I love the smell of resignation in the evening

Smells like victory:

Obamacare has won. And that’s why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius can resign.

Calls for Sebelius’s resignation were almost constant after Obamacare’s catastrophic launch. The problem wasn’t just that Sebelius had presided over the construction of a fantastically expensive web site that flatly didn’t work. It was that she didn’t know healthcare.gov was going to instantly, systemically fail. And so the White House didn’t know that healthcare.gov was going to instantly, systemically fail. The demands that Sebelius to step down — or be fired — were as deafening inside the building as outside of it.

But President Obama refused. As National Journal’s Major Garrett reported, Obama believes that “scaring people with a ceremonial firing deepens fear, turns allies against one another, makes them risk-averse, and saps productivity.” Moreover, there was too much to be done to fire one of the few people who knew how to finish the job. Sebelius would stay. The White House wouldn’t panic in ways that made it harder to save the law.

91 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    No, no, no. This is Obamacare destroying jobs!

  2. 2
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Top of Google News this moment: Sebelius Resigns After Troubles Over Health Site. The New York Times.

    Your liberal media at work.

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m guessing that, like most cabinet members who have served 4 years, Sebelius was ready to step down after the 2012 election, but decided to see things through until the exchanges came online. Now that that’s happened, frankly, all of the big decisions are over and it’s just a bunch of tweaking from this point on.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    The White House wouldn’t panic in ways that made it harder to save the law.

    It may be a good day to post that meme again — you know the one.

  5. 5
    Joseph Nobles says:

    BREAKING: Sebelius resigns after Kansas City chimpanzee escape.

  6. 6
    WaterGirl says:

    Here’s what I said in an earlier thread, and I can’t improve on it:

    And Sebelius can leave with her head held high. She can leave with the law she helped build looking, shockingly, like a success.

    Shockingly??? Ezra is such an asshole.

  7. 7
    rikyrah says:

    7.5 million baby!!!

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @Mnemosyne: Can we start speculating that she resigned to start preparing for a 2016 Presidential run?

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah:

    Where’s that number from? First I’ve seen of it.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    Lamb linked to that below and although it got off to a rocky start, maybe she’ll be remembered for the 7.5 million that signed up.. History is strange like that.

  11. 11
    RobertDSC-Power Mac G5 Dual says:

    Thank you, Madam Secretary.

  12. 12
    dmsilev says:

    @WaterGirl: Ezra invested a fair amount of time and energy into becoming “the liberal healthcare wonk who was convinced that the rollout disaster could sink the whole law”. Can’t let an investment like that go to waste, now can we?

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dmsilev:

    I kinda wish she would:

    “We’ll have Elmo give Chuck a special briefing.”

    Plus she’s a great dresser.

  14. 14
    metricpenny says:

    She has to go. And the timing is good — after the close of the first open enrollment period.

    There is no way that system shouldn’t have been tested prior to roll-out. She could have enlisted everyone in the HHS department, and others, to test the system one Saturday prior to launch. And, when it was revealed it wasn’t ready, the roll-out could have been delayed.

    All Democrats were tainted by the botched launch. Okay. I can’t speak for all Democrats, but this one feels the taint.

  15. 15
    dmsilev says:

    @Baud: ACASignups.net, your one-stop shop for up to the minute numbers. Current estimate is 7.59 million (through today), and the extended enrollment period has another 5 days to run.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @dmsilev:

    Thanks! I wonder why I didn’t get those “breaking” news alerts from the media on my phone.

    Oh, wait…no, I don’t.

  17. 17
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @dmsilev: That’s the first thing I thought – or to be Hillary’s veep.

  18. 18
    Sad_Dem says:

    I was surprised–I didn’t hear any statement about how the administration was behind her 100%. (Acceptable alternative: “He has my full support and deepest appreciation.”)

  19. 19
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @dmsilev: It would be irresponsible not to.

  20. 20
    Sad_Dem says:

    @metricpenny: “this one feels the taint.” Phrasing!

  21. 21
    jheartney says:

    Heard a report on this from Nice, Polite Republicans (NPR) that was all but sneering about what a disaster the site was and how a team other than Sebelius’ was brought in to save her bacon. There was a brief sniffy mention of how the site managed to go on to register a mere 7 odd million, but mostly it was chortling at Sebelius getting humiliated.

    I will never again give money to those assholes.

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    or to be Hillary’s veep.

