THEY JUST DON’T CARE IF HEALTHCARE.GOV WORKS OR NOT
THE DAILY BEAST
The Republican complaints of two months ago were purely opportunistic. For them, it just doesn’t matter if Healthcare.gov is working, since Obamacare is destined to fail, reality be damned! At most, the broken website was useful fodder for attacks on the administration. Now that it’s made progress, the GOP will revert to its usual declarations that the Affordable Care Act is a hopeless disaster. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Americans have gained access to health insurance thanks to the Medicaid expansion or the exchanges, and many more will join their ranks as the deadline for coverage approaches.
FIRE YOUR TEAM, MR. PRESIDENT
President Obama needs to fire himself. Not literally, of course, but practically: He needs to shake up his team so thoroughly that the new blood imposes change on how he manages the federal bureaucracy and leads. A series of self-inflicted wounds during his fifth year in office, capped by the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act, have Americans questioning the president’s competence and credibility. History suggests that second-term presidents rarely recover after their approval ratings fall as much as Obama’s have this year. History also suggests that there are two types of White House shake-ups. The first is mostly cosmetic and is aimed at sending a signal that the president is serious. He fires somebody, anybody, as a sacrificial lamb. The second is deep cleansing–that rare occasion when a president rebuilds his team to change himself. The latter is what Obama must do.
THE NEXT GOP CRACKUP?
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The ObamaCare rollout has handed Republicans a remarkable gift, and they are now ahead in the polls for which party should run Congress. The main obstacle to GOP political gains in 2014 would be another stupid, futile budget standoff—and Republicans are just the party to try. … The lesson of the recent budget fiasco is that Republicans are nowhere if they don’t stick together to maintain a majority of 218 votes. To avoid a repeat, GOP veterans need to abandon their parochial interests for the greater good. And Mr. Boehner must finally show enough leadership and toughness to keep his Members in line.
IRAN DEAL MUST DO
HENRY A. KISSINGER And GEORGE P. SHULTZ
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Some adjustments are inherent in the inevitable process of historic evolution. But we must avoid an outcome in which Iran, freed from an onerous sanctions regime, emerges as a de facto nuclear power leading an Islamist camp, while traditional allies lose confidence in the credibility of American commitments and follow the Iranian model toward a nuclear-weapons capability, if only to balance it. The next six months of diplomacy will be decisive in determining whether the Geneva agreement opens the door to a potential diplomatic breakthrough or to ratifying a major strategic setback. We should be open to the possibility of pursing an agenda of long-term cooperation. But not without Iran dismantling or mothballing a strategically significant portion of its nuclear infrastructure.
THE STEM AND THE FLOWER
NEW YORK TIMES
… one’s attitude toward politics should be a passionate devotion to a mundane and limited thing. Government is essential, but, to switch metaphors ridiculously, it’s the stem of the flower, not the bloom. The best government is boring, gradual and orderly. It’s steady reform, not exciting transformation. It’s keeping the peace and promoting justice and creating a background setting for mobility, but it doesn’t deliver meaning. I figure that unless you are in the business of politics, covering it or columnizing about it, politics should take up maybe a tenth corner of a good citizen’s mind. The rest should be philosophy, friendship, romance, family, culture and fun. I wish our talk-show culture reflected that balance, and that the emotional register around politics were more in keeping with its low but steady nature.
FAST RECOVERY FOR HEALTH CARE WEBSITE
NEW YORK TIMES
The Obama administration says it has made enormous improvements in its website for enrolling consumers in new health insurance plans. There are still major hurdles to surmount, but the strides made raise the prospects that the website will be able to help millions of Americans buy policies from private insurers on new insurance exchanges, either by Dec. 23, the deadline for policies that will take effect on Jan. 1, or by March 31, the deadline for taking out coverage without being fined. There will be federal subsidies to help those on modest incomes pay the premiums.