I hate to say I told you so, but I did offer the opinion on this hallowed site that the Tea Party wasn’t going to take the recent successful (for Democrats) abandonment of the partial government shutdown and the extension of the raising the debt ceiling issue without the inclusion of decimating the Affordable Care Act, with grace and acceptance. Of course virtually every other breathing progressive predicted the same reaction.
The Teapublican Party (any pretense of the Tea Party and Republican Party being separate entities has long since been proven false) has come storming back with a hateful vengeance. And where better to start the next round of destroying ‘that black president’s’ legacy than the interior of the ever-reliable hearing room of Chairman Darrell Issa’s sit-com House Committee on Oversight and (tee hee) Government reform. Beneath the largely meaningless ‘investigative’ gabble of “Fast and Furious”, Benghazi, the IRS and car thefts, concealed weapons and arson for insurance money; oh, excuse me, those last three are Issa’s own ethical and potentially criminal problems (more on Issa’s alleged avocations here), what has emerged? Well, nothing other than a doofis and laughable Eric Holder Contempt of Congress designation. Whatever minimal corrective measures that needed to be taken were already well underway by the time Issa lowered his partisan gavel.
And what will emerge from this latest encore of the politically illegitimate committee undertaking? Well, again, nothing. Puffery, attacks on administration officials, and a call for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ hide. Maybe Issa attack dog Trey Gowdy can recreate his April, 2012 arrogant and mean spirited attack on Sebelius, an accomplished member of the Obama team. Teapublicans would certainly wallow in it.
As always the Koch brothers, Karl Rove and the usual suspects have handed their Teapublican sycophants the latest template to continue their ACA slash and burn tactics. Here’s a striking example of what is expected of these elected politipuppets. Nation of Change pinpointed a definitive example of how Teapublican “employees” of billionaires are supposed to react when questioned about the roll-out of Healthcare Insurance Marketplaces. In this case it was a CNN interview with North Carolina Teapublican House member, Renee Ellmers. She was reacting to the enthusiastic endorsement of his states experience with the Marketplace by Kentucky Democratic Governor, Steve Beshear.
Here’s where to go for more of the back-story and video reaction. Note especially how she uses the term “monumental failure” in describing the exchange signups. That’s the propaganda phrase that the billionaires are handing out to all Teapublicans and right-wing talking heads. You’ll hear it a million times nationwide with the sole purpose of ingraining it in the noggins of people who can’t separate fact from fiction.
Less concerning to Washington extremists is a red state “monumental failure.” This one tracks back to a 2012 South Carolina Department of Revenue multiple security breach by a foreign hacker who broke into the department’s encrypted website on several occasions beginning in August and managed to purloin 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,0000 credit and debit card numbers.
There were innumerable opportunities that presented themselves as simple defenses against this intrusion including a relatively dirt-cheap $25,000 dual password system that would have prevented the whole thing. All of these defense mechanisms were ignored by Governor Nikki Haley (who thinks she can be on a future Teapublican national pres/VP ticket), computer personnel and the right-wing legislature. Any DC TP’ers give the least little damn about pressing the issue and assigning blame? Hell no; that’s a “state” issue. Of course, the right-wing congresspeople will spend hours a day yammering about “state” insurance exchanges. In selective partisanship, that’s not a “state” issue.
Teapublicans are howling for a quick fix to the federal signup system. Let’s let our objective gene control the conversation here. As for the numerous computer problems that marred access to the health exchange marketplace, to quote the president, “there was no excuse.” I don’t need to catalog those problems, every right-wing rag and media outlet in these United States has dedicated multiple hours a day to that partisan task sans answers to the problems or offers of help.
Here’s where I save the sit-com committee lots of time and trouble. What Teapublicans will never admit is that in large measure the signup problems were a consequence of a ‘surge of interest’ on the part of consumers, resulting in the online overload of the system, a very common problem experienced thousands of times per year by the public and private sectors. It wouldn’t do for the right-wing to acknowledge that despite their years of 24/7 verbal, written and electronic thunder ripping the contents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, for the vast majority of citizens, right, left and center their “monumental” efforts drew a blank among reasonable and informed Americans.
It’s also worthy of noting that the administration did commit a major gaffe in underestimating not only the initial reaction. The fact is, however, that according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a great number of states declined to run or administer their own Health Insurance Marketplaces. The breakdown was 27 washed their hands of it altogether, 7 formed partnerships and 17 agreed to take on the task of signing up their citizens. Ironic (as are so many things Teapublican) that the fed-hating states, hated the responsibility of signing up consumers to that very federal government.
Another ironic factor much worthy of note: How many of the major players in setting up the online signup site were government agencies and employees and how many were outside private contractors; adored and encouraged by the right? CGI Federal credited with having great input into the building of the HealthCare.gov site is a contractor with a rather sketchy history dating back to the Clinton (can you say DINO?) administration. The Washington Post’s ‘Wonkblog’ paints a not so flattering picture of this outfit.
So it really boils down to all things Teapublican. To hell with federal workers, let’s go with the high-priced outside contractors. To hell with taking in-state responsibility for signing up new customers for the health insurance exchanges and marketplaces. To hell with the president as the right continues to press the attack on every front. That’s the real story Darrell and Trey; any questions?
This too shall pass!