Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cruising the Web

Sorry for the late post - it's my Fall break. Sleeping in was a great celebration.

So this is how Washington resolves a crisis: they plan to do it all again in a few weeks? What will they accomplish this time that they couldn't get done in the weeks or months before this totally predictable crisis? It's not like these dates come up out of nowhere.

Just in case you were wondering - the murder of JFK was not a conspiracy. In fact, there were a number of totally coincidental events that put Lee Harvey Oswald in that Book Depository on that date.

Oreos are supposedly as addictive as cocaine. At least they are for lab rats. I can stop eating Oreos, so maybe I would be resistant to cocaine addiction. Doritos, however,....

Josh Putnam at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball takes an interesting look at what states and parties are doing to try to gain some advantage in setting the dates for primaries for the 2016 nomination. There is a lot of jockeying going on as parties are trying to avoid frontloading and states are trying to position themselves to have an early enough primary to have influence. My state, North Carolina, has typically had one of the latest primaries, but now we're moving up to nip on the heels of South Carolina. I look forward to my vote having more meaning in the primaries, but am not looking forward to increased amount of advertising this will entail.

For Republicans feeling confident about keeping the House in 2014, Harry Enten has some words of caution.

You know things are worrying the left when Jonathan Chait writes a post about how Obama could delay the individual mandate. It's all enough to get Philip Klein wondering what the Republican posture should be if Obama were to actually request Congress to delay implementation of the law for a year.

As the WSJ writes,
The failures that have all but disabled ObamaCare are the result of deliberate political choices, which HHS and the White House are compounding with secrecy and stonewalling....

Mrs. Sebelius claims she doesn't know the answers and that the government will pull such information together in November. Given the farce so far, it makes sense that the CEO of ObamaCare can't or isn't monitoring its day-to-day operations. But this claim is almost certainly false.

The states running their own exchanges report enrollment more regularly, which ranges from the low thousands in big states like California to a single person so far in Delaware. Literally, one. And the HHS-run exchanges are designed to make daily reports, seven days a week.

These reports are known in industry jargon as 834 transactions and they may represent the most serious ObamaCare breakdown. Insurers and the exchanges are supposed to swap electronic files every 24 hours that track the policies consumers select and their subsidies and check their lists against each other. The problem is that the exchanges rarely generate accurate 834s.

Our sources in the insurance industry explain that the 834s so far are often corrupted or in the wrong syntax, and therefore unusable unless processed by hand. In other cases the exchanges spit out multiple 834s enrolling and unenrolling the same user and don't come with time stamps that would allow the insurer to identify the most recent version.

The upshot is that the exchanges, the insurers and the consumers will often have different records on file. These mismatches are an architectural flaw that could persist for years. The administrative-bureaucratic tangle will only become more complex as more people enroll, providers start billing insurers, patients show up in doctors offices thinking they have coverage they don't, and the IRS starts fining Americans for not having insurance.

So the president who has granted over 2,000 exemptions from the provisions of Obamacare is now blaming bloggers and lobbyists and special interests for the shutdown. Nice. As Neil Munro writes of Obama's position: "My partisan vitriol shows value of bipartisan harmony."
President Barack Obama told the White House press corps late Wednesday that his ruthlessly partisan win in the three-week budget impasse shows the value of bipartisan moderation.

Eight days ago, he used the same podium in the same room to tell the same reporters that Republicans were acting like arsonists, kidnappers, deadbeats, butchers, lunatics and extortionists, obsessives, out-of-touch hostage-takers, nuclear-armed terrorists and extremists.

He also worked with Senate Democrats to block numerous agency bills passed by the GOP-led House, then slammed the GOP for not funding the agencies, and even tried to justify the tactic in his appearance last week.
It's all too much cognitive dissonance for me.

I'm with Jonah Goldberg in defending Mitch McConnell.
I’m hardly a member of the Otto von Bismarck fan club, but I always liked his line about politics being the “art of the possible.” I’m open to any serious criticism of the GOP for failing to do the possible. But it’s a hallmark of populist passion to condemn men for failing to do the impossible.
Guy Benson notes that Governor Susana Martinez is "totally crushing it in New Mexico." She'll get some serious consideration in 2016. She may have a much more stronger platform from which to launch a presidential campaign than Marco Rubio who will have been stuck in the Senate taking tough and sometimes unpopular votes instead of having been a leader of a state. I'd love to see her take on Hillary. In the battle of the XX candidates, would being Hispanic trump having been a liberal icon who has never actually done anything notable?