    Gotta say, that would be a-awesome-mazing, an all-female D ticket in 2016. I don’t think it’s going to happen, in fact if Hillary runs (which I’m not at all convinced of) and gets the nomination, I suspect she’d go with a fairly small-c conservative choice for VP. I think she’s more likely to go with, say, Julián or Joaquin Castro than Sebelius or another woman.

  23. 23
    Pen says:

    @jheartney: I hate to break it to you, but they’ve been this way since at least the start of Bush II’s second term.

  24. 24
    Rommie says:

    I think this is going to turn out great, when the Senate has a hissy fit about approving her replacement. Please, tell us more about the disaster you have to save us from!

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Please god let Evan Bayh not be on the short list this time.

    Since my gramma always said you should always say something nice about everyone, I am pleasantly surprised at how low-profile Evan has been since leaving the Senate. Also too, Joe Lieberman.

  26. 26
    Keith G says:

    @dmsilev:

    Ezra invested a fair amount of time and energy into becoming “the liberal healthcare wonk who was convinced that the rollout disaster could sink the whole law”. Can’t let an investment like that go to waste, now can we?

    Not exactly a fair characterization. Klein was one of…oh..let’s say…several thousands who were saying, “Man this roll out sucks. They need to fix it.”

    In early November he typed:

    Of course, behind all this sits a fix that might actually solve a lot of the problems without creating any new ones: Fixing HealthCare.Gov. A working Web site would mean people getting cancellations could see if they could get a better deal in the marketplace — and many of them can. A working Web site would create a flood of winners who could get their stories into the media and ratchet down the pressure on congressional Democrats. And a working Web site would restore some of the congressional Democrats’ faith in the Obama administration and give them reason to resist passing any laws that could undermine the now-functional law.

    My Emphasis.

    Hardly a Cassandra.

  27. 27
    Ken says:

    @dmsilev:

    Ezra invested a fair amount of time and energy into becoming “the liberal healthcare wonk who was convinced that the rollout disaster could sink the whole law”. Can’t let an investment like that go to waste, now can we?

    Personally I’d keep my head down and hope everyone forgot how wrong I’d been, but tastes differ.

  28. 28
    catclub says:

    @dmsilev: oooh, fun!

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Oh lord. Rachel Maddow going full concern troll on Sibellius

  30. 30
    catclub says:

    5 full years is a long time for any cabinet officer. Anyone except Holder been in longer? I wonder if Holder will go the full 8 years.

  31. 31
    RepubAnon says:

    If the Democrats learned that it’s a bad idea to quickly force, say Shirley Sharrod to resign – that’s a good thing.

    On a side note, whenever the Kristians (fake Christians) try and start another moral panic, perhaps we should mention the great Dungeons & Dragons scare campaign:

    Pulling described D&D as “a fantasy role-playing game which uses demonology, witchcraft, voodoo, murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, assassination, insanity, sex perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, satanic type rituals, gambling, barbarism, cannibalism, sadism, desecration, demon summoning, necromantics, divination and other teachings”.

    Pulling and BADD launched an intensive media campaign through conservative Christian outlets as well as mainstream media, including an appearance on current affairs show 60 Minutes opposite D&D creator Gary Gygax.

    …snip…

    “The view of roleplaying games has changed over time,” says Smith, “mostly because the predicted ‘streets awash with the blood of innocents as a horde of demonically-possessed roleplayers laid waste to the country’ simply never materialised.”
    Source: BBC: The great 1980s Dungeons & Dragons panic

    Does this template campaign sound familiar?

  32. 32
    Baud says:

    @catclub:

    He seems like he’s in a fighting mood, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

  33. 33
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Ken: Forget it, Jake, it’s Punditown. Your career can only be enhanced by being wrong about everything, as long as the wrongness is all in the conservative direction.

  34. 34
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Baud:

    The White House wouldn’t panic in ways that made it harder to save the law.

    Unlike, say, Ezra “OMG the web site crashed we’re doomed! Dooooooooooooooooomed!!!” Klein.

  35. 35
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Evan Bayh

    Joe Lieberman

    Now why did you have to go and do that?

  36. 36
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Sad_Dem: TMI, right?

  37. 37
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Oh lord. Rachel Maddow going full concern troll on Sibellius

    This is apparently the Official Progressive Position.

    Also, all hypothetical/speculative successors are flawed. Except Howard Dean.

  38. 38
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Bobby Thomson: I remember Ezra advising Republicans to end the shutdown, because they were missing the opportunity to attack Dems for the website. Good times.

  39. 39
    muddy says:

    I appreciate having a grownup as president. It’s refreshing, I’ll say that.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    The story was ok. Were the comments crazy?

