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Why Obama Should Keep Sebelius

The pots and pans are clanging for the ouster of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the Obamacare website rollout takes on the aspect of that of the Edsel.

Yet, though it is a website that has America laughing, Obama’s legacy legislation itself could, in its entirety, be in peril. As ex-pilot George W. Bush used to say, this thing looks like a five-spiral crash.

Republicans are clamoring for Sebelius’s firing.

Herewith, a dissent. Why not leave her right where she is?

After all, Sebelius’s continuance testifies more eloquently than any attack ad just how far Obama’s beliefs about government and political philosophy are beyond the Middle American mainstream.

In most great U.S. corporations, if an executive had three years to roll out the product on which the company’s future might depend, and delivered this debacle, he would be gone. Panic would ensue. Emergency meetings of the board would be held to determine if more heads should roll and who should be brought in to save the company.

Outside of government, people routinely pay for their mistakes. Inside, there is often no penalty, no price, no punishment for failure.

To Obama, a mess that has members of his own party calling for suspending Obamacare for a year is just the result of “glitches.”

Still good enough for government work.

Here in D.C., many live outside the laws that rule the rest of America. Average salaries are higher and benefits superior to the private sector. Job security is greater. In-grade promotions and pay hikes are routine. And that ruthless meritocratic principle—success brings promotions, failure leads to demotions and departure—is suspended.

While no startup company, symphony orchestra, chess club, or hockey team would, a priori, insist that every racial and ethnic group, gender and sexual preference be represented at birth, such nonsense is serious business here.

Here in D.C., affirmative action comes first, before excellence, diversity before efficiency.

How else did Obama himself soar from Hawaii’s “Choom Gang” through Columbia, Harvard, and Harvard Law? By busting his chops for years in the library?

Sebelius remains at her post despite manifest incompetence for reasons both ideological and political. She is a pro-choice Catholic, a feminist, an early Obamaite, a crony of the president, an apparatchik of the Party of Government. She is a queen in Obamaland.

Like many of his generation, Obama himself is a skilled verbalist. He talks and reads teleprompter well. As for executive, managerial, and operational skills, however, upon what ground would he stand to dismiss Sebelius?

He was himself clueless as to the extent and severity of the problems in his signature legislation. Two weeks after the Benghazi massacre, he was still parroting the Susan Rice line about anti-Islamic videos, which the CIA knew within hours had had nothing to do with the murder of Ambassador Stevens.

Obama had no idea for three years his IRS might be slow-walking Tea Party applications for tax exemptions. He wasn’t in the loop about Eric Holder’s phone taps on Fox News or the Associated Press.

Nobody told him. The president has not been more deeply implicated in the scandals since re-election because he could credibly say, “How was I supposed to know what was going on?”

Today, more than ever, America’s private and public sectors run on separate rails by different rules. Liberal Democrats own the public sector. Washington, D.C., where the federal and the local government provide the lion’s share of the jobs, has never once gone Republican.

In 2008, D.C. went for Obama 93-6. The town belongs to the regime. Yet, when Washington needs something vital done, the city bypasses its stagnant bureaucracy and goes outside—to private enterprise and private contractors.

Yet, though millions of Americans outside government do the jobs that government needs done and is manifestly incompetent to do, the state remains a virtual object of worship.

The left see the state as the people, the nation, incarnate. To them, it is us. In the secularized society in which we live, government is now, to many, not only next to God. Government is God.

Again, Republicans might do well to get out of the way so the people can see the clay feet and start to laugh at the buffoons, the God that failed.

Even the Obama-worshipers in the media seem stunned by the depth and breadth of incompetence exposed.

In World War II, FDR brought together the men who made things in America, dollar-a-year industrialists who swiftly took charge and met his immediate demand for 50,000 planes and 1,600 ships.

They built the most awesome military machine the world had ever seen, arming 12 million Americans, Russia, and England as well, and smashing two mighty empires on opposite sides of the world.

And these men did it in about as long a time as it took Barack Obama’s regime, captained by Kathleen Sebelius, to flunk a test to create a website. There is something deeply wrong with our republic.

Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? [1]” Copyright 2013 Creators.com [2].

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#1 Comment By Austin Rebreh On October 25, 2013 @ 12:31 am

“How else did Obama himself soar from Hawaii’s “Choom Gang” through Columbia, Harvard, and Harvard Law? By busting his chops for years in the library?”

A few points.

