Ed Driscoll

'Mr. President, Tear Down This Website!'

And thus, a rallying cry is born, courtesy of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), writing at Big Government, appropriately enough:

And when Lisa Martinson of Missouri called Healthcare.gov’s customer service after forgetting her password, she was told three different people were given access to her account, address and social security number.

Aside from technological vulnerabilities, it turns out that federal employees—called navigators—who help users apply for insurance on the Healthcare.gov website have not received background checks. Yet they are able to access the personal information of thousands of people.

These threats to Americans’ well-being and financial security should make us question the future of Obamacare. Perhaps it is time to take Obamacare off of life support. Americans deserve a healthcare system that works and that they can trust.

The Obama administration has a responsibility to ensure that the personal and financial data collected by the government is secure. It is clear that is not the case today. In their haste to launch Healthcare.gov, it appears the administration cut corners that leave the site open to hackers and other online criminals.

Given the distressing testimony we heard at the Science Committee’s hearing about Healthcare.gov, there is only one reasonable course of action. Mr. President, take down this website.

See, that’s the problem right there, the president might respond — Republican just don’t believe sufficiently in Obamacare — and you know what happens when you don’t believe enough in a government project, right?

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Ed Morrissey dubs this latest in a long line of magical thinking from the president, the “Tinkerbell” excuse:

Call this the Tinkerbell Argument — the notion that ObamaCare’s failures can be partly blamed on a failure to applaud it enthusiastically enough.  The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 with no Republican votes, but with its own funding mechanisms thanks to a myriad of taxes applied immediately. The Obama administration had more than three years to focus on delivery without any GOP interference in the executive branch, which it spent promulgating regulation like the contraception mandate rather than developing a web portal that worked. Republicans couldn’t manage to defund any of the ACA efforts even after winning control of the House.

But it’s Republicans rooting against the law that created the failures in his administration, Obama insisted yesterday:

Obama said that fixes to the HealthCare.gov Web portal are underway and that the exchange will function for a majority of people by the end of November. But the president said staunch opposition from congressional Republicans is inhibiting the law’s implementation.

“One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure,” Obama said at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting in Washington. “We obviously are going to have to remarket and rebrand, and that will be challenging in this political environment.”

Both of these are nonsense arguments.  Opposition to the law on Capitol Hill has zero substantive impact on the ACA; it’s merely rhetorical, and it’s being proven prescient by the White House’ performance.  It hasn’t impacted funding or development in any significant sense at all. Democrats have had full control over the implementation of ObamaCare, and have full responsibility for its outcomes.

Furthermore, the idea that the only problems facing HHS and the White House are marketing and branding is nothing short of breathtakingly obtuse.  Millions of people have lost coverage that they preferred, and will have to pay higher premiums and deductibles for coverage they didn’t choose.  The website, as the Post notes in the same article, turns out to be only 60% or so complete when the administration insisted all year long that it was ready to roll out on time.

That’s always the rallying cry, isn’t it, when a socialist program doesn’t work — it must be rebranded! We need new marketing! Socialist utopia can never be in doubt, despite its never actually arriving. (See also socialists first calling themselves “Progressives,” then “Liberals” then back to “Progressives” again as each name becomes tainted with failure. Rebrand!) Or as Kevin D. Williamson wrote in 2010’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism:

The central planners, of course, have no incentive to admit that their powers to act rationally are limited. When THE PLAN fails—as THE PLAN ultimately must fail, being based on faulty and inadequate information—the planners invariably attempt to force society to conform to their plan, rather than reform their plan to conform to society. In truth, they cannot reform their plans to conform to society’s actual needs, because they do not know what those needs are and have no way of finding out.

Exit quote, from Obama’s meeting with Wall Street fundraisers yesterday, his reason for avoiding speaking at Gettysburg:

In a lighter moment, Obama noted that some people call him a socialist, and he said to laughter his accusers need to get out into the world more.

You’ve got to meet real socialists to know what a real socialist is,” he said

Ahhhh, you sure you want to go with that one? Final answer? Where can we meet some of these socialists, perhaps “in the neighborhood”?

Hey, nice try Mr. President — there are lots of different types of socialists, ranging from the British Fabian Socialists to Germany’s National Socialists to the late Hugo Chavez. No jackboots required — if you’re arguing for central planning, guess what…you’re a socialist!

Which brings us right back to Rep. Smith’s rallying cry at the beginning of this post: Mr. President, tear down this Website.

Update: “I’ve met real socialists and they sound like this:”

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