December 4, 2013

"Considering Which Head or Heads May Roll for a Troubled Website Rollout."

A NYT headline... head- or heads- line.

Is severed head covered in the Obamacare-conforming plans?

The article, by Michael D. Shear, begins:
For weeks, the president and his aides have said they are not interested in conducting a witch hunt in the middle of the effort to rescue the website.
But they've gotten interested. Apparently, a witch hunt is just the right distraction for the holiday season. But heads are rolling, so the image is a guillotine — a reign of terror. But feel free to picture hangings (witch execution, American-style) or burnings at the stake (if you want to go medieval).
The possible targets include Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary; Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services; Mike Hash, the head of the health and human services health reform office; Michelle Snyder, the chief operating officer at Medicaid and Medicare; Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the website; Jeanne Lambrew, the head of health care policy inside the White House; David Simas, a key adviser involved in the rollout; and Todd Park, the president’s top adviser on technology issues.
Don't pick all women. That would look bad. Maybe Mike Hash and Todd Park, I'd say, just going on the optics of the names. You just need heads. Which heads would look best on a pike?



Ha ha ha. Remember George Bush's head on a pike? Those were the days! Oh, the distractions of yore! What would distract the folks today? Will Obama traipsing about the country for 3 weeks, right up until Christmas Eve eve, do the trick? Think of all the pretty, empathetic people that can be lined up behind him. Just like a choir of Christmas carolers... bringing good tidings of great joy. But heads must roll! It's execution time. More apt for the Easter season, but Christ, you know it ain’t easy/You know how hard it can be/The way things are going/They’re gonna crucify me.

No, no, no. Our modern Messiah must survive. The metaphorical executions must be directed somewhere lower down. I say Mike Hash and Todd Park and then throw in a lady too. Kathleen Sebelius. No, make it Marilyn Tavenner.

That's a nice array of heads. Enough of a purge to settle you down until the new year?

40 comments:

tim in vermont said...

When ideology is more important that competence, reality eventually rears its head. I am sure the ideologue in chief has no idea why any of this is happening nor does he have a plan what to do about something that his ideology says can't be happening. Kind of like the bankruptcy of Detroit.

pm317 said...

You know who Trump will fire if it was his apprentice..

St. George said...

Boy, Professor, have you ever come full circle on Obama. Withering sarcasm.

With the IRS, Fast Furious, Benghazi, and NSA scandals, any GOP president would be dealing with impeachment hearings. Add in the Obamacare debacle, and it's a wonder the man can get out of bed in the morning.

Bob Boyd said...

President Obama needs to get that community organized.

JRoberts said...

When I'm training new team members, I try to emphasize two things:

1) Focus on accuracy. Speed comes with familiarity, and
2) When (not if) things go wrong, I'm looking for solutions, not scapegoats.

However, that only works in the non-profit sector where I've functioned for 30+ years where people are concerned about a need to perform or clean out their desk. In the government, especially in unionized positions, there's rarely a concern about incompetence costing you your job.

It certainly appears to be true with this administration.

However, here's a question: If the IRS scandal, Benghazi and HealthCare.gov are not big enough disasters to cost someone a job, what IS a big enough disaster in this administration to cost someone a job?

EDH said...

If heads must roll, then you must pick the people with the roundest heads.

Tim in Vermont, read...

Low-Information Leadership at Peggy Noonan's blog.

tim in vermont said...

" My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour'd of an ass."

Althouse's character in A Midsummers Night's Dream

PB Reader said...

As it piles up higher and deeper around Obama, why shouldn't we expect the CEO to resign?

Because he has no shame.

Bob Boyd said...

If there was ever a time to lead by example...

Quayle said...

Serving up heads on a platter:

another blow to their deep commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Trying to norm on a working website is nothing but pure microcode-aggression.

MadisonMan said...

Withering sarcasm

Neutrality can be cruel.

Craig Landon said...

Featuring Valerie Jarrett as Madame Defarge.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Jesus I'm sick of seeing females faces every where you look in the Obama administration.

But I suppose correlation isn't necessarily causation.

tim in vermont said...

EDH, I rarely read Noonan, but I did at your recommendation. My first response was "What was her first clue?" But reading it, it is devastating in its description of WH meetings. It makes a lot of sense in terms of what has actually unfolded over the past couple of months.

Hagar said...

I don't know how to express it, but no, I don't think "heads will roll."
It has something to do with Tim in Vermont's comment above. It cannot be happening, so it is not happening, and there is nothing to blame anyone for.

Henry said...

From the article: But in the West Wing, the desire for an explanation about how an administration that prides itself on competence bungled so badly remains an urgent mission. (my emphasis)

Prides itself on competence? Look no farther.

How can such a belief become embedded in an organization when all evidence of competence is lacking? Obama should fire the media. "You! You betrayed us! You fooled us into thinking we were competent!"

Henry said...

A follow up, also from the article:

None of those top aides were unceremoniously dispatched in public like Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, whom Mr. Obama fired in 2010 after the general, then the top commander of American troops in Afghanistan, and his staff were quoted in Rolling Stone magazine as making dismissive comments about White House officials.

It was all about maintaining the illusion of competence.

Carnifex said...

There's a reason messiahs die. By the end of their usefulness they are resented by all.

Hagar said...