  41. 41
    raven says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Not true at all.

  42. 42
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Baud: It’s as if there were two different blogs.

  43. 43
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Keith G: Well, he’s obviously not a Cassandra, because his predictions of doom didn’t pan out. The metaphor you are looking for is Sully Chicken Little, and he most definitely was one, your cherry-picked quote notwithstanding.

  44. 44
    Jay C says:

    @Rommie:

    Speaking of which, who do we think Pres. Obama will/should nominate to replace Ms Sebelius? For me, I’d like Barry to put up some radical, in-your-face, ultra-reformist-advocate: just to get maximum mileage out of Republican sputttering and head-exploding, but who knows…..

  45. 45
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    The FP’ers there have been doing some good work lately. They were never as bad as some of the diarists and commenters. Biggest problem the FP’ers have is that they can’t or won’t stand up to some of the more idiots on that site. Or that was their biggest problem. It’s been years since I was a regular over there, so I can’t really speak to how things are now.

  46. 46
    Hill Dweller says:

    @raven: Saying the Obama admin ‘snatched defeat from the jaws of victory’ was a bit over the top.

  47. 47
    Baud says:

    @Jay C:

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell

  48. 48
    Keith G says:

    @Hill Dweller: Jesus, people. He wasn’t advising the GOP. He was actually being derivative and saying what most of the pundit class was noticing….the shutdown was a loser and about the only topic that was spinning in the GOP’s favor at that time was concerns about ACA.

    Is it Klein’s job to blow smoke up the ass of every progressive in the country for every topic? Are we all that shallow and insecure?

  49. 49
    gbear says:

    @JPL:

    maybe she’ll be remembered for the 7.5 million that signed up..

    Maybe she’ll be remembered for getting ‘only’ 7.5 million people signed up once 30 million people are using Obamacare..

  50. 50
    Garbo says:

    @ArchTeryx:

    Forget it, Jake. It’s Punditown.

    Your Internet is in the mail, sir.

  51. 51
    Keith G says:

    @Bobby Thomson: They were not predictions of doom. That is just strange.

    I do not need or want writers to hold my hand and tell me everything Obama/Hillary/whomever does is the best thing ever. Nor do I want them to be petulant or consistently pessimistic.

    Klein is one of those writers that although I do not agree with every notion he puts forth, the arc of his work shows thoughtfulness and a desire to deal intelligently with complicated issues.

  52. 52
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Keith G:

    Is it Klein’s job to blow smoke up the ass of every progressive in the country for every topic? Are we all that shallow and insecure?

    There is a veritable chasm between what Klein was doing during the botched roll out and “blowing smoke up the ass of every progressive in the country”.

    No one, not even the President’s most ardent fans, pretended the roll out was anything other than awful. But most people seemed to grasp it wasn’t the demise of the law because people procrastinate when signing up and it would eventually be fixed.

    Conversely, Klein completely melted down, posting nearly daily hysterical rants, in addition to his doom and gloom on MSNBC.

  53. 53
    amk says:

    fantastically expensive web site

    really? compared to what?

    always wrong klein.

  54. 54
    dopey-o says:

    @dmsilev: Warren – Sibelius 2016! Sign me up! Where do i send a check?

  55. 55
    JoyfulA says:

    @Pen: Nah, NPR’s been bad since at least the first GWB term. That’s when I quit listening and quit giving.

  56. 56
    Anya says:

    Chuck Todd is such a douche. Lawrence was interviewing him and he kept going on and on about how Sibelius was pushed out. Why would she stay? The rollout turned out to be a huge success despite the earlier hiccups. It’s a tiring and thankless job. She doesn’t need to deal with any of the morons in Congress anymore.

    I have the highest respect for Sibelius. I will never, ever forgive Jon Steward for the way he disrespected her. He treats every wingnut he interviews with the utmost respect, yet, he beat up on an honest and hardworking public servant.

  57. 57
    jl says:

    related topic interesting news:

    Health System Efficiency: Saving Money Can Save Lives Too
    Livio Di Matteo, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative blog

    ” It turns out that having a more efficient health care system is not just about sustainability or bean counting, it also can save lives.”

    http://worthwhile.typepad.com/.....s-too.html

    Found via Mark Thoma’s Economists View blog

  58. 58

    Sorry, must go completely off topic. My book has just passed Bill O’Reilly’s latest conservative, uh, offering, and at this moment is the #1 bestselling children’s ebook on Amazon.

