October 25 2013
Speaking only for myself, I have an urgent plea for the White House: Please don’t fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius!
What’s with my fellow conservatives, who want the head of this loyal public servant for overseeing perhaps the greatest mismanagement of a new government program of all time?
It breaks my heart to see Reince Priebus, RNC chairman, cruelly trying to dislodge Ms. Sebelius. "If the president were serious about accountability in his administration," huffed Mr. Priebus in a statement, "he would fire Secretary Sebelius." But isn’t it better for all Americans to see that this is a President who has never been serious about accountability from Benghazi to Syria to Fast and Furious to the Justice Department harassment of journalists to the abuse of the IRS?
Seriously, members of the GOP are wise to demand that Sebelius be fired—as long as this doesn’t happen too soon. Not only are we fortunate to have a gifted computer whiz at HHS, Ms. Sebelius’ presence at HHS dramatizes why the government seizure of one-sixth of the U.S. economy—placed in the hands of somebody with little knowledge or experience of the private sector—was always a bad idea.
Since the October 1 exchange launch, Sebelius has morphed into the poster girl for big government incompetence. Liberal icon one day--laughing stock the next. Remember when she trudged to Jesuit-run Georgetown University, amid liberal hosannas, to deliver a speech at the university, despite having recently trudged all over the religious freedom of the Catholic Church (of which she is a member)? Her latest gig, being grilled about the ObamaCare's fiasco on Comedy Central by Jon Stewart, wasn't nearly so successful. If Sebelius is fired—and Democrats are beginning to see the value of this—the next secretary will not be able truly to fix ObamaCare for the simple reason that it is unfixable. The arrival of a new secretary, however, might buy time for the administration. It might seem—briefly—that that the “glitches” in ObamaCare can be repaired.
Ms. Sebelius should also stick around since she is the ideal representative of the wholly depressing female figures who populate the Obama administration. Conservative women who rise to positions of eminence—Margaret Thatcher, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Kelly Ayotte, and Condoleeza Rice spring to mind—tend to be topnotch.
Is this because conservative women are less likely to make it to a visible position because of the politics of gender privilege—and thus are more likely be genuinely talented and knowledgeable and have passion for something besides their resumes and privileges?
Perhaps. Whatever the reason, among the not-very-inspiring women who serve or have served in the Obama administration are National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who famously went on TV to spout bogus talking points about the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead; Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state the night all hell broke loose in Benghazi but doesn’t think that whatever happened at this point matters, and the highly credentialed U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, who skipped a crucial meeting on Syria nineteen days into her tenure in Turtle Bay for a personal trip abroad.
Valerie Jarrett, the most powerful woman in the Obama administration (next to our lecturing and hectoring First Lady, who, unlike the rest of us does pretty much what she pleases) is a veteran of Chicago politics. Ms. Jarrett is so imbued with such a sense of privilege that she requires Secret Service protection, not normally accorded to one in her position. White House officials suspect, according to Mark Leibovich’s buzz-provoking book “Our Town,” that it was “earpiece envy”—not concerns about safety—that prompted Jarrett’s Secret Service protection.
Apparently, this is not the Sebelius’ first brush with e-catastrophe. A story in the Daily Caller reports that during her tenure as governor of Kansas, Sebelius “oversaw numerous costly and disastrous government website projects.”
Would it have been sexist for the Obama administration to have inquired into this before handing her the Healthcare.gov portfolio? Sebelius says there is a reason the website is subpar: she really needed five years instead of three! She richly deserves a place on the team of all the president’s women. Unfortunately, like responding to Benghazi, this isn’t just a ceremonial job.
So Republicans asking for the President to dump Sebelius, be careful what you wish. Kathleen Sebelius is a terrific advertisement—and not for ObamaCare.