March 13

I think I have figured out why President Obama hasn’t fired Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She will say anything. Sebelius will deny the obvious, defend the indefensible and even rewrite the law without hesitation, all while keeping a straight face. She has been willing to hide, bend and break the Obamacare law. Even moving the goalposts of what Obamacare’s success would look like and changing the initial purpose of Obamacare – insuring the uninsured – doesn’t cause her to break a sweat or show even the slightest bit of embarrassment. ‎

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

In October, when the Obamacare Web site debut was a spectacular failure, Sebelius glossed over its fundamental problems and has continued to keep quiet about what the president knew and when he knew it. In the face of deficient sign-ups and declining numbers in February, she denied that she ever pegged the definition of success for Obamacare at 7 million enrollees. And while Sebelius insists the individual mandate will not be delayed past the March 31 deadline, a new rule her department tried to bury in a technical bulletin recently issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services essentially exempts everyone from the Obamacare penalty by allowing individuals to declare a “hardship” in obtaining health insurance without the burden of having to supply any proof of any hardship.

President Obama hasn’t had much managerial experience outside of community organizing – and we were never told how well the community was organized – so it might be hard for him to know what a good manager looks like, but he should be able to recognize a bad manager. And from what we have seen in the past five months with the Obamacare rollout, Sebelius probably falls into the latter category. But she is loyal – perhaps to a fault – which may be what the president wants right now, but it’s not what the country needs.

While the politicians and cynics in Washington may have a certain begrudging respect for Sebelius’s gall and tenacity, her continuous Obamacare denials and delays have inflamed voters. Her actions are building a pressure cooker ahead of the midterm elections, and the day of reckoning Democrats will likely face at the ballot box this November may be worse than it would be if the administration just told the truth.

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Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.