Politics

Democrats and celebrities bail on ObamaCare

Democrats and celebrities bail on ObamaCare

The celebrities enlisted to foist ObamaCare on the young suckers needed to keep the program afloat suddenly don’t want to talk about the program, now that it’s crashing and burning.  From Fox News:

In the heady days after the October 1 launch of the Affordable Care Act — better known as ObamaCare — Lady Gaga, Amy Poehler, Nina Dobrev, Rosario Dawson, Sarah Silverman, Olivia Wilde, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Pearl Jam, Lance Bass, John Legend, Alyssa Milano and Kerry Washington joined the President to encourage Americans to #getcovered.

Since then, technical glitches and website snafus have so marred the ObamaCare website that the team who built it has been called to testify before Congress on Thursday. But there will be no celebrities flanking them on Capitol Hill, as the stars that helped launch the initiative are now being advised to walk away.

One well-placed Hollywood agent told FOX411 that while Obama and ObamaCare are separate issues, and that you can support one without the other, public relations teams across the industry are cautioning their clients to now lay off the latter. Even Oprah Winfrey, one of the President’s most influential mouthpieces during his first election, reportedly refused to get on-board and lend a hand.

“Hollywood has gone from pushing #getcovered to heading for cover,” Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center told FOX411. “Stars like Lady Gaga and Sarah Silverman pushed their ObamaCare propaganda to more than 67 million fans on social media. But don’t expect them to be honest about the situation.”

Granted that Hollywood is a gossipy place, so some of this might be internal sniping between publicity guys… but ObamaCare’s glitterati squad does seem to have fallen awfully quiet over the past few weeks.  Shouldn’t these people apologize to their fans for lying to them about how quick and easy it would be to sign up online?  That was a key point in many of these endorsements.  I notice none of these actors and musicians has been willing to sit down in front of a camera and show us all how easy it is to create an account and buy an insurance policy.

What say you, Lady Gaga?  How about grabbing a tablet and logging into an exchange in flyover country, with live cameras rolling, so you can show your suburban and rural fans just how easily a twentysomething shopper can get some super-affordable care?  And if you’re not willing to march in front of that firing squad, have you got the integrity to offer an apology for leading those fans astray?

It’s also growing difficult for imperiled Democrats to hang on to this train wreck.  Politico reports their surge of party unity from the shutdown crisis seems to have “gone the way of trucker hats and the macarena.”

The problems with the Obamacare website have transformed the president from a man who seemed to have gotten a sudden infusion of political capital to a man who’s been pushed back on his heels. He was firm, and he was setting the agenda. Now he’s back to trying to beating back the latest frame Republicans have forced on him, inadvertently providing evidence to support the doubts they’ve been trying to sow from the beginning. He spent last week against the backdrop of a shutdown that made people appreciate all the things government can do for them. Now he has a website which shows how little it can.

Amusingly, Politico speaks of the White House spending “much of the week dealing with a bizarre episode with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)  over whether an unnamed Republican insulted the president, forced to support Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)’s denial over the insistent statement of one of its closest allies on the Hill.”

That would be the little dust-up chronicled here.  Does anyone truly have the impression the Durbin scandal was a huge time-sink that distracted the White House from dealing with the ObamaCare disaster in any meaningful way?  It didn’t even distract President Obama from zipping off to another fundraiser today.

House Speaker John Boehner’s office assembled the following collection of quotes from the Democrats who are now in favor of delaying the individual mandate – a proposal they were willing to shut the government down to block, when House Republicans put it on the table just a few weeks ago.

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA): “I urge my colleagues and the Administration to delay the individual mandate. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the only practical thing to do.” (Floor Remarks, 10/23/13)

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA): “Rep. Gerry Connolly (D., Va.) said that the administration might need to waive the penalties if the federal website problems persist. ‘We’ve got to be fair to consumers here,’ he said Wednesday.’” (Wall Street Journal, 10/24/13)

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX): “Rep. Gene Green (D., Texas) said the law allows the White House to waive penalties, and if technology problems are protracted, it should act. ‘I think the administration is going to have to look at it, and I’d encourage them to do so,’ he said.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/24/13)

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ): “‘If the problems are intense as they are this morning, then maybe we would have to consider a short delay in terms of the individual mandate,’ New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell, a member of the Health subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, said on Wednesday.” (Yahoo News, 10/23/13)

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD): “‘It’s not about the time, it’s about getting it right,’ says Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). ‘And then you can look to see whether it needs to be a month delay or a two month delay, or whatever.’” (Time, 10/24/13)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK): “Sen. Mark Begich (D., Alaska), who is up for re-election in 2014, said Wednesday that individuals shouldn’t be penalized if technical issues with the HealthCare.gov website aren’t resolved.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/24/13)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va….is working on a bill to delay the individual mandate by a year, his office confirmed Wednesday. … ‘He believes that this year should be a transition year and the penalty should not be imposed. … Manchin spokesman Jonathan Kott said in an emailed statement.” (Roll Call, 10/23/13)

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR): “Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said he supports the ‘common-sense idea’ for an extension beyond the March 31, 2014, deadline as suggested by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in a letter to President Obama. ‘In addition, the administration should state clearly how the enforcement mechanism will work if people can’t sign up in time.’” (USA Today, 10/23/13)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): “If an individual is unable to purchase health insurance due to technical problems with enrollment, they should not be penalized because of lack of coverage.” (CNN, 10/22/13)

USA Today adds Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) to the list, although she’s only looking for a two-month delay.  A few Democratic candidates for Senate in 2014, including Michelle Nunn in George and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, have also supported delay proposals.

Fox News tosses in some tough talk from Democrats who claim to want some Administration scalps for the disastrous rollout:

“The president should man up, let us know who was responsible, who was in charge here and fire them,” Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., said.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said “somebody ought to get fired.”

“The president should man up?”  Careful, Rep. Nolan, you can get roasted alive on liberal blogs for using language like that.

It would have been nice if all these congressional Democrats had bothered to read the Affordable Care Act before they passed it, and maybe talked with a few IT experts about the technical challenges of interfacing all these incompatible government and private-sector systems, or maybe given some thought to the havoc all those mandates were going to wreak in the insurance market.  But none of those things mattered in the mad rush to seize power.  Now they’re reduced to wondering if they can hold onto their seats after an angry mob of their constituents get fined for failing to comply with orders they couldn’t obey if they wanted to.

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