November 3, 2013

Our Constitution was designed to prevent "lightning victories." How political fear was pitted against technical needs - The Washington Post:

There's a reason why every "big" piece of legislation in our history (outside the Civil War) was passed with bipartisan support. Except Obamacare. The constitution was explicitly designed to prevent radical change, unless there is broad support for it. For instance the different parts of government have different lengths of their terms: Representatives two years, senators six years, Presidents four years, judges life. This was intended to stop things happening in a sudden wave of enthusiasm.

And our constitution normally forces compromise. A group gets something they want by giving other groups things they want. But the oddity of the electoral situation in 2009 enabled Dems to ram through their bill alone. In American politics, this is simply a "dirty trick." It guarantees that the bill will never have legitimacy.

BH Liddell Hart wrote that in war there is a terrible danger inherent in "lightning victories." This is because the defeated don't feel they were beaten honestly. So they never accept their defeat, and will come back and extract terrible revenge in the future. Americans never considered that Pearl Harbor was a legitimate victory. It was and is considered a dirty trick. So there was never a possibility that we would negotiate a peace, as the Japanese leaders hoped. And we had no qualms about killing them by the millions.

..."They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn't have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business," said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama's 2008 campaign, who was not the individual who provided the memo to The Washington Post but confirmed he was the author. "It's very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills."

The White House's leadership of the immense project -- building new health insurance marketplaces for an estimated 24 million Americans without coverage -- is one of several key reasons that the president's signature domestic policy achievement has become a self-inflicted injury for the administration.

Based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former administration officials and outsiders who worked alongside them, the project was hampered by the White House's political sensitivity to Republican hatred of the law -- sensitivity so intense that the president's aides ordered that some work be slowed down or remain secret for fear of feeding the opposition. Inside the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the main agency responsible for the exchanges, there was no single administrator whose full-time job was to manage the project. Republicans also made clear they would block funding, while some outside IT companies that were hired to build the Web site,, performed poorly.

These interwoven strands ultimately caused the exchange not to be ready by its Oct. 1 start date. It was not ready even though, on the balmy Sunday evening of March 21, 2010, hours after the bill had been enacted, the president had stood on the Truman Balcony for a champagne toast with his weary staff and put them on notice: They needed to get started on carrying out the law the very next morning. It was not ready even though, for months beginning last spring, the president emphasized the exchange's central importance during regular staff meetings to monitor progress. No matter which aspects of the sprawling law had been that day's focus, the official said, Obama invariably ended the meeting the same way: "All of that is well and good, but if the Web site doesn't work, nothing else matters."...
Posted by John Weidner at November 3, 2013 7:46 AM
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