It took him long enough.
After nearly three weeks of cringe-worthy tech support, the president finally addressed the issue in a Rose Garden appearance that featured his own complaints, cries for help from the Silicon Valley and a woman who nearly collapsed right behind the president.
(Is it too obvious to make a joke about sticker shock? She’s OK , by the way, and as someone who’s nearly fainted on stage himself, I can certainly sympathize.)
But the president clearly wasn’t any happier than anyone else.
“There’s no sugarcoating it. Nobody is more frustrated than I am,” he said flat out.
Then the transparency this president loves to talk about sure would have come in handy months ago when – and if – his team had tested this thing out. They should have done either a public beta, flown in some of those tech billionaire boys or at least run it past Tim Cook. (I’m joking about that last one, but it would certainly beat have a Windows guy look at it – they’d just tell you to restart.)
Seriously, though, there are plenty of those left-leaning California geeks who would have loved to take up this noble cause, but no…this administration’s no better than any of the others when it comes to smoke and mirrors.
The president later added, “The essence of the law, the health insurance that’s available to people, is working just fine.”
And I’m not so sure about that. This is just the first phase. This is supposed to be the easy part. I would imagine that come January, once the claims start piling up, things might get even worse.
Which brings me back to the Republicans, who need to stay out of their own way for the next couple for months. They’ve already taken a beating in the press – whether it’s fair or not. It’s like I tell my son: “Keep your head down, get your work done and stay out of trouble.”
Sure, the public’s crashed the federal site – repeatedly, which is unacceptable in this tech-dependent world. But demand is clearly high, despite the public’s still overall disapproval of the law. They want health insurance; they just don’t want all of that other stuff (you know, the stuff they don’t understand.)
But at this point, the majority of voters – for whatever reason – don’t want it repealed anymore either. I think they want to see how this plays out. And I think the best bet here, as I’ve said before, is for Republicans to wait for this thing to stumble again (and it will) and then push for a fix – an overhaul of the overhaul.
I think New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offers an excellent example. Months ago, he vowed to fight his state’s legislature on same-sex marriage. But just this week, he backed off, saying in a statement through his spokesman that, “Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law.”
I’ve no doubt he saw the latest polls, which showed 2-to-1 support in favor of gay marriage in New Jersey. By surrendering that fight, he surrendered to the will of the people, regardless of his own opinion. (Nevermind that whole running-for-president thing.)
Is it naïve to ask our lawmakers in Washington to do the same? After all, are they there to serve themselves or the majority of the Americans people who’ve decided to ride this law out rather than repeal it?