April 10, 2014

Kathleen Sebelius resigns as HSS Secretary; Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be nominated.

"The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, persuade a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall."

Burwell is the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Does she have what it takes to give Democrats the boost they need in the elections? She's "a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy" who's supposed to "bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department."

63 comments:

RecChief said...

not that this is a big shock.

john said...

A Kansas-educated woman, liberal or not, has no place amongst Ivy Leaguers. She should be happy get out of there, even though she will have to ride home under the Obamabus.

This is the first and only note of sympathy I will write for her.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Send off tune

Chef Mojo said...

Burwell's confirmation hearings should prove interesting. She's a wonk, and thus fair game. The Republicans are hopefully going to take advantage of the hearings to get some straight answers on Obamacare. Burrell can't dodge without looking unprepared or - worse - idiotic.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Previous song was too mean. My apologies. This captures my mood better.

It's a start.

YoungHegelian said...

She's "a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy"

Oh sure, that's why Obamacare, especially the web site, was so fucked up --- because they didn't have an Ivy Leaguer with a background in economic policy running the show!

These folks are so taken are with their own Wile E Coyote level of Sooper Geneeus that the reality on the ground far outstrips any possible satire.

chuck said...

Born and raised in Hinton, West Virginia

Hey, my dad was born between the railroad tracks and a whore house in Hinton, WV.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Oh good- another Ivy League appointee. She will bring a fresh perspective!

Fandor said...

What a way to go!

PB Reader said...

She's the one that gave the order to shutdown the government last fall.

She definitely knows how government works, but does she know how it should work?

I'd hope they'd get someone from outside who has actual experience, not someone who's hopped from position to position inside democrat circles.

At this point, being from Harvard should not be a plus.

Lydia said...

Here's Burwell in an interview from last December. Certainly has personal appeal going for her.

Bruce Hayden said...

Not sure what economic policy has to do with running the agency. Much better to have had an MBA, and worked as a high level manager in a big organization. Then, again, she would more likely be a Republican then. Burwell can't be as bad as Sebelius. But that is a pretty low bar, only not passed by the scientist turned Energy Secretary, and, maybe Eric Holder.

Sebelius is a classic example of rising to your level of incompetence, and, then, in her case, above it. But, then, what do you expect from a former community organizer turned chief executive of this country? Not having ever experienced managerial competence, he is unlikely to recognize it, or even its value.

The Drill SGT said...


I can Hiss at her, but I think it's HHS, not HSS

ngtrains said...

At least, not another politician

Bob Ellison said...

Why now, after 7.1 million people have signed up?

Michael K said...

The confirmation hearing will be x-rated.

mesquito said...

I suppose Burwell has been writing those preposterous Obama budgets?

Joe said...

Expect Burwell to "come clean" on the real numbers, which are probably half that claimed for signups and less than a third for people actually paying.

garage mahal said...

Sebeilus is resigning now because she won.

The Drill SGT said...

garage mahal said...
Sebeilus is resigning now because she won.


she won? So when Obama took a victory lap around the Rose Garden last week, the Winner wasn't invited?

Big Mike said...

How about a bunch of Senate Dems join with the Republicans to tell Obama to withdraw her nomination and send someone who knows how to fix things that are broken?

Big Mike said...

OMG! Garage is channeling Ezra Klein.

wendybar said...

Suuuurrrreeee.....now that 7.5million "signed up" for Obamascare??? If that number were a true number of who paid into it, she would be promoted, not forced to resign. Did you see her at the Obama press conference gloating that there were 7.1 Million?? I think not.

Patrick said...

"an intense focus and management acumen to the department."

Funny. I'd have thought that they'd have looked for that the FIRST time.

cubanbob said...

garage mahal said...
Sebeilus is resigning now because she won.

4/10/14, 7:38 PM

More likely scared of being jailed for contempt of Congress.

rhhardin said...

I was hoping for Steven Colbert.

Lem said...

Eric CantorVerified account
‏@GOPLeader
I thank Secretary Sebelius for her service. She had an impossible task: nobody can make Obamacare work.

augustus said...

Just like the US left Vietnam because it won.

Mark said...

Sebeilus is resigning now because she won.

Declare victory then shoot the Generals. Awe inspiring.

khesanh0802 said...