    A) Suck it, O’Reilly. MY book doesn’t get remaindered. People actually like reading it.

    B) I am officially Bigger Than Jesus.

    The appropriate screenshot.

  59. 59
    JoyfulA says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I didn’t see any book there with the author Frankensteinbeck! Are you sure?

    (Congratulations!)

  60. 60

    @JoyfulA:
    Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m A Supervillain. That one is mine. The one at #1. Ahead of O’Reilly’s artificially sales inflated Jesus book, which is #2.

  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Congratulations! Both for the book and for kicking O’Reilly in the nuts.

  62. 62
    amk says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Congrats. Peeps actually throw away their money on tide comes in, tide goes out guy’s crap is mind boggling.

  63. 63
    jheartney says:

    @Pen: They were like that back during the Clinton years. Mara Liasson was practically doing the full Coulter. Mostly I ignore them, but I happened to be listening to Marketplace and this came on after.

  64. 64
    mai naem says:

    I’ve always liked Sebelius. It’s a pity the website roll out sucked so bad. If the roll out had gone well, she would have people encouraging her to run for prez in 2016. I still think if and its a big if, people’s attitude towards O-care changes drastically in the next 18 mos, I think she would make a good veep candidate and you would have the GOP having to spend money in Kansas to keep it in the GOP column.

  65. 65
    smintheus says:

    @JoyfulA: National Public Radio has been pathetic since Reagan’s presidency.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    @Keith G:

    Are we all that shallow and insecure?

    Are you sure you want that question answered?

  67. 67
    AxelFoley says:

    @rikyrah:

    7.5 million baby!!!

    Says Sec. Sebelius as she drops the mic.

  68. 68
    AxelFoley says:

    @metricpenny:

    She has to go. And the timing is good — after the close of the first open enrollment period.

    There is no way that system shouldn’t have been tested prior to roll-out. She could have enlisted everyone in the HHS department, and others, to test the system one Saturday prior to launch. And, when it was revealed it wasn’t ready, the roll-out could have been delayed.

    All Democrats were tainted by the botched launch. Okay. I can’t speak for all Democrats, but this one feels the taint.

    All Dems tainted? Man, get the fuck outta here with that bullshit. You sound like that little bitch Ezra Klein.

  69. 69
    AxelFoley says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Also, all hypothetical/speculative successors are flawed. Except Howard Dean.

    HAHAHA, they are so predictable over a DKos.

  70. 70
    Scott Alloway says:

    @dmsilev: Completed mine today. A 64 year old smoker with pre=existings for less than $200 a month Silver BC/BS. Hoo-rah. Yeah, I lead a bad life.

  71. 71
    Petorado says:

    @AxelFoley: Had every Republican governor and state legislature not dutifully stabbed their own constituents in the back for the sake of party pride, the HHS website would have functioned just fine. Who could have conceived such egregious dereliction of duty on a such massive scale would occur in a democracy where elected officials publicly avow to uphold the laws of the land … so help them god.

  72. 72
    ruemara says:

    @Keith G: “The phone hold doesn’t even have music.” This was one of Ezra’s trenchant complaints and an example of the failure of the ACA. Sorry, NOPE.

  73. 73
    AxelFoley says:

    @Petorado:

    @AxelFoley: Had every Republican governor and state legislature not dutifully stabbed their own constituents in the back for the sake of party pride, the HHS website would have functioned just fine. Who could have conceived such egregious dereliction of duty on a such massive scale would occur in a democracy where elected officials publicly avow to uphold the laws of the land … so help them god.

    Exactly. And instead of pointing that out, Klein moaned daily about what a disaster the rollout, and thus Obamacare, was.

  74. 74
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @AxelFoley: For all I know, Howard Dean would make a fine SecHHS, but I will never for the life of me understand how he became the Dragon Slaying Wizard and answer to every question for a certain subset of internet liberals.

  75. 75
    amk says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Wasn’t dean a kill-bill-er?

  76. 76
    Roger Moore says:

    @dmsilev:

    Can we start speculating that she resigned to start preparing for a 2016 Presidential run?

    No. Michelle forced her out when she discovered she was having an affair with the President. Trying to come up with a theory too crazy for wingnuts to believe.

  77. 77
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Cool! I went ahead and bought a copy. Have to do my part to make sure you stay ahead of Mr. Tide Expert. Oh, and the description and excerpt I read sounded fun, too. :)

  78. 78
    opiejeanne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I read it and I liked it. Good kid book.

