White House ready to go on offense over ObamaCare or something

posted at 11:21 am on December 3, 2013 by Allahpundit

The short version:

The long version:

“To kick off the new effort, the President will hold an event at the White House to discuss the health care law’s benefits already in place for millions of Americans and make the case for why we need to move forward to make sure the law is a success.”

The first event is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, but it is just the first wave in a tsunami of information the Obama administration plans to unleash.

This will be a daily event through December 23 as the White House plans to highlight benefits of the Affordable Care Act — sometimes on its own and other times with the help of supporters of the reform package.

The offensive is a sign the White House no longer feels weighed down by the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov.

That can’t be true, even in a White House as willfully blind to the website’s problems as the one that greenlit this Chernobyl for an October 1st launch. Take a gander at our Headlines section this morning. Garbled data, phantom enrollments, massive security problems — all of it conspiring to potentially destabilize insurers, which has credit agencies worried and murmurs about the coming federal mini-bailout growing louder. Unless HHS has reason to believe the site is now more stable than anyone else knows, they’re taking two huge risks by launching a PR campaign. One is the risk of people swarming to the site to enroll and crashing it, something they feared so much as recently as last week that they encouraged liberal nonprofits not to launch any PR campaigns of their own. The other risk, paradoxically, is that the site won’t crash and insurers will be inundated with new applications that they either can’t process, because the information’s too mangled to decipher, or won’t process because there’s currently no way for applicants to pay their first month’s premium through the website. What’s changed to make the White House think that drumming up interest in enrolling in the home stretch before the December 23rd deadline is worth those risks?

Maybe nothing. Maybe this is all just a form of political disaster management:

The focus on Obamacare benefits is a political necessity for congressional Democrats, the large majority of whom will face voters in less than a year. Democrats wrote and passed the law in the face of unified Republican opposition, and if voters aren’t aware of the law’s upside — or can’t remember it amid all the problems with the rollout — Democrats will be holding onto an anchor rather than a buoy.

Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill say that in order to get back on offense on Obamacare, they have to draw a two-sided picture: Democrats delivering benefits on one side, and Republicans trying to deny them on the other. That, one party operative said, is what polling says will help them win. Instead, Democrats have spent the past two months blaming a president of their own party for the deficiencies of a law that they own.

If they know that the next eight weeks, at least, will be filled with more ObamaCare landmines exploding — and they will be — then they’ve got three options. They can stand around waiting for them to go off and then hem and haw their way through the wreckage when they do. They can try to change the subject to some other area of policy, like Iran, and hope somehow that the media remains fixated on it hour-by-hour until, er, February. Or they can swallow hard and try to defend the law, if only to force reporters to squeeze a little “ObamaCare has good intentions” pap into news stories about people suffering lapses in their coverage next month because they can’t get the farking website to work or can’t afford their new premiums. Stay the course, in other words. It’ll all pay off eventually! — even if “eventually” means 2017 or later. “[V]oters will grasp that one side is trying to solve our health care problems,” insists Greg Sargent, “while the other is trying to sabotage all solutions while advancing no constructive answers of their own.” Will they, though? I usually stay away from ObamaCare/Iraq analogies, but I’m thinking a big “well, what would you do about Saddam?” campaign by the GOP in 2006 wouldn’t have done much to hold back the Democratic wave in November. If you screw up so badly that the public comes to believe you’ve made an already bad situation worse with your “fix,” blaming the other party for obstruction won’t help you. Democrats are betting, I guess, that this new PR push will help convince people that O-Care hasn’t made things worse, but if you can remember another instance of an Obama publicity campaign succeeding, let me know.

As for what this means for the site’s functionality — more people logging on, more load on the site, more chaos for insurers in trying to make sense of the 834 data — I think the real significance of today’s PR push is that the White House apparently seems resigned to that happening anyway. If you can’t prevent a big technological mess from happening next month, might as well do some political triage even if it means making the mess a little bigger. The next year is going to be a ceaseless balancing act between those two priorities, fixing the law as best they can for awhile and then shifting to PR to buy a little more time with the public while the remaining technical problems compound. Gonna be a long 12 months.

Update: Indeed:

Again, no matter. The crisis that these errors will create in January is January’s problem. Today’s crisis, one of internal cohesion within the Democratic Party, is more acute. The left demands that caution be abandoned in favor of a hollow display of force.

