Mission accomplished

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By John Barnhart

    The day after the Nov. 30 deadline for fixing HealthCare.gov passed, President Barack Obama held a press conference to proclaim victory. The day after that, a Wall Street Journal editorial noted that one thing was missing — a “Mission Accomplished” banner in the background.
    We all remember President George W. Bush’s photo op appearance on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf in early May, 2003, after American troops had toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. A large banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” was festooned on the carrier’s island. As it turned out, the mission was far from over and the worst was yet to come as a large Islamic extremist insurgency broke out that was only quelled by a troop surge plus a new strategy to involve Iraqi tribal leaders in the fight against the extremists.
    The same thing is true of President Obama’s exercise in self-congratulation. According to news reports, HealthCare.gov’s performance has improved since its rollout on Oct. 1 when it hardly worked at all. However, its performance is still pathetic when compared with websites run by major online retailers like Amazon.com. We’re getting into the height of the Christmas shopping season and, if you go on Amazon.com’s website right now, you’ll get instant response. The site works quickly and accurately and it’s available 100 percent of the time. I bet Amazon.com is getting far more traffic, this time of year, than HealthCare.gov gets. The Obama administration bragged that more than 700,000 people used the site in one day early last week, but refused to say how many of those people actually registered for medical insurance.
    The Obama Administration’s definition of “Mission Accomplished” is that the site stays up 95 percent of the time without crashing. It still gets sluggish under heavy loads and asks for users’ e-mail addresses so it can notify them when it’s not clogged. Imagine what would happen if a major online retailer’s site did that to customers trying to order clothes or electronics. According to a CBS news report last week, people trying to register for insurance through this site are still ending up resorting to paper forms.
    Then, there’s the problem of HealthCare.gov sending garbled or inaccurate information to insurers from people who have actually managed to navigate the site and sign up for insurance. Last week the Obama administration crowed that they have fixed 80 percent of these problems.  Can you imagine what would happen to a private online retailer that messed up customers’ orders 20 percent of the time? It wouldn’t take long for them to go out of business.
    It’s no wonder that “Democrats” are still running scared because of ObamaCare. I’ve heard that Republicans are working to recruit doctors to run against “Democrats” in Senate races in hopes of using ObamaCare as a tool to recapture the Senate.
    We still have a long way to go before the 2014 elections, but it’s obvious that Barack Obama has dug himself a deep hole he needs to find a way to climb out of. A Rasmussen Poll, last week, recorded the lowest approval rating he has ever received. The negative gap (more people disapprove than approve) between those who strongly approve of President Obama’s job performance and those who strongly disapprove is greater than it has ever been. A poll that came out on Dec. 3 showed 81 percent of those polled wanted ObamaCare repealed or changed. A CNN poll showed that only 40 percent of those polled believe President Obama is competent to manage the government effectively.
    He won’t be able to talk his way out of this mess, either, using a balloon filled with the hot air of his own empty rhetoric to lift him out of this hole. His credibility is in ruins because he lied to millions of Americans about whether they could keep their existing insurance. He said over and over, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” As we know, that turned out not to be true.
    When you lie to people, and they catch you, it’s very hard to get them to believe you again.