  79. 79
    Groucho48 says:

    Off topic, but, more resignation for the right. A few days ago, UPS, in NYC, fired 20 drivers and said they were going to fire 220 more, because they participated in what UPS called an illegal strike. The work stoppage, which lasted 90 minutes, was to show support for another driver who had come back to work after an injury. He says that he asked UPS if he could come in early each day so he could get his truck loaded in time, as the injury was slowing him down. He says management agreed. A couple or three weeks later, he signed a union petition. Shortly thereafter, UPS summarily fired him because they claim he had never gotten permission to come in early and by doing so he was stealing from the company. (The charge of theft was needed because it takes a serious charge such as that to fire anyone without going through the grievance process.)

    Well, anyway, it was all over right wing sites and most of them were praising UPS for what it did. They had no problem whatsoever with the firings or the dubious justification UPS gave for firing the first guy. I mean, it’s union thugs, after all, firing is the least they deserve for challenging the corporate masters.

    Well, after lots of organizing and pressure from the union and from NYC officials, UPS has blinked. They are taking all the drivers back. They are docking them 2 weeks pay and they are docking the original guy’s time since he was fired until he starts work again.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/.....00667.html

  80. 80
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I couldn’t understand why Rachel Maddow (who I love) made it seem that Sebellius’ resignation was a bad thing and that somehow it reflected badly on the White House. Secretary Sebellius is probably exhausted from working so hard on the successful rollout of the ACA, which resulted in over 7.3 million enrollees. She deserves to take a long vacation (out of the country and away from the media) and to retire in peace. She has done an excellent job.

  81. 81
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Rommie: Didn’t Reid end all of that by restricting/reforming the filibuster?

  82. 82
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @ruemara: No hold music. Really?! That actually made me laugh out loud. I see Klein from time to time on MSNBC but don’t read his articles. I guess I’m not missing anything.

  83. 83
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Groucho48: “Well, anyway, it was all over right wing sites and most of them were praising UPS for what it did. They had no problem whatsoever with the firings or the dubious justification UPS gave for firing the first guy. I mean, it’s union thugs, after all, firing is the least they deserve for challenging the corporate masters.”

    Yet they’re crying the blues about Eich and how he was forced out by those mean gay activists.

  84. 84
    low-tech cyclist says:

    “scaring people with a ceremonial firing deepens fear, turns allies against one another, makes them risk-averse, and saps productivity.”
    -Obama

    Yeah, wish he’d taken that line on Shirley Sherrod.

  85. 85
    Cheap Jim, formerly Cheap Jim says:

    June 2 is the filing deadline for the Kansas primary election. Sebelius was a relatively popular governor, I believe. Certainly more popular than Brownback has made himself. Could she ebter the race?

    And the New Orleans Jazz Fest, which Sebelius has apparently attended for 30 years running, is next week. Not that I think she’ll be taking the stage with Aaron Neville.

  86. 86
    LAC says:

    @dmsilev: and he certainly had a fair number of front pagers and lemmings here clamoring for room in his colon. Let’s not pretend it was all right wing nut bags.

  87. 87
    LAC says:

    @low-tech cyclist: you mean tom vilasack right?

  88. 88
    Stuck in Brownbackistan says:

    @Cheap Jim, formerly Cheap Jim:

    The Democrat already running against Brownback (Paul Davis) is ahead in the polls. She’d just confuse things. But some visible support from her could definitely help Davis’ cause.

    It would be extremely amusing to see her run for Senate against Pat Roberts, who doesn’t even maintain the facade of living in in Kansas anymore and is already running TV spots against his (even further right) primary challenger. She might even bring a little bit of the downticket momentum needed to bring some sanity back to our Legislature.

  89. 89
    metricpenny says:

    @AxelFoley:

    In case your reading comprehension is lacking, I did qualify my comment.

    I don’t know what Ezra sounds like since I don’t read him.

    However, little bitches can be right sometimes.

  90. 90
    TheWatcher says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Stop spamming the blog.

  91. 91
    Mandarama says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I got a couple of your ideal readers in my household–12- and 9-yr-old boys who love superheroes and think there ought to be more girl protagonists in their books. Ordering!

    You’re in good company excepting Bill O. My kids both read Palacio’s Wonder last year and loved it so much that they still bring it up all the time.

    I don’t really feel like I’ve been spammed, either…I mostly lurk, but I’ve seen Frankensteinbeck around here for a long time, and I like to hear about BJers’ successes. And worries. And pets, and kids, and food. Lives in general.

Comments are closed.