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PRUDEN: Can geeks fix Obama’s flawed cure-all?
Question of the Day
Computer bugs are doing what Ted Cruz couldn’t do. They’ve crashed Obamacare. Barack Obama has put in a panic call to the Geek Squad. Maybe they can fix it.
This time the Republicans should stand back and watch the sparks fly and listen to the static on the Democratic radio. There’s no need to view with alarm or point with pride. If John Boehner and Mitch McConnell want to do something nice, they could send over a few dozen doughnuts and a big pot of latte. The geeks have to take a lunch. Fixing this turkey will require a full day’s work.
The president’s men (and the ladies) say they’re calling on “the best and the brightest” of Silicon Valley to give the website a root canal. The Department of Health and Human Services — it’s the “human” part that is the root of the problem — won’t say what’s wrong with the system, only that the website needs “a new code that includes bug fixes.”
Most people say it needs a new health care plan and a new website. Other computer geeks — who sound like they know what they’re talking about, but how do the rest of us know? — insist the problem is fundamental, that the designers of the website used 10-year-old software schemes. Ten years in computer years is a calculation from two centuries back, and for all a computer would know, Matthew Brady sent his photographs from Gettysburg on an Apple IIE, working on DOS with only 64 kilobytes. That sounds like the Obamacare site, and how can anyone fix that?
Nancy Pelosi tried to warn us. She said there were no congressmen who could read the thousands of pages in the bill, but told her colleagues not to worry: “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” So Congress passed it, without a worry and without a single Republican vote, and now we’re finally finding out what’s in it.
Obamacare, which the president says he wants to be the “signature” of his presidency, seems designed to fail, and it’s the signature answer to the question of what’s wrong with Mr. Obama and his presidency. Critics who have been saying he’s dangerous because he’s a Muslim, a socialist, a Kenyan, or an un-American ingrate miss the point by a mile.
Mr. Obama may be a Christian patriot who is secretly proud of his Confederate forbears on his mother’s side (out of Kentucky through Kansas), but his sin is not alien ideology, but native incompetence. The only thing he has done well is organize an administration that reflects the consistent incompetence that underlies everything the administration does. Mr. Obama can’t blame George W. Bush for his administration, but he probably does.
When the telephone rang at 3 o’clock in the morning, and it was Benghazi calling, he turned over and went back to sleep. He drew a network of red lines across Syria, daring Bashar Assad to cross one of them, and when he did, the president turned American foreign policy in the Middle East over to Vladimir Putin and hoped for the best.
A onetime University of Chicago law professor ought to know better, but every time there’s an unfortunate incident on the street with high headline potential, whether in high-minded Massachusetts or high-cracker Florida, the president can’t resist putting in his two cents’ worth and suggesting that the judge should take his word and send the jury home.
Mr. Obama took pride of paternity when Mitt Romney called the health care scheme “Obamacare,” and the president assured him that he need not apologize, because he liked the label. Now nearly every Democrat in town takes care to call it the Affordable Care Act, its formal name.
The president is right to call in the high-tech geeks. If they can’t fix it before the first of the year (barely two months from now), he’ll have to ask for the postponement he so vehemently said was impossible. It’s either that or fine everybody for not signing up for something impossible to sign up for.
This is a first in train wrecks. This train hit a southbound freight before it ever got out of the station. Some engineer. Some conductor. Americans will forgive a president a lot, even his politics, if they like the man. They’re not so forgiving of incompetence, impotence and inefficiency.
Some of Mr. Obama’s severest critics got one thing right. They say his health care scheme was the work of Marxists, and so it is, writ large by Groucho, Chico and Harpo.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
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