Thursday, April 10, 2014

Last Call For Secretary Sebelius

Now that the enrollment period for Obamacare is over, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning her cabinet post to be replaced by Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell.

Officials said Ms. Sebelius, 65, made the decision to resign and was not forced out. But the frustration at the White House over her performance had become increasingly clear, as administration aides worried that the crippling problems at, the website set up to enroll Americans in insurance exchanges, would result in lasting damage to the president’s legacy.

Even last week, as Mr. Obama triumphantly announced that enrollments in the exchanges had exceeded seven million, she did not appear next to him for the news conference in the Rose Garden.

The president is hoping that Ms. Burwell, 48, a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy, will bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department. The budget office, which she has overseen since April of last year, is deeply involved in developing and carrying out health care policy.

“The president wants to make sure we have a proven manager and relentless implementer in the job over there, which is why he is going to nominate Sylvia,” said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff.\
Last month, Ms. Sebelius approached Mr. Obama and began a series of conversations about her future, Mr. McDonough said. The secretary told the president that the March 31 deadline for sign-ups under the health care law — and rising enrollment numbers — provided an opportunity for change, and that he would be best served by someone who was not the target of so much political ire, Mr. McDonough said.

Nobody should be surprised by this.  Somebody had to pay for the problems with the website in October and November, and it was clear with Sebelius being completely out of the loop in the last several weeks that the President wasn't going to force her out, but those conversations had to have included the suggestion that she consider stepping down, and of course the time to line up a replacement.  Also, I can't imagine Sebelius wanting to stick around, considering how much she's been savaged by the left as well as the right.

That now leaves a confirmation battle for Burwell, and it still means that with the new Senate rules, there needs to be 51 votes.  That may or may not actually happen given the post of Surgeon General still has yet to be filled, so it won't be a slam dunk in an election year either.

The reaction of course is exactly what you'd expect.

Because 10 million fewer uninsured is something the President should resign over.

Angus The King Maker

Me, on Charlie Cook's call for a GOP Senate wipeout of Dems back on March 6:

In other words, Cook is predicting the GOP getting 58 seats if everything breaks their way.  That would put them in range of 60, especially if such a crushing margin caused Maine Independent Angus King to flip from caucusing with the Dems.  That would be 59.

The Hill's Alexander Bolton, this morning:

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats, will decide after the midterm elections whether to switch sides and join the Republicans.

He is leaving open the possibility of aligning himself with the GOP if control of the upper chamber changes hands.“I’ll make my decision at the time based on what I think is best for Maine,” King told The Hill Wednesday after voting with Republicans to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure at the center for the 2014 Democratic campaign agenda.

King’s remarks are a clear indication that congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle will have to woo the 70-year-old senator in order to recruit him to their side.

So Angus King is even more of an opportunist than I originally thought.  He will caucus with whichever party controls the Senate, so if the GOP does pick up six seats, he'll bolt to join them.

Then again, he did give that game away in 2012.

King said after the 2012 elections that being in the majority was important to him, when he announced his decision to caucus with Senate Democrats, giving them control of 55 seats.

“The outcome of last week’s election in some ways makes this decision relatively easy. In the situation where one party has a clear majority and effectiveness is an important criteria, affiliating with the majority makes the most sense,” King said at the time.

That will remain in play, apparently.  New tag: Angus "Flipper" King.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Pat Robertson just wants this "crypto-Muslim" Obama nightmare to end, and he's hoping a little divine intervention will do the trick.

On Wednesday, the right-wing televangelist asked God to "deliver us" from Barack Obama's presidency.

"We need to do something to pray to be delivered from this president," he said on the 700 Club. "He is a disaster, an absolute disaster. I mean I don't know, Democrat, Republican or whatever, this country is into serious decline unless something dramatic is done about it."

Yeah, advocating for someone to somehow stop the Obama presidency isn't dangerous at all, folks.  "Won't someone rid me of this troublesome black president?"


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