October 23, 2013

Juan Williams Explains It All: ‘Massive Opposition’ From Republicans Forced Rushed HealthCare.gov Rollout

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 NewsBusters.org.



  1. Imagine

    You are a CEO from whom a senior manager keeps secret the fact that a very expensive and crucial project is failing miserably, allowing you to talk about how great the results will be right up until it launches.

    Do you 1) express confidence in the senior manager, 2) minimize the catastrophe as “glitches” and “kinks,” 3) double down on how great the product is in a public speech, 4) blame the competition AND the customers, 5) all of the above?

    If you picked number 5, you are the Leader of the “Free” World.

    Next, imagine you are a Director on the Board of the company by which the CEO is employed. The CEO explains to the Board that he did not know about any problems until he read about them in the newspaper, and that he’s working hard on the issues. He has used this excuse before to explain illegal actions taken by the company involving shipments of firearms, the death of four company employees who were not provided with security guards in a dangerous country and when the accounting department deliberately leaked customers’ financial information in order to influence his election as CEO.

    Do you, 1) reaffirm your confidence in the CEO, 2) tell him you know technology is hard and ask him to keep the product, such as it is, live, 3) give him more money to work on it, 4) blame the competition AND the customers, 5) all of the above.

    If you picked number 5, you’re a member of the Main Stream Media and/or a “Progressive.”


    Comment by Duane — October 23, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

  2. #1, Heh, that was really good!

    Where does Juan get this 2/3rds crap, anyway? The vast majority of polls I’ve seen both before, during, and after ObamaCare’s implementation want it destroyed and with all possible speed. 2/3rds of American are “saying slow down”, my butt. Besides, since when does tyranny come down to a popular vote, anyway? If 2/3rds were for locking up everyone in the blue states in jail (for better or for worse!), would Juan then say that Democrats should just let it happen? What a maroon.

    Comment by zf — October 24, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

  3. Agree on that poll cite. Give me a break.

    Comment by Tom — October 24, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

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