In these days of partisan division and epistemic siloing we all live in bubbles of a sort. But some, quite simply, do so so much more than others. Remember: once you unskewed the polls, Romney was really winning. And sometimes, sleep walking, Karl Rove is still looking for those beleaguered Fox News number crunchers because, gosh darnit, Romney is still picking up votes in Ohio. Some are still living in that own private Ohio. Today though the long twilight struggle between numbers and the power of positive thinking has moved on to the fresh fields of ObamaCare.
When news broke late yesterday afternoon, that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had resigned, it was hardly a surprise given what happened last fall. The timing was just as transparent. Whatever her role in last year’s calamitous roll out, having Sebelius resign at any point up until the last couple weeks would have poured twenty gallons of fresh-fracked oil onto the ‘Obamacare’s Failing/Administration in free fall’ narrative fire. Her job was paradoxically safe until the administration could recover from the botched roll out and get implementation on its feet.
Now that the implementers managed, improbably, to not only get respectable numbers but actually hit the notional enrollment targets, along with other positive metrics, the ‘Obamacare is failing’ meme just isn’t very credible anymore. So she could resign or be pushed out (whatever happened) with little cost.
This is, in a word, obvious.
I flagged this point on Twitter not long after the news broke and I got a front seat view into the alternate reality where Obamacare is tumbling into collapse and Sebelius’s resignation is just confirmation of what the unskewers have been yelling over the din of MSM propaganda for all this time. In other words, Sebelius’s ouster was the final white flag verdict on Obamacare.
Quite true, twitter is not a place to go in search of balance or circumspection. But it is a good place to get in touch with the Id of each party.
@joshtpm Oh? So you have verified enrollment numbers from paying citizens? Great! Care to share?
— Erick Brockway (@erickbrockway) April 10, 2014
@joshtpm news is reporting numbers fed by hhs. How about hard numbers via a FOIA request. It’s called journalism when you verify facts
— Kevin (@kevinpost) April 11, 2014
@joshtpm I have to admire the cheerleader that’s still hopeful down 50-7 in the 4th quarter. ‘Come on, guys! We can DO it!!!’
— Jon Munce (@jonmunce) April 11, 2014
In other words, the numbers from HHS and the states are fake. No one has paid their premiums. No young people have signed up because, well, where are the numbers? Why isn’t Obama releasing them? Everybody has lost their insurance and prices are skyrocketing.
Snark in itself isn’t surprising. What is notable is the total shock that there’s not total unanimity that the program is failing. As we’ve noted in reporting over the last week, conservative policy hands are pretty much all coming around to the conclusion that the ACA isn’t collapsing and is here to stay. That’s not to say they like it or think it’s good. They don’t and that’s hardly surprising. (Nor from another vantage point does it mean that everything is hunky dory and the ACA is ensured a glorious future. It is probably fairest to say that the numbers and data to date are much more consistent with stability and at least middling success than collapse or repeal.) But those policy hands (and to an increasing degree, party strategists) are coming around to see that the policy isn’t failing of its own accord and the nature of the opposition is not such that it can be easily repealed. Policy responses will either have to work within its context or replace it with something that accomplishes some assortment of its benefits. They’re not suspecting that there haven’t been over 7 million private sector sign ups or still insisting that the 85 million people who lost their insurance are being held at FEMA internment camps in Idaho and Upstate New York.