ObamaCare: Better Never Than Late
Americans have heard a lot of excuses about why the ObamaCare website doesn't work, but Secretary Sebelius's latest takes the cake. In her desperation, the HHS chief tried to turn the tables on Republicans, suggesting that the "political atmosphere" was somehow to blame for the website's faulty infrastructure. "Frankly," she said during a stopover in Austin, "a political atmosphere where the majority party, at least in the House, was determined to stop this anyway they possibly could... was not an ideal atmosphere."
So now the political environment is responsible for HHS's sloppiness? Does Sebelius honestly think people will believe that contractors bungled three and a half years of web design because they were distracted by the Hill debate? She'd have more credibility saying the dog ate her website. Either HHS botched the system because it was misguided, misdirected, and mismanaged -- or the whole idea of taking over one-sixth of the nation's economy was just too big of a project for the Obama administration.
As House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa pointed out, "They had unlimited money, $600 million to implement just to do this part, and billions to do the other part. The President has been poorly served in the implementation of his own signature legislation. So if somebody doesn't leave and if there isn't a real restructuring ... then he's missing the point of Management 101..."
Unfortunately for some Democrats, who insisted the problems were getting better, the system is still proving them wrong. The same data hub that Sebelius praised as "a model of efficiency and security" on Saturday was anything but on Sunday after another rolling outage left users hanging. If you think this is bad, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) warned, just wait. "The real problems will be when it's time to schedule your grandmother's cancer surgery," he said.
No doubt Sunday's blackout will be another item of discussion on Wednesday, when the HHS Secretary finally takes the stand to answer House members' questions. And if Sebelius is banking on liberals coming to her defense, that prospect is growing dimmer by the day. At least 22 Democrats are looking for a life jacket in this sinking ship, as more join the GOP's effort to postpone the meat of the law -- the individual mandate. Ten senators, including Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), have joined the growing chorus of leaders who think Americans deserve the same relief that the administration gave to businesses. As one liberal consultant put it, if this mess isn't cleaned up, "We will own this problem for ever."
And the "problem" runs much deeper than the website to the system at large. Honestly, the White House should be grateful that the technical snags are distracting America from the real issues -- like the higher premiums, shrinking insurance pools, cancelled policies, skyrocketing deductibles, and on and on. "There's been a whole lot of emphasis on what's going on with the website, but there's been a lot less on the people who aren't going to get subsidies," said a Georgia insurance broker. "Their rates are going through the roof." Another broker told the AP she's been "inundated" with phone calls from people above the poverty line "asking her where they can get their ObamaCare health insurance for free."
What most Americans don't understand (and what the President refuses to explain) is that "while the law provides tax credits to help make insurance more affordable, middle-class consumers still will have to pay at least a portion of the cost to get coverage." Instead, they've bought into the Left's mirage of "free health care," leading to what brokers are calling "absolute ignorance and hysteria." So when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appears on television insisting that Democrats can recover from this disaster and "win the House," she's probably in the minority in more ways than one.
When Gallup asked people to guess how many Americans were homosexual, most said 25%. Turns out, they were about 22% off. And while gays and lesbians make up about 3.4% of the population, they seem to get 100% of the consideration when producers write and cast new television shows. The debate over same-sex "marriage" has been perfectly scripted by Hollywood. Television shows are full of lovable gay characters, whose dangerous lifestyle is just another funny footnote. Unfortunately for America, those make-believe people are having a real-life impact. It's no accident that almost 20% of Americans credit television with changing their minds on same-sex "marriage."
Our good friend Brent Bozell wrote a great column on the disproportionate representation the homosexual community enjoys in Hollywood, especially when it comes to primetime. In the 2012-13 TV season, Bozell writes, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) toasted the networks with the most homosexual storylines. "Fox was honored for having these characters in 42% of their programming hours -- but that wasn't enough for 'Excellent' status, merely 'Good.'" Even predominately children's shows aren't immune from the agenda. ABC Family is appropriately named, since the network's top GLAAD rating shows the network is more about the ABCs of indoctrination. Michael Riley, ABC's chief executive, said he was "proud" to be honored. Celebrating homosexuality, he said, is "very important to us." That's a serious problem, considering that ABC Family is the highest-rated network for 12 to 34-year-olds.
"Here's the catch," Brent explains. "Gay characters never face any real opposition to the gay agenda on these so-called 'inclusive' programs. There is no measure of Orthodox religious inclusion and no real debates. The victory of the left is assumed without thinking. When a conservative character is created -- like Ellen Barkin's 'Nana' in 'The New Normal' -- it's a vicious cartoon, the kind that those 'against defamation' folks deeply enjoy. These people are all about tolerance and sensitivity. But if you disagree with them, they will have your head. Ask anyone in Hollywood who's pro-family." It's time for families to let networks know that what they gain by being pro-homosexual doesn't compare with what they'll lose. And that's viewers.
Air Force Throttles Back Faith
Who's in charge of the U.S. Air Force? These days, it's tough to tell -- especially since its Academy seems to take its orders from anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein, not Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force Chief. Weinstein, whose latest complaint is the use of the word "God" in the cadet's Honor Code, grumbled about the reference to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson. And while he did succeed in having a poster with the word removed, he failed in his push to strike God from the code altogether.
The controversy was triggered by a newspaper photo of an oath poster on Academy grounds, which reporters forwarded to Weinstein. Shortly after Mikey called Air Force officials, the wall was stripped of the image. But after a meeting of the Academy's Honor Review Committee, the same can't be said of the cadet's vow: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and live honorably, so help me God."
From now on, Johnson says, cadets will have the option not to finish the Honor Oath with "so help me God." What she didn't say is that cadets have always had that option. (Apparently, nobody's taken it but Weinstein). This debate isn't about accommodating people who don't believe in God; it's about intimidating and marginalizing the majority of cadets with a Christian worldview. No one is forced to say "so help me God." But if it's good enough for every President since George Washington, then surely it's okay for the Air Force's cadets.
** For more on the history and tradition of the phrase "So Help Me God," check out Ken Blackwell's latest column in Townhall.com, "Mikey's Murfs Strike Again."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.