Sebelius is wise to get out with the appearance of finally having achieved success. The facts of the sign ups are going to be out later this spring along with the actual numbers of enrollees. The profiles that are emerging: an increase in Medicare eligible enrollees; older and sicker enrollees; and enrollment well below the number of cancelled individual policies are going to lead to another round of premium increases and an angry response from the electorate. Sebelius will be happy not to be there. I think she probably did a pretty good job considering the constant interference from Obama's political staff. She was probably over her head in the job but she got no help from the White House.
I do get a kick out of the litany - read WH talking points - of success claims: kids on policies (what's that cost a couple of bucks?); eliminating pre-existing conditions ( you could always get a high risk policy only you had to pay for it yourself); and lowered "health care costs" ( which started well in advance of Obamacare ). What about the 40+ uninsured we were all so concerned with? Nary a word.

Phil 3:14 said...

My work is done here!

Elliott A said...

She did write the budget that was defeated 413-2. What does that tell us.

rhhardin said...

Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor, featuring boobs.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Sort of sad. She was one of the best gifts Republicans ever had.

I see the USA Today poll published this morning gives NoBamaCare a staggering 37% approval. I'm sure Sylvia is looking on the bright side. Almost nowhere to go but up!

garage mahal said...

It's all over but the shouting....about fake signup numbers? As if insurance companies are reporting bogus enrollment figures?

Valiant effort I guess, if trying to get people to not signup for health coverage can be considered valiant. Republicans pushed all their chips in and bet everything, and got nothing. No shot at repeal, no alternative plan, no real reason to vote for them. Well played righties. Well played.

khesanh0802 said...

40+million, that is!

RecChief said...

@Big Mike
Now you know what little Ezra meant by "Explanatory Journalism"


hahahahahahahahahaha

Humperdink said...

@Garage. From my perspective, Mr. Mahal, the battle has just begin. Obama took a preemie victory lap and you have followed him. Gloat while you can.

Paul said...

Good riddance to Sebelius, but to me it's just re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic.

Obamacare will bankrupt itself. Just give it time.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I hope she retires to a life of prayer and penance...

RecChief said...

yeah Garage Obamacare is so good that they won't let you cancel

Drago said...

RecChief said...
yeah Garage Obamacare is so good that they won't let you cancel

And the Soviets had the Berlin wall built to make sure nobody could sneak IN.

Yep.

That's the ticket.

Jason said...

Baghdad Bob, you magnificent bastard!!!!

MadisonMan said...

The Republicans are hopefully going to take advantage of the hearings to get some straight answers on Obamacare. Burrell can't dodge without looking unprepared or - worse - idiotic.

The Republicans will be said to be waging a war on women.

rcommal said...

"bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department."

Well, my, my. Because that wasn't what was brought before? As opposed to what was brought before? Or, what?

I take this ("bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department") as sly admission. Let's see how well or poorly that sly flies. Either way, the reaction might, possibly, be even more interesting than "bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department."

We shall see.

eric said...

I keep wondering, who do the administration's lies work on? They are so obvious and unimaginative. Surely no one is buying the schtick anymore.

Then I come here and read garage mahal and think, "Oh! That's why they do it."

Tyrone Slothrop said...

RAND Comes Clean: Obamacare's Exchanges Enrolled Only 1.4 Million Previously Uninsured Individuals

garage, the article was preceded by the following "Forbes thought of the day." I think they're talking to you.

“ Truth is a gem that is found at a great depth; whilst on the surface of the world all things are weighed by the false scale of custom. ”-- Lord Byron

David said...

ngtrains said...
At least, not another politician


Really? Not elected, but that's not the only kind of politician.

As best I can tell from a quick look (the NYT did not deem her background at all relevant to its story), she has spent nearly her entire adult life in government and foundations. She did do a short ticket punching stint and McKinsey, but that seems to be all the private experience she's had. High government posts and very toney foundations, to be sure, but little exposure to those grubby profit seekers.

Most worrisome, she has never run anything. Never been in charge. She's always been in a staff position.

Unfortunately the profit seekers have done a much better job of building and running the kind of structure Obamacare requires, technical and human.

Will she be better than Sibelius?

Sibelius "attended the Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati and graduated from Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a B.A. in political science. She later earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas." Burwell is Harvard and Oxford. That counts for a lot in Obama's Washington.

