Friday, January 10, 2014

Chris Christie Shows How It Is Done

How refreshing! A public official holding his team accountable. No making excuses. No shifting blame or trying to create a distraction hoping that the media will take the bait. No allowing the person to resign or take early retirement. Nope. Just a straight out firing. Refreshing and politically smart.

Talking Points Memo was already salivating at the chance of tying the death of an elderly woman to Chris Christie (Because - insert sarcastic tone - we all know that the sole raison d'ĂȘtre of Republican politicians is to kill grandmas), when he held a marathon press conference addressing the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge. It was vintage Christie. Bold. Decisive. And above all, effective.

The clearest indication that Christie did himself a lot of political good is the New York Times' lame editorial stating that Christie "has set a tone that makes abusive actions acceptable". When your political enemies are reduced to attacking your "tone", it is a very good day indeed.

If Christie needs to take responsibility for setting the tone for vindictiveness, then would the New York Times agree that Barack Obama has set the tone for incompetence? Even the most ardent Obama supporters have acknowledged that the ACA roll out has been an unmitigated disaster. As the Healthcare.gov kept crashing, hand wringing and heartburn spread throughout the progressive community fearful that voters would find out what they already know: government bureaucracy is inefficient.

There is no one in the United States that has done more to undermine Obama's signature legislation than Kathleen Sebelius. Ted Cruz could only dream of doing the damage that Sebelius has done to Obamacare. The most effective talking points Republicans have against ACA stem from her incompetence. The GOP should be sending her thank you cards instead of demanding her resignation.

The employer mandate had to be delayed because in four years the Administration could not come up with an efficient way for employers to report compliance. The cancellations of policies that don't meet the minimum standards was delayed due to the website problems. The ACA deadlines have been as firm as Obama's red line in Syria. Maybe Putin will come along and give Sebelius a helping hand like he did for John Kerry.

But Sebelius has nothing to worry about. Her job is safe. The worst that could happen to her is she will be asked to resign so she can spend time more time with her family and enjoy generous retirement benefits thanks to Uncle Sam. Heck, she might even get a medal.

We had an alphabet soup of regulatory bodies in charge of overseeing our financial system. After the crash of 2008, was any government official held accountable? Nope. We just added a new regulatory agency to the soup. We failed to find the WMDs in Iraq. Was anyone held accountable? Nope. George Tenet got a Medal of Freedom. FEMA's Michael Brown just resigned and now is a talk show host in Denver, Colorado.

Come to think of it, when was the last time a president fired anyone? The only one who comes to mind is Richard Nixon and the infamous Saturday Night Massacre. But the firing of prosecutor Archibald Cox had nothing to do with incompetence. It was all about Nixon attempting to avoid accountability.

Maybe Christie has broken the spell. Set a new standard. Set a new tone that demands accountability and stupidity is not tolerated. We can only hope.