"Glitches" is miserably inadequate to describe the online fiasco that has crippled the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. An outrage is what it is.
However, outrage from you, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa.?
You, Congressman Murphy, hammering administration officials last week in Capitol hearings? "We were promised a website where people could easily compare health insurance," you berated. "Five hundred million dollars later the American people have been dumped with the ultimate 'cash for clunkers.'"
Citizens: Don't you just love it when people who oppose something — say, government — with every fiber in their being suddenly develop empathy for the thing they wish to destroy?
Don't you appreciate it when people who stalled, and sued, and obstructed, and conspired against the Affordable Care Act long after it had become law, would have done all that and at this moment ask, "Hey, what happened?"
Thanks for caring about Americans trying to obtain health insurance, Rep. Murphy. Some of us actually care about insuring all of us. You and your tea party friends, on the other hand, shut down the U.S. government to prevent any such eventuality.
Five hundred million dollars, you say? That's real money. But you don't mention the $24 billion that your heroic government shutdown cost the taxpayers.
The website about which you, Congressman, suddenly are gripped with concern is being made functional, meaning that the $500 million in question ultimately will have been spent on something. That is wholly unlike the $24 billion you and our tea party brethren exhausted on, well, nothing.
Voters, did you notice the indignation from these very individuals when their own budgetary hysterics caused national parks and veterans memorials to be closed? Suddenly, these politicians were all about federal spending. Government is good, and all that. Give our constituents their White House tours.
One who pays attention to today's discourse grows accustomed to this kind of plastic outrage. Generally it's summoned by those who really couldn't be bothered by the actual concerns they will cite when their opposition research latches onto something:
— When President Obama promoted long-lasting, energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs, suddenly conservatives were all about protecting the environment, pointing out the mercury contained in those bulbs. It's fascinating, because when the subject is mercury settling into our soil and water from coal-fired power plants, these same people suddenly turn indignation-impaired.
— Wind power, promoted by this president, is one reason this nation actually showed marked reductions in carbon pollution over the last two years. But wind power is dangerous, say the 24/7 Obama critics. What about the birds? You know, birds killed by the giant wind turbines? These concerns often come from people who've fought the Endangered Species Act and who want to neuter the Environmental Protection Agency. For many of them, development always trumps nature. So when it comes to avian interests, these conservatives are birds of a feather — partners in eco-hypocrisy.
— Republicans in key red states seek to take away women's reproductive rights with promiscuous measures like scientifically dubious "informed consent" requirements and prohibitive restrictions on clinics that provide abortion. On what grounds? Well, on the grounds of "protecting women's health," of course.
Ah, but the clinics they have targeted dedicate every effort to women's health. Abortion rights themselves prevent the desperate measures that women took back in the dark days when they were deprived of a safe and legal option.
Saying anti-abortion measures are about "women's health" is like saying that beer is consumed for its nutritive qualities. Beer has nutritive qualities. It also makes a person challenge a mail box to a duel.
Meanwhile, back to Rep. Murphy, he of the polystyrene outrage. Back in 2006 the Bush administration's new Medicare Part D website had major problems. Murphy was downright forgiving about that: "Any time something is new, there is going to be some glitches," he said.
President Obama knows this and appreciates the congressman's support.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.