Maybe Burwell will do fine. But it will be an upset if she does.

John Lynch said...

Health care, as a problem, will never be solved. It's like poverty. In fact, it is poverty. Some people can't afford it.

Like poverty, it will be a perennial issue that will never go away. Think the NHS solved the health problem in the UK? Nope. Still talked about.

Obamacare had no real, quantifiable goals that can measure its success or failure. People throw numbers around but it is unclear what they mean. I had to re-enroll in an insurance plan but I had insurance before. Am I typical? Dunno. No way to know. But I'm part of the "7 million" figure, aren't I?

Something like Social Security or even Medicare can tell us what is actually going on inside the program. This is a mess, and I think it's an intentional mess. We aren't supposed to know if it is working or not.

Iapetus said...

When Sarah Palin left office early as Governor of Alaska, having been harassed by what proved to be frivolous and false legal complaints, the Dems labelled her a quitter. What does that make Sebelius? Regardless of the numbers on Obamacare, her leaving sure doesn't make her a "winner". More like a "quitter."

gregq said...

garage mahal said...

It's all over but the shouting....about fake signup numbers? As if insurance companies are reporting bogus enrollment figures?

Oh, really? You have insurance company numbers? Please, do share!

But, no, you are absolutely right. ObamaCare is a total success, all the voters love it, or else want single payer, and that's what every Democrat candidate should be saying and pushing in November.

I expect you will be out there demanding that every Democrat candidate toe that line, right?

EDH said...

Meet the new "bossy". Same as the old "bossy".

MayBee said...

Are the Exchange numbers coming from insurance companies? I thought they were coming from the administration .

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
Sebeilus is resigning now because she won."

Just like the recall efforts in Wisconsin won!

I can't wait to see the Democratic win in November!

LarsPorsena said...

Usually this kind of move is done on a Friday afternoon. I wonder why they started a day early.

damikesc said...

Burwell is the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Does she have what it takes to give Democrats the boost they need in the elections? She's "a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy" who's supposed to "bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department.

She also decided to be a total bitch during the shutdown by forgetting that the Feds don't OWN the land and national parks. They are TRUSTEES of the land.

She should not be approved for any position whatsoever.

MattL said...

Pretty sure Ezra meant that Obamacare is #WINNING.

I hear there's even a new mandated treatment: Tiger blood.

Hagar said...

Britain's National Health Service is more than being "talked about."
66 years on and there is hardly ever a Prime Minister's Questions (every Wednesday when Parliament is in session) that harsh words are not being exchanged about the NHS and its poor performance.

Drago said...

John Lynch: "Obamacare had no real, quantifiable goals that can measure its success or failure."

Oh yes there are real, quantifiable goals and metrics that could be used to accurately track "success or failure".

Which is precisely why obama and his crew made sure those metrics would not be measured.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

As posted on Drudge, with a link to an Ezra Klein tweet: 'Kathleen Sebelius Is Resigning Because Obamacare Has Won'

This is a *political* statement, for political purpose. We won; [someone else] lost.

A non-political phrasing would be something like "..because Obamacare is a success; we have achieved our announced goals...."

Shows that with the speaker, having a political opponent lose is more important than having all citizens gain.

RecChief said...

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...
As posted on Drudge, with a link to an Ezra Klein tweet: 'Kathleen Sebelius Is Resigning Because Obamacare Has Won'

This is a *political* statement, for political purpose. We won; [someone else] lost.

...

Shows that with the speaker, having a political opponent lose is more important than having all citizens gain.


Don't you think that it also pulls the curtain back (for the umpteenth time) showing Klein for what he is? By implicitly aligning himselwith the "winning side", which as you point out is obamacare and not American citizens, he reveals himself as a partisan propagandist rather than a journalist. Again.

RecChief said...

I'm just curious what the White House said about Sebelius back when she was nominated. Wondering if "proven leader", "effective manager" or other congratulatory descriptors were used at the time, and what were they? Seems odd that "an intense focus and management acumen" are the descriptors used for Burwell in such a way that forces one to think those are qualities that Sebelius didn't have. So Valerie Jarrett didn't pick the most focused manager for HHS the first time around? Another failure for the Obama administration

285exp said...

Heckuva job Kathy.