Barack Obama has launched his new sales pitch for ObamaCare, in an attempt to convince Americans that the exchanges that don’t exchange, the payment systems that don’t pay, and the website security from 1993 are so totally awesome that no one in their right mind could turn it down. If Obama can’t even convince the man who shoved ObamaCare through the Senate by parliamentary chicanery, though, how can anyone else believe him?
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare’s architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law’s new exchanges.
Reid is the exception among the other top congressional leaders. GOP House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have all directed their staffs to join the exchange, their aides said.
Speaking of chicanery, how does Reid explain his earlier pledge to put his staffers in the ObamaCare exchanges? Oh, they’ll be there, his office explains, but only if they want to be:
In September, Reid told reporters, “Let’s stop these really juvenile political games — the one dealing with health care for senators and House members and our staff. We are going to be part of exchanges, that’s what the law says and we’ll be part of that.”
That’s true. Reid and his personal staff will buy insurance through the exchange.
But it’s also true that the law lets lawmakers decide if their committee and leadership staffers hold on to their federal employee insurance plans, an option Reid has exercised.
Shouldn’t Obama prove he can sell his own front man before going out and trying to snow the rest of us … again? He’s got until December 20th to make the sale with Harry Reid, when Obama’s annual Hawaii Christmas vacation will begin. Let’s see what kind of salesman Obama really is. When Obama manages to win the Reid account, then we’ll pay attention to the ObamaCare version of Mad Men.
Not coincidentally, my column today for The Week focuses on the latest campaign from Obama, and the shrinking credibility on which it relies:
Obama is launching a new campaign to get people to buy into the ObamaCare system before the Dec. 23 cutoff for coverage beginning Jan. 1, especially the younger and healthier Americans whose comprehensive-coverage premiums will subsidize lower premiums for older and sicker consumers. No doubt the White House will encourage consumers to visit the website, use the newly implemented “queuing” software that allows them to wait in line for lengthy periods of time while the site is unavailable, and then start shopping for those higher-priced plans in which the system may or may not enroll them.
But those consumers will be taking a risk with their personal identity information, as former Marine Corps cyber-warfare and internet security expert David Kennedy warned. The new round of “fixes” implemented over the holiday weekend made an already dangerous website even worse, Kennedy, now the CEO of TrustedSec, told the Washington Free Beacon. The fixes made over 400 changes to the code, none of which were reportedly tested for the security issues identified in the previous releases. “I’m a little bit more skeptical now,” Kennedy said, “and I would still definitely advise individuals to not use the website.”
None of these issues are near resolution, and yet Obama plans to spend the next three weeks attempting to sell this lemon. But now, it’s not just the product that’s at stake, but the salesman as well. Thanks to Obama’s mantra of “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” offered as late as just before the Oct. 1 rollout, the president has lost his credibility on this issue — and likely on all others as well.
His average approval rating on Real Clear Politics has dropped below 40 percent for the first time in his presidency. But worse yet are the ratings on personal qualities like honesty, integrity, and leadership. CNN’s latest poll, taken just before Thanksgiving, shows 53 percent believing that Obama isn’t honest or trustworthy. A CBS News poll put trust in Obama’s word at 49 percent, eleven points lower than a year earlier, while a Washington Post/ABC News survey gave him a 47/50 result on whether he was “honest and trustworthy” — and 33/63 when those attributes were applied to the ObamaCare implementation.
Hey, he can’t even sell Harry Reid on implementing ObamaCare. Why should the rest of us listen, especially after the parade of lies that Obama has used for the last several years to sell it in the first place? The more he tries, the less credibility he will have — and that means trouble for the rest of his agenda, too.