December 5, 2013

JAMES TARANTO: The Time Thief: Obama steals past the Nov. 30 deadline.

NBC’s Michael O’Brien had some fun yesterday paraphrasing President Obama’s latest infliction on the ears of America: “Obama said his signature health care reform law is going nowhere as long as he’s in office.”

“Going nowhere” could mean either “here to stay” or “unable to progress.” A look at the text of the president’s remarks makes clear, as if you have any doubt, that he means it in the former sense: “We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president, and I want everybody to be clear about that. . . . We’re not going to walk away from it.” I’m not a crook. I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

At least in the very short term, he appears to be right. National Journal reports that although “House Democrats are hardly ready to pop the champagne for HealthCare.gov . . . tensions eased Tuesday after White House officials briefed them on the site’s progress.” Party leaders “said they were ‘pleased’ with improvements in the site’s user experience, and declared that they were back on offense over the Affordable Care Act.”

The Nov. 30 deadline was followed by a spate of news stories, editorials and columns attesting that the “website”–which, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg that is ObamaCare’s computer system–had been “fixed,” or at least “improved.” The former is plainly not true; even the latter, highly dubious.

Charles Ornstein of ProPublica.org watched “a glowing news conference” Sunday, and on Monday “decided to log . . . and take the Web site for a test drive.” It wasn’t going anywhere: Ornstein experienced “long delays loading pages, an endless circle of tasks (some already completed) and ultimately an error message.” He supplies screen shots and a transcript of a live-chat help session that goes on for nine minutes before a customer-service rep called “Kassie” tells him to try back later. When he does, “I couldn’t even log on.”

It’s Potemkin villages all the way down.

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