For three weeks the Republican Party has been frantically railing about the alleged incompetence of the Obama administration due to the notoriously botched rollout of the website for the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace. Predictable calls for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have come from numerous Republican partisans like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Pat Roberts, Roy Blunt, Ken Cuccinelli, and Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.
The condemnation from the RNC chief is particularly notable considering their own history of troubled website launches. In October of 2009, The RNC’s GOP.com was to debut with a grand fanfare trumpeting the arrival of the Republican Party into the 21st century with a modern social network that would set the standard for online politicking. It didn’t quite work out that way.
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When the all new GOP.com premiered it was a train wreck of glitches, bugs, and failure. It crashed entirely within hours of the launch. No one was able to log on. Later it accidentally posted the administrator passwords. A list of GOP accomplishments ended five years earlier in 2004. It falsely listed baseball legend Jackie Robinson as a Republican “hero” (He wrote in his autobiography that “By and large Republicans had ignored blacks and sometimes handpicked a few servile leaders in the black community to be their token ‘niggers.’”). And a “Future Leaders” page was conspicuously (and presciently) blank.
Politico reported that the RNC’s New Media Director, Todd Herman had a familiar excuse, saying that the site was struggling from attracting “an enormous amount of traffic.” And then-RNC chairman Michael Steele laughably responded that “It’s a good thing when you get another email from Todd saying, ‘It’s down again.’”
For the record, CGI Federal, the contractor responsible for the ObamaCare website, is deeply connected to the Republican Party. Buzzfeed reports that…
“[A]ccording to Federal Election Commission records, that company’s PAC gave more to House Republicans than House Democrats during the 2012 cycle — including a $2,000 check for the GOP’s chief scandal investigator, Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. What’s more, executives of CGI Federal personally gave more than twice as much to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney than to President Obama. The contractor has also feasted on more than $2.4 billion worth of IT work dating back to the early Bush Administration.”
Isn’t that interesting? Especially considering the new and unsupported complaints that the company got the gig due to some sort of sweetheart relationship with the President.
For the Republican Party to take such a strident stand against the President and his team, when they experienced a similarly embarrassing website flop, is hypocrisy on an Olympian scale. The GOP.com website wasn’t nearly the technological challenge that Healthcare.gov is. But Republicans seem to think that an admittedly poor rollout for Democrats is an unforgivable debacle, but for Republicans it’s a “good thing.”
What’s more, the disaster that plagued the GOP was merely a setback for their public relations efforts. At least the Obama administration is attempting to do something that will benefit millions of people, save billions of dollars, and even preserve the lives of Americans who might otherwise suffer due to the greed of unregulated corporations.