If you don't read James Taranto's WSJ column you are missing one of life's great pleasures. His latest post, The Tired Ones, refers to Ron Fournier of the National Journal and Fox News contributor and Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers. Fournier recently conceded that he had lost that loving feeling in his NJ piece, "Why I'm Sick of Defending ObamaCare." A day or two later Powers paraphrased Fournier on Fox News Special Report
"The headline was 'Why I'm Getting Tired of Defending ObamaCare,' and I'm going to say, 'Amen, brother.' . . . People who have supported this law, who support universal health care, are constantly put in a position where they have to defend the president, who has really incompetently put this together, rolled it out."
The question Taranto raises is why these two journalist feel compelled to defend Obamacare? Did they draw the short straws? If they are tired I would imagine former fellow journalist Jay Carney could tell them stories that would make them cry. Working almost exclusively as a columnist, Fournier has the luxury of mounting his defense in the relative tranquility of his office or even his bathroom but Powers has to make a fool of herself in plain sight of millions of cable news viewers, over and over and over again.
That's the sort of stuff novels are written about. An innocent young lady leaves her home in placid Fairbanks, Alaska strikes gold at USA Today, the WSJ, the Daily Beast and is deemed to be "emerging as one of the Democratic Party’s national voices" only to find herself working with two knaves, Krauthammer and Will who verbally slap her about in public view. Eventually the sadder but wiser girl relents and acknowledges that Obamacare is only for the lucky and the strong.
It could be that the "tired ones" are really what the Baptists call backsliders, a term that for some reason always caused me to envision dozens of mud turtles sliding down a muddy creek bank on their backs, as the rest of the media is keeping the faith. There was certainly no weariness on Morning Joe this morning as the gang celebrated Obamacare's triumphant comeback. Nothing like this since the Russian counter offensive at Leningrad!
"Amazing How Quickly We Are Starting to See the Obamacare Story Change its Tone", intoned guest host Katty Kay of the BBC.
Pass the kool-aid, please. Even if we accept the HHS's numbers at face value 3.3 million enrolled from a projected 7 million with only 7 weeks to go is hardly over the top success. And there is ample reason not to accept the 3.3 million figure. As it has been pointed out redundantly actual enrollment begins when the insured remits payment not when he clicks on the "buy" button. One insurance official says a majority but not an overwhelming have paid. So 60% have paid? That would be 1.98 million. Seventy percent would mean 2.31 million.
Then there is a convenient flaw built into healthcare.gov. Insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski writes that there is an inability for people to cancel once a selection is made because that functionality was never built into the web site. He expects they will be reporting bloated enrollment numbers for some time.
In spite of their weariness Fournier and Powers should count their blessings. They are employed. I'm sure Senators Begich, Hagan, Landrieu, Pryor, Shaheen, and Udall are just as tired but they may not have jobs next year.