believe that the Obama’s 16-year rendezvous with Wright was an irrelevant matter?
Three weeks into October, Klein apparently felt the need to mend fences with long-time Democratic Party operatives, Democrat officeholders, and the left’s vast fever swamp after publishing several items severely critical of HealthCare.gov’s rollout earlier in the month. He has particularly emphasized the website’s back-end failure to integrate properly, or even at all, with insurance companies processing the trickle of applications which have made it through the gauntlet of HealthCare.gov’s system timeouts and crashes. A fiasco which will make the website’s access and front-end processing issues pale in comparison looms if those back-end integration problems aren’t resolved.
Klein claimed that the following items are germane to the HealthCare.gov’s calamity:
- Republicans “refused to appropriate the money the Department of Health and Human Services said it needed to properly implement Obamacare.” That’s a howler. For all practical purposes, HHS has had an unlimited budget for Obamacare implementation, and has exceeded what even its most critical detractors imagined it could throw away. Peter Gosselin, a senior health care analyst at Bloomberg Government who was former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s speechwriter (i.e., certainly not the left’s definition of a crazed conservative critic), estimates that HHS has thus far managed to spend or commit to spending over $1 billion on Affordable Care Act-related projects to just its top ten outside vendors. Just wait until the “tech surge” costs get added in. Yet clowns like MSNBC’s Ed Schultz blame Republicans for forcing HHS to build HealthCare.gov “on the cheap.”
- Senate Republicans “tried to intimidate Sebelius out of using existing HHS funds to implement Obamacare.” They tried, Ezra. They failed. They had no impact.
- Many Republican governors “refused to build (their own state exchanges), leaving the construction of 34 insurance marketplaces up to HHS.” HHS knew that it would have to support at least several states from the get-go. Adding more states to the mix would predominantly add only additional hardware to the cost of building a properly designed website.
- Republican attorneys general who challenged Obamacare’s constitutionality “stalled implementation as government and industry waited for the uncertainty to resolve.” Sebelius’s people were hard at work creating their disaster long before the Supreme Court’s errant June 2012 ruling, and the 15 months which remained before the October 1, 2013 rollout should have been more than enough time to get it right anyway. The Supreme Court decision also had nothing to do with HHS’s exercises in waiver-granting or its arguably illegal decision to delay the employer mandate for a year.
- Finally, Republicans “literally shut down the government because they refused to pass a funding bill that contained money for Obamacare.” The truth is that the defunding idea, though constitutionally valid, was rejected by congressional Republicans and replaced with an ultimately failed demand for a one-year delay in the individual mandate even before the 17 percent shutdown began. The timely funding of Obamacare was thus never threatened.
Here is a very short and far from complete list of things with which Republicans, conservatives, tea party members, and the Koch brothers have had absolutely no involvement:
- About 16 million Americans losing health coverage President Obama promised they could keep.
- The crony hiring of a lead firm on the project whose senior vice president “just so happens” to have been a classmate of First Lady Michelle Obama at Princeton.
- A website implementation which, according to Media Temple’s Russ Reeder in a Saturday evening Fox News interview with Judge Jeanine Pirro, was stacked with newbies just out of college.
- “Glitches” which have affected Obamacare paper and phone applications — which unfortunately makes sense, because they all have to be processed through HealthCare.gov’s faulty, clogged architecture.
- Obamacare navigators who are breathtakingly ignorant or have criminal records.
- An imminent electronic medical records implementation disaster which will turn routine medical services into bureaucratic, intrusive and error-prone nightmares.
The reality-avoidance community simply refuses to recognize that Obamacare’s failed implementation is a direct result of presidential detachment, Sebelius’s proven track record of government website management incompetence, and an atmosphere of paranoia and intimidation the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime.
Sorry, lefties. This one’s all on you, and only your desperate ilk will buy what you’re trying to sell.