These panic-inspired offensive operations against ACA opponents are not designed to achieve any strategic objective. They are politically inspired and are aimed at achieving a political goal. Each has had the temporary effect of increasing Democratic unity, but the president cannot overcome the static conditions of the terrain on which they are fighting. The underlying problems associated with the ACA are fracturing the Democratic Party. So long as the ACA remains unreformed, the Democrats are in a losing position.


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Bmore

Schadenfreude on December 3, 2013 at 1:24 PM

If only he had spent 21 straight days explaining to the American people what was in this disaster of a bill before it was voted on.

1. Congress member’s phones would have been ringing off the hook.
2. The bill never would have passed.
3. Obama’s approval ratings wouldn’t be approaching 30%.

Bur I am looking forward to it. I’ve never watched a 21 day dog and pony show before. Maybe they’ll have clown cars too.

fogw on December 3, 2013 at 1:36 PM

0bama has NO class and deserves NO respect.

UltimateBob on December 3, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Exposed daily. He is Goebbels, cubed.

Schadenfreude on December 3, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I think this would be a good rule ……..

Each day before he speaks he has to try to log-on to healthcare.gov and enroll himself in front of the cameras.

No successful log-on, no idiotic speech. And maybe have an audience armed with eggs and rotten tomatoes standing by.

fogw on December 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Barack Obama has apparently decided to emulate the Captain of the Costa Concordia, organizing the damage control and rescue operations from the lifeboat he fled to in the immediate aftermath of striking the reef, as if that was a viable, well-thought out, and effective plan of action during a disaster.

Athos on December 3, 2013 at 1:47 PM

“To kick off the new effort, the President will hold an event at the White House to discuss the health care law’s benefits already in place for millions of Americans and make the case for why we need to move forward to make sure the law is a success.”

What “benefits already in place for millions of Americans”? We’ve already had at least 5.6 million Americans lose their old health insurance–has anyone actually benefited from it, other than Obama getting re-elected?

Sandra Fluke was last seen entering a hotel with an unidentified man and was unavailable for comment.

Steve Z on December 3, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Obama gave 53 speeches touting ObamaCare in 2010, leading up to and following its passage under budget reconciliation rules (remember, Reid used trickery after losing his 60 vote majority when Teddy K. was called home by Satan). The Act’s popularity steadily declined.

This is absolutely the best thing politically he could do, though – for Republicans. Constantly reminding America of what this fiasco is doing to our health care costs will kill the holiday shopping season and lead to even slower growth going into the midterm election year.

Obama and everyone around him is just too stupid and incompetent to understand that wishing won’t help the situation, and more Obama speechifying can only hurt his standing further.

~

0bama has NO class and deserves NO respect.

UltimateBob on December 3, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Exposed daily. He is Goebbels, cubed.

Schadenfreude on December 3, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Not even close.

Goebbels was extremely effective and absolutely loyal to someone other than himself.

Adjoran on December 3, 2013 at 2:37 PM

I think the real significance of today’s PR push is that the White House apparently seems resigned to that happening anyway. If you can’t prevent a big technological mess from happening next month, might as well do some political triage even if it means making the mess a little bigger.

You’re kidding, right? Every single one of these events is a huge “Mission Accomplished” banner, and they’re going to be all over political ads next year.

Short term desperate, long term destructive. That’s a bad plan, even for a politician, when your “short term” is a month, your “long term” is six months plus, and your election is 11 months away.

They should be taking every hit they can, now. But they’re just too damn stupid.

Greg Q on December 3, 2013 at 2:47 PM

They are using what’s called the “Talking Horse Defense.” Just delay, delay, delay and hope for a miracle. After all, what other type of defense do they have?

Fred 2 on December 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM

You go, Barry.
Grab that ObamaCare third rail with both hands, and SQUEEZE.
And get ready to ride the lightning.

orangemtl on December 3, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Never mind, you’re right. I think. I suck.

Alana on December 3, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Wait, no I think I’m in the wrong thread!

Alana on December 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

kingsjester on December 3, 2013 at 1:21 PM

No fair making me laugh when I have the flu!

dogsoldier on December 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM

They don’t need to go on the offensive. They are offensive. With the stink of failure.

Dhuka on December 3, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Obama is looking somewhat less than a million bucks in the top pic.

Way less.

It gladdens my heart to see him look all worn out and enervated.

Sherman1864 on December 4, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Obama should be asked how his web-site signup experience was personally.

Was it quicker, and less expensive than he expected? Did he keep his doctor? Did he keep his plan?

We know he doesn’t really need it, but what better symbol of Obamacare ™ success could there be than the president himself signing up?

virgo on December 5, 2013 at 12:04 AM

Comment pages: 1 2