If You Can't Beat 'Em, Manufacture a Scandal

Republicans are now engaging in a pointