Ed Driscoll

Photo of the Week

Details of the above photo at National Journal:

Speaking at a library in Memphis as part of an effort to encourage healthcare sign ups in the city, Sebelius said she didn’t know where that figure came from and that the government doesn’t have “reliable enrollment figures yet.”

“I don’t pay a lot of attention to these early reports, because the system was flawed,” she said, adding that the flaws were partly because of demand. “This is month one. We’re in football season now, and this is the first quarter. A lot of folks want to declare game over. I don’t know where those figures came from, but we’ll be giving out comprehensive figures once a month.”

Those government figures, she said, would start coming out in a few weeks.

“There is nobody more frustrated with the website than I am,” she said. “We should have done better.”

She told community leaders the public needs to be reminded that the website does not function like Amazon.com, where customers are used to logging on to buy a product “like a Tickle Me Elmo doll”** before someone else gets it. In this case, Sebelius said, the service is constant and doesn’t run out.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) who invited Sebelius to the city, bristled at some of the questions she was asked, saying “Change is hard. Get over it. Barack Obama is president, and the Affordable Care Act is the law.”

In the crowd was Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey, the sponsor of a bill to block Medicaid expansion in Tennessee scheduled to be heard in January. He tried to give Sebelius a copy of the book “Websites for Dummies,” which she appeared to hold briefly.

That last sentence is a nice touch, isn’t it?

Setting aside the rather curious comparison of Obama’s signature socialized medicine bill to one of the more disreputable felt-covered boulevardiers of Sesame Street, Sebelius’ claim that the government doesn’t have “reliable enrollment figures yet” is of course, utter nonsense, as Mark Steyn told Hugh Hewitt yesterday:

The fact that the secretary declares that she doesn’t know how many enrollees there are, she knows, just at the end of the day, whether it’s Amazon knows how many books were bought at Amazon.com yesterday, Wednesday, just as I know at my own more modest operation how many books were sold at www.steynonline.com. Everybody who has a website knows that.

HH: Exactly.

MS: So when they say they don’t have the enrollees, they’re lying to us. They’re still lying.

HH: Here’s the biggest lie of all. Here’s number five, Sebelius yesterday, cut number five.

KS: They indicated to me that we would always have risk, because this system is brand new, and no one has operated a system like this before to any degree. So we always knew that there would be the possibility that some things would go wrong. No one indicated that this could possibly go this wrong.

HH: That is such a lie, Mark Steyn. You’ve been saying it for a decade. I’ve been saying it for as long as you’ve been saying it.

MS: Yeah, I mean, basically what happened is the United States government took over another G-7 economy. It basically took over the entire French economy. It swallowed it whole. So it’s the equivalent of making a website to navigate the entire French economy.

HH: Wow.

MS: That’s the scale of what they did. No one has ever attempted, you can do it if you’re the Bolsheviks in 1917 and you’re taking over a semi-feudal ramshackle country like tsarist Russia.

As the Russians liked to say in the 19th century, if only the tsar knew! Or at least his spokesman. And here’s the current spin from leftwing Time-Warner-CNN-HBO flack turned leftwing Obama flack (but I repeat myself) Jay Carney:

We’re compiling data. You can’t — you need to verify it and make it accurate. Obviously the challenges in doing that have been exacerbated by the difficulties with the website. … I suppose that somebody could provide a rough estimate, but the point is you want to get accurate information when you release it publicly. If the purpose of this line of questioning, which I know is of fierce interest to those who never wanted affordable health insurance available to the American people to begin with, is to demonstrate that those numbers are low, we concede that they will be.

But that photo above is a classic, and the perfect way for this hapless administration to end the week, start the month, and begin the countdown until next year’s midterms.