Jimmy Carter still thinks he was a very successful president.

tim in vermont said...

I didn't see the complete failure of the website coming, I admit it. I saw the cancellations coming, You can find me all over the internet months and years ago, listing "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" as proof that Obama was a liar.

I didn't see the loss of Drs coming. It didn't occur to me that one way to cut costs is to limit the number of Drs available to plans. That scares the bejeesus out of me, since my daughter has been in and out of top children's hospitals her whole life, and the idea that a local hospital can deal with conditions rarely seen by national specialists is horrifying to me.

William said...

Thanks to EDH for posting that Peggy Noonan piece at 8:47. I'm not Ms. Noonan's biggest fan, but her take down was spot on.........Anyway, when the end comes for whoever on the Obama team it will be more like assisted suicide than an execution. The scapegoat will not end up in the halls of infamy but in the lobby just off the Oval Office.

Matthew Sablan said...

Honestly, with the money blown, an easier way to bend the cost curve down would have been to create a government scholarship to educate maybe a million doctors or so instead of this. The sudden glut of trained doctors would lower costs and improve access. Maybe require them to put in a year with the armed services or under served populations or something so it wasn't a total loss to the government, but even then, my idea would probably cost less.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Boyd said...

"Better than nothing is a high standard.” – Ann Althouse

Obamacare isn't going to meet that standard.

hombre said...

The defining characteristic of massive criminal conspiracies like the Obama Administration is that the participants react to crises by lying, stonewalling and waiting - assuming killing people to be an impractical option.

No firings or serious disciplinary actions lest there be a domino effect implicating players right up to the boss. (Not that the Obamamedia would necessarily take notice.)

cold pizza said...

Heads WILL roll. Assuming, of course, you replace "heads" with "golf balls." -CP

dbp said...

" the president and his aides have said they are not interested in conducting a witch hunt in the middle of the effort to rescue the website."

The thing about a witch hunt is that there are no actual witches but rather a hysteria to pin blame, somewhere. In this case, the "witch" sits in the oval room. What better way to distract attention from the main malefactor than to have a nice purging of lesser incompetents?

Hagar said...

Obamacare will tank, since things will only get worse as we get past the "roll-out" and into the actual proposed workings of the system. The question is: What comes after?

The only thing for sure is that Obama and Harry Reid have succeeded in destroying the old system, such as it was.
So, what will Congress come up with next?
And whatever it is, will anyone be in a mood to listen, or will we just go to each surviving as best he can, and may the Devil take the hindmost?

Edmund said...

Matthew, the idea that we can greatly expand the number of doctors is not feasible, if you want them trained to US standards. In a nutshell, the major facility needed for training a physician is not classrooms, but busy hospitals. The last two years of medical school and residency need access to busy hospitals so the trainees can be a part of lots and lots of cases. And every major urban area in the US already has one or more medical schools and residency programs in the hospitals. You can't do a good pediatric residency at a small community or rural hospital.

Edmund said...

Oh, and if the President was serious about getting things done, he'd fire everyone on the list given above. And probably most of their staff.

The decision that doomed the website was when HHS decided that the Center for Medicare Services would do the systems engineering and integration in house, despite having no experience in doing it. Systems engineers are generally older, with a lot of experience. And as such, make pretty high salaries. A good systems architect can make $200k/yr. or more and so the government usually contracts that function out.

MayBee said...

I'd guess that whatever Obama was doing the night of Benghazi is what he was doing when people discussed Obamacare problems.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...


The joke is that by searching for heads at this late date, no clear accountability was established up front. This is an exercise in scapegoating to cover the world class management failure.

Big Mike said...

Among the people who urgently need new assignments in the private sector:

Whoever thought that a federal agency could be its own large system integrator.

Whoever picked CGI. (Hint "best value" is government-speak for not the lowest bidder.)

Clyde said...

"Mike Hash? Is there a Mike Hash here? Has anybody seen Mike Hash? What do you mean, 'Obama stole it'?! I'm talking about Mike Hash?"

Mike Hunt was not available for comment.

Clyde said...

And the carolers are the White House Youth, singing "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" from Cabaret:

Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come when the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me

Tomorrow belongs
Tomorrow belongs
Tomorrow belongs to me!

mccullough said...

It only makes sense to fire people if you can find better people. What remotely competent person would take any of these positions at this point?

cf said...

The pikes must hoist the head of Nancy Pelosi, because the problem is not with the rollout, but the hideous Medusa head of tangled law that was written in her dungeons. (We still have never been told that story, the actual crew and their agony and ecstasy of including every last ratchet possible to make the monster law lock us all in)

I am now figuring, once it becomes clear theLaw itself is the catastrophe, Mr. Obama can say truly, "Hey, I was just the salesman, how could I know it was such a bunch of slurp?" And the mob can turn to the actual crafters.

YoungHegelian said...

Apparently, a witch hunt is just the right distraction for the holiday season.

Well, if you want to find the proper target for a witch hunt, why not just ask the newt in the corner office.

Skeptical Voter said...

Only four Althouse? Come on-- in North Korea they execute them by the dozens when they fail or otherwise displease the Dear Leader.

America's Politico said...

We cannot fire women or Asians. So no to Sabelius or Park. Get the website running with daily success updates. No fires. We win 2014. The Clinton's back in 2016. Bob your uncle.