Talking about damning with faint praise: today the tabula rasa folks over at Slate.com proudly announce that “HealthCare.gov is no longer a total disaster.” The story isn’t exactly brimming with confidence:
But how fixed is it right now? We’ll have a better idea once we have the signup and enrollment numbers for December. But the Progress Report published by the administration on Sunday offers a couple of clues. The Progress Report is itself a good sign: While selective in what it presents, the information it offers is meaningful and relevant, and none of it seems blatantly fishy to me. This is a drastic change from anything the administration or the contractors were offering even a month ago, and they should get credit for making these numbers available (assuming they’re true).
Methinks they ought to be ready to change their site name to BlankSlate.com.
Meanwhile, Salon.com’s Brian Beutler (Beutler? Beutler? Anyone. . .) thinks the drive for the repeal of Obamacare is “officially dead.” “Officially”?? What, did the Justice Department issue an official memo or something? Because I didn’t get a copy. But if it’s officially over, well then we’ll just have to shut up I guess. Because Salon.com has spoken. (That would be the same Salon where the egregious Joan Walsh gets her daily “GOP-Is-Racist” brain rinse.)
Over at The Atlantic, Garance Franke-Ruta agrees with Salon up to a point, but offers a crucial hedge:
The most likely outcome, given the fierce opposition to the law over the past three years, is that Obamacare merely gets added to the permanent Republican complaint list, where it will join Social Security and Medicare as something that’s subject to periodic GOP efforts at radical transformation. Just because a program is decades old, successful, and well-loved by voters doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t be opposed by Republican reformers. And right now Obamacare is not yet any of those three things.
But then there the first “official” sign of Democratic panic: Democratic calls for a White House staff shake up. It’s always a sign of a president in trouble when his own party has people openly saying he needs a “stronger team.” Translation: you need to sacrifice some scapegoats. From The Hill:
Former administration officials and Democratic operatives say President Obama is ill-served by his current White House staff and must reboot his second term team following the disastrous ObamaCare rollout. . .
The current White House appears to have “blinders” on, said another former senior official, adding “It’s been a weak spot for them during the second term. It’s not for a lack of advice, that’s for sure.”
Wanna bet David Gergen is waiting by his phone?