In Obama’s White House, the Buck Stops Nowhere
article by Edward Morrissey
What does it take to get fired from a job in the Barack Obama administration?
Only in this White House could a Cabinet Secretary get not just one but two public presidential statements of confidence as internal documents emerge showing that an agency knew about fraud, and left the problem to such an extent that people died while waiting for medical care.
This administration has long had trouble holding itself accountable for its failures, perhaps especially for the more spectacular disasters. When Health and Human Services spent $400 million and took three years to build a web portal for the Affordable Care Act – a technological feat that insurers have managed to accomplish a decade or more ago with far fewer resources – HHS under the direction of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius delivered a bug-ridden flop that still doesn’t meet its original specifications.
Despite her failure to oversee the Obama administration’s central domestic policy achievement and to know that it would not be ready by its launch date, neither Sebelius nor anyone else lost their job over the debacle. Sebelius retired last month after more than five years on the job.
At least in that failure, no one died. When the State Department ignored months of warnings about the vulnerability of its consulate in Benghazi to terrorist attacks, as well as an escalating string of attacks on Western interests in the eastern Libyan city, four Americans died in the assault that took place on the anniversary of 9/11.
For reasons that are still unexplained, neither the State Department nor the Department of Defense were prepared to respond to an attack on an obvious date in a location where the now-murdered ambassador had repeatedly requested more security – and whose requests were repeatedly denied by State Department officials. Even though four Americans lost their lives during an hours-long attack with no assistance from supposedly unprepared US forces, including the first ambassador killed in the line of duty since the Jimmy Carter administration, not a single person in the State or Defense Departments lost their jobs, or even a single paycheck.
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