Patterico's Pontifications


Incompetent or Lying? What Did Obama Know and When?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:24 am

If you like your pretense that you didn’t know the Web site was a disaster, you can keep it:

President Barack Obama, who has portrayed himself as surprised by technical problems with the government’s new health care website, was briefed earlier this year on a consultant’s report that warned of possible widespread site failures, the White House said on Tuesday.

There have been weeks of questions about whether Obama understood the depth of the site’s problems and let it open anyway, or simply “did not have enough awareness” of them, as the president stated at a November 14 news conference.

. . . .

Bits and pieces have leaked out over the past few weeks about flaws in the site’s development process. Monday night, however, Republican lawmakers who oppose Obamacare released a report and recommendations prepared by McKinsey & Co at the government’s request in March 2013.

It cited, among other things, a rushed process that left insufficient time for testing and a focus by officials on getting people enrolled versus making the system work right.

The consequence, it said, could be system failures that could make enrollment slow or at times impossible for consumers, which is exactly what happened.

Questioned about the McKinsey study, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president had been briefed on it in the spring.

Allahpundit provides analysis:

Why isn’t this a bigger story than it is? Lots of reasons. Mainly it’s because O-Care’s implementation is so disastrous in so many ways — the website, the “rate shock” horror stories, the “if you like your plan” fiasco, the palpable panic among Democrats on the Hill — that it can’t help but overshadow Obama’s personal culpability. Plus, there’s little “gotcha” to be had in proving that O knew all along that the launch would be catastrophic. Arguably it’s even worse if he really didn’t know; politicians lie all the time about their personal responsibility for policy failures, but the lack of oversight Obama’s been copping to is genuinely shocking on an agenda item this big. His thinking, I guess, it’s that it’s always better to be seen as well-meaning and negligent than incompetent and deceitful but I’m not sure that rule holds in a matter as momentous as remaking the health-care system. Beyond all that, though, the bloom is far enough off the Hopenchange rose that there’d be no shock value left in proving that O’s lying about the extent of his awareness of the site’s problems. Everyone knows by now that he’s willing to lie, repeatedly and without qualification, about ObamaCare; the lie about people keeping their plans was, by any measure, a bigger lie than the one he’s probably guilty of in claiming now he didn’t know how badly off the website was. Two years ago, this would have complicated his Bambi-esque image. Today, after the IRS scandal, the NSA surveillance revelations, and the “if you like your plan” debacle, it’s just not that important. After all of that, either you’ve already changed your mind about O or you never will. Proof positive that he knew was a trainwreck but approved it anyway won’t move the needle.

He has a point: in many situations in life, there comes a point in time when you’re either convinced, or you’re never going to be. People who can explain away the lies we have seen so far will never actually be convinced.

But I disagree that it’s not important to keep pointing out his lies. At a certain point, the disgust reaches critical mass, where even the unreasonable shrug their shoulders, and even the diehards argue a little less loudly. You have to keep the pressure on.

This is a new entitlement, after all — and once the “winners” start getting their goodies, it will all be portrayed as a Big Success, and no attention will be paid to how much it’s costing. It’s already happening to some extent, and while Obama and ObamaCare’s numbers are in the toilet, that won’t necessarily be the case once the freebies start rolling in. Reminding people of all the lies is a critical part of fighting this battle.

Politician Eats Own Hair

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:23 am

Watch the guy in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

Via Allahpundit.

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