1. Suppose that racial quotas did help Obama get into these institutions. How is it any worse than George W. Bush, a mediocre student, getting into Harvard because of his Dad’s influence? Rich kids get into good schools all the time because of their wealth but no one calls this affirmative action

2. The last three presidents have been in a “choom gang.”

3. There are plenty of intelligent people who I know that went to good colleges and spent a lot of time with the green.

#2 Comment By df On October 25, 2013 @ 12:34 am

“In most great U.S. corporations, if an executive had three years to roll out the product on which the company’s future might depend, and delivered this debacle, he would be gone”

Pat, how many corporations have you worked for? The offending CEO might be gone, MIGHT, but he would get a humongous severance package that makes the screw-up very lucrative.

BTW, it you are in the financial industry, you can mess up royally and all would be honky-dory.

#3 Comment By df On October 25, 2013 @ 12:42 am

And another note, the Obamacare registration is having big problems in the states that refused to run their own exchanges.

In state-run exchanges, registration is going far better.

#4 Comment By spite On October 25, 2013 @ 2:54 am

I agree with what Buchanan is saying here, but conservatives cannot point fingers at government incompetence when liberals throw back valid arguments like that mega waste F22 project. If one truly wants to tackle leviathan then one must be consistent, if we say that government has grown too much yet does not want to include ones own pet government project in that list (military contracts, farm subsidies, bank bailouts etc.), how is that ever going to change ?

#5 Comment By Puller58 On October 25, 2013 @ 6:20 am

The common parlor game of calling for the resignation of people in glorified talking head Cabinet level positions is tiresome. The policy does not change even if the person does, so this tired game needs to be retired.

#6 Comment By Michael N Moore On October 25, 2013 @ 6:27 am

Actually, this situation is emblematic of our time – the low tech CEO buying a bill of goods from the techies and the tech contractors. It is Dilbert’s world, we just live in it.

#7 Comment By Jim Blackwell On October 25, 2013 @ 7:17 am

Very good opinion piece and I agree with everything you wrote. The really sad part for tax-payers about this Obamacare boondoggle is that so far the government has spent close to $500 million dollars and wasted three years of what should have been productive time to roll out a success instead of what in essence has become a gigantic failure. And Obama and his minion’s now state in a most unequivocal manner that they will get it – fixed. Getting it fixed obviously means pouring more and more hard-earned tax-payer supplied largess (no matter how much it costs) into the mess to cobble something together that might work. Also waiting down-stream is the total cost of Obamacare itself over the next decade. The price-tag for that will be staggering and will completely surpass by trillions of dollars the original and updated cost estimates put out by the CBO. To coin a Hillary Clinton tag line at this time — “what difference does it make” to fire one high-level apparatchik (Sebelius) inside the Obama administration? And thus make her the fall-person for the entire onerous public policy mess called Obamacare which when fully implemented will dominate about 18% of the entire U.S. economy while wreaking havoc on health care delivery service for millions of Americans. Conservative populists have been right about this thing called Obamacare from the very beginning. It should have been defunded (really no chance of that happening) or at a minimum delayed until it was supposedly ready for prime time. Ted Cruz recently returned to his home state of Texas and got an eight minute standing ovation from grass roots activists inside the conservative populist movement. I dare say if an establishment elite Republican attended the same meeting the silence would be deafening. Now who is in touch with main-street Americans in red-state USA, and who isn’t?

#8 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 25, 2013 @ 7:50 am

“In most great U.S. corporations, if an executive had three years to roll out the product on which the company’s future might depend, and delivered this debacle, he would be gone. Panic would ensue. Emergency meetings of the board would be held to determine if more heads should roll and who should be brought in to save the company”

You know there was a time when I would agree about the corporate world. But I am not sure that is the case any longer. And perhaps, my view is so myopic that I missing the real private sector.

But in light of what has been going on in the corporate financial world — it seems unlikely accountability is being fostered any better in that community than in government. After cries of global financial payoff —-

the very same paid bonuses promoted — hired by the federal government — the executive no less after claiming to clean up the place.

I am sorry I juts don’t buy it. Having been cloaked as undesirable by the same so as to be maligned by the mere mention of my name —

Any sense of corporate integrity in any arena — just leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

Mr. Dreher just introduced a section on linkedin. Imagine my shock and disappointment when I saw the current occupant’s face as a major influencer —

It’s just sickening to me — and darn near debilitating. I am even going to cancel any dealings with anyone in connection to this admin. If I starver. I just starve.

