Last night on Fox News's Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now." Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were "held hostage" by GOP press releases and speeches.
Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid:
Bret Baier: We asked for tweets earlier, and "Tweet the Panel" happens every Tuesday. A Chad Mohn writes: "Why were the 'best and brightest' only called in after the dismal launch? Where were they over the last three years?" Juan?
Juan Williams: Well, I don't know the answer. You would hope that they would have been brought in earlier. I mean, you hope the thing would have worked, but obviously it hasn't worked very well. So it's problematic, and now they have brought in Jeff Zeinst today, and apparently —
Baier: Now is that, uh, kind of something bad for Sebelius, the fact that Jeff Zeinst has to come in and manage something that she was supposed to manage?
Williams: I don't think she's a technological manager. I think that you as HHS Secretary would assign this to people who are supposed to make the technology work. I do think that given what we heard in that soundbite from, uh, I forget the ex-president's name —
Baier: (couldn't discern)
Williams: That they were told, people were told, and I think Nina's exactly right, that people in the White House and in HHS felt there is such massive opposition from the Republicans that they did not want to say, "You know, we to slow down a little bit because we don't have a technology in order."
So they were willing to just say, "Let's roll it out, see how it works for now," and so, over the first 20 days it has not worked well.
But I would just caution, in the midst of all this piling on, that gee, you know it's been three weeks, I think at 20 days it's out, is supposed to be a six-month rollout. President Obama says I believe 20 million people had visited the site, a half-million people have already signed up. And —
Baier (with some Williams cross-talk): No, they filled out applications. We don't know how many have enrolled. And that's another problem. Transparency is really pretty tough.
Williams: Well right, but we're only three weeks into what is a six month —
Baier: But it takes one minute to answer a question, "How many are enrolled?"
Williams: They don't want to say I suspect because they don't quite have it under grip because of the technological problems. I would add, you can still call on the phone to get this done. (This was absolutely not true as of Monday. -- Ed.)
And one final point. It's like two-thirds of Americans say, "Y'know, Republicans, slow down. Stop the piling on. Let this thing happen for better or worse."
This isn't "The dog ate my homework."
This is "The guy next door didn't think my homework would be done well, so I did a lousy job and turned it in anyway. So it's his fault that it's lousy."
Yeah, that makes sense, Juan. (/sarc)
Williams is wrong about "six months." February 15, 2014 is "the last day you can get coverage and avoid being liable for a penalty for not having insurance." That's 4-1/2 months from October 1.
Also note the pass, based in a total lack of understanding of how managers are supposed to carry out their duties, Williams gives Sebelius for not being "technological." You don't have to be a tech whiz to supervise techies, Juan. You do need to understand the task at hand, monitor its progress, and make course corrections where necessary. If there's any evidence Sebelius has done any of these things in the past 3-1/2 years, I haven't seen it.
Oh, and in other breaking news on the non-technological front traceable to poor management by Sebelius: "Healthcare.gov Refers Users to Uncertified Navigators and Assisters."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.