#9 Comment By mohammad On October 25, 2013 @ 7:58 am

Pat is completely right here, except in one crucial point: it is not only democrats and liberals who see government as God, the republicans see the same when the government is theirs. Obama-ites are on average more open to the criticism of Obama than Bush-ites were in the time of Bush. If the critics of Obama are labeled to easily as bigots, the critics of Bush were considered too easily to be anti-American. Boy, they wanted to change the name of “French fries” to “Freedom fries” just because the French didn’t follow Americans into Iraq pitfall. Talk about seeing government as God! A lack of efficiency is also something which is not the liberals’ turf only.

Pat would do a great service to himself and his readers if he rid himself completely of partisan politics. Whatever the republicans were 30 years ago does not matter. Today they are a bunch as stupid, as hypocritical, and as ideological as democrats, sometimes worse.

#10 Comment By tz On October 25, 2013 @ 8:27 am

The industrialists are offshore. What is left here are the TARP bailout banksters (how many were not paid their billion bonuses?), and places like Solyndra. Or the ethanol producers.

There is so little left of the truly private sector that it is too little to fail.

Or the CEO who almost destroyed Home Depot or just recently, Elop that gutted Nokia and was paid $25 million.

Note congress isn’t calling for the heads of the NSA liars.

#11 Comment By JP2 On October 25, 2013 @ 8:42 am

Well said. Given that we cannot legislate competence, how do we more effectively hold our elected officials and their appointees accountable? It seems that this is an opportunity for a political party to distinguish itself. Sadly for voters, both major parties love the DC cronyism, so where are the agents of change?

#12 Comment By Annek On October 25, 2013 @ 10:05 am

“Here in D.C., affirmative action comes first, before excellence, diversity before efficiency.”

Unfortunately, this also sums up many of the problems with the public schools in our country, at least those in large metropolitan school districts.

#13 Comment By Scott in PA On October 25, 2013 @ 10:23 am

Another reason to retain Sebelius is that there is absolutely no expectation that her replacement would be any less incompetent or clueless.

Expertise and competence are not radical Democratic values. It only matters what group you belong to and whether you are “in” for the fight against traditional America.

#14 Comment By Henri James On October 25, 2013 @ 10:46 am

A government website to coordinate the sale of health insurance across America is extremely buggy in the first months of its existence = There is something deeply wrong with our republic?

Not sure if trolling or not.

#15 Comment By Johan On October 25, 2013 @ 11:15 am

If Republicans had possessed wisdom and patience, they would have sat back and taken the odds that the website rollout (like so many government programs) would founder. Then they could have stepped in, with credibility, and try to propose an alternative. Instead, they went all kamikaze and tried to shut down the government and crash the world economy. They failed (fortunately) and they also ruined their own trustworthiness. Lack of wisdom and patience is the root of all kinds of failure.

#16 Comment By A DC Wonk On October 25, 2013 @ 11:49 am

In most great U.S. corporations, if an executive had three years to roll out the product on which the company’s future might depend, and delivered this debacle, he would be gone. Panic would ensue. Emergency meetings of the board would be held to determine if more heads should roll and who should be brought in to save the company.

Uhh, I’ve seen lots of roll outs of tech-stuff that were disasters, too. (How many “emergency patches” of Windows?) Windows Vista, anyone? Or Steve Jobs telling consumers that a little duct tape will fix the problem of poor reception for one of the iPhone 4’s? Microsofts purchase of WebTV, then scrapping it? “New Coke”?

The Apple Lisa? The Apple Pippen? Or just last year: Apple Maps?

Heads did not roll at Apple.

#17 Comment By hetzer On October 25, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

The problem with this is that in corporate America, if an executive screws up, they are paid millions of dollars and given an opportunity to screw up the next company. From the perspective of an executive, that’s even better than just never being fired for incompetence.

The average Joe is laid off when the executive screws up.

#18 Comment By Clint On October 25, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

Obamacare appears to be a negative for the 2014 Elections, for those in Congress,who attempted to foist it on Americans.

#19 Comment By mrscracker On October 25, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

Do you think Obamacare was genuinely meant to succeed in the first place ? I’m suspecting the real long range plan is for nationalized healthcare a ‘la Canada or the UK.I don’t see how Obamacare or private insurance can continue to work for more than an interim period.If Obamacare fails, it just makes it all the easier for folks to accept a one payer plan.

#20 Comment By collin On October 25, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

Pat, Did you not watch the financial crisis? Most people kept their jobs for a period and the really big screw-ups were given $15M golden parachutes to disappear.

Anyway, at this point, don’t you think letting Kathleen resign would make it easier for here. I expect resignation late 2014.

#21 Comment By An Anachronistic Apostle On October 25, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

Rich kids get into good schools all the time because of their wealth but no one calls this affirmative action.

And why expect this to be done, in the first place?

There’s no plausible rationale for one to equate “skin cells” with “money sells,” in all things; or said differently, for one to confuse a reliance on a judicial fiat to overcome past evils, with daddy’s cynical reliance on existing human greed.

#22 Comment By WorkingClass On October 25, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

Yeah right. Obama is incompetent just like all black people and Sebelius is incompetent just like all girls. Us white guys have to suffer their incompetence because of affirmative action. AND ITS ALL BECAUSE OF LIBERALS!

Oh! If only the Republicans were in charge. Like the first Cheney Administration. Those were the good old days.

This is a lousy rant Pat. You should leave this stuff to Rush and Hannity.

#23 Comment By Mark On October 25, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

From what I’ve read, the website’s problems stem from senior management’s (the Administration) last minute changes to requirements, and not enough time allocated to testing.

Yeah, like that never happens in the private sector.

I’ve worked in corporate America for 30 years, and, trust me on this; the Government has no monopoly on incompetence. The private sector may have been different in Pat’s day, but there’s not much distinction anymore.

Except that commenter hetzer has it right. If a corporation dumped Sebelius, she’d walk away with a golden parachute worth millions.

#24 Comment By Rosell On October 25, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

“Today, more than ever, America’s private and public sectors run on separate rails by different rules.”

The growing Public/private partnership sector seems to indicate the opposite:

Charter schools, Government Sponsored Organizations like the TARP banks and Insurance companies, subsidized oil companies, and the military industrial complex. The corporate sector is diligently working to become part of “the government.”

CEOs for the large corporations are fired for failures and rewarded with large severance packages and golden parachutes, similar to paid retirement.

It’s endemic.

#25 Comment By Fran Macadam On October 26, 2013 @ 12:27 am

In the current age, where corporate donorism has bought government, there is no more accountability in our corporations than there is in government.

Why should we be surprised they have failed us? Neither are interested in us except to make use of us for their own combined ends.

#26 Comment By cka2nd On October 26, 2013 @ 12:49 am

mrscracker,

I personally hope that we do get Single Payer, sooner or later, but Obama, centrist Democrat that he is, desparately wants Obamacare – which might as well be called the Health Insurance Industry Protection Plan – to succeed.

#27 Comment By Escher On October 26, 2013 @ 9:35 am

The little guy always gets the short end of the stick- whether it is higher premiums due to Obamacare or getting laid off due to corruption and incompetence at the top of the company he works for.

#28 Comment By mrscracker On October 28, 2013 @ 9:16 am

cka2nd says:

October 26, 2013 at 12:49 am

“mrscracker,

I personally hope that we do get Single Payer, sooner or later, but Obama, centrist Democrat that he is, desparately wants Obamacare – which might as well be called the Health Insurance Industry Protection Plan – to succeed.”
*****************************************
I don’t know.I’m dubious about the whole thing:private insurance,nationalized healthcare,Medicaid, etc.
Frankly, though, the family members we have in Canada & the UK are perfectly happy with their systems.We’ll have to see what happens here but I bet it will closely resemble what’s in Canada, just run much less efficiently.

#29 Comment By A DC Wonk On October 30, 2013 @ 11:26 am

the government has spent close to $500 million dollars and wasted three years of what should have been productive time to roll out a success instead of what in essence has become a gigantic failure.

Wasted time? And I guess we’re supposed to ignore:

– the coordinated Republican effort to get the law declared unconstitutional? (Which utterly and completely stalled implementation as government and industry waited for the uncertainty to resolve)

– House Republicans who refused to appropriate the money the Department of Health and Human Services said it needed to properly implement Obamacare?

– Senate Republicans who tried to intimidate Sebelius out of using existing HHS funds to implement Obamacare? “Would you describe the authority under which you believe you have the ability to conduct such transfers?” Sen. Orrin Hatch demanded at one hearing.

– Congressional Republicans who refuse to permit the packages of technical fixes and tweaks that laws of this size routinely require?

– Republican governors who told the Obama administration they absolutely had to be left to build their own health-care exchanges (remember that the House Democrats’ health-care plan included a single, national exchange?) and then refused to build, leaving the construction of 34 insurance marketplaces up to HHS?

I could go on.

If the GOP was so certain Obamacare was going to fail, then they should have just let it fail, instead of working so hard to try to ensure it would fail.

And, given that they did try to hard to ensure it would fail — pointing fingers back at Administration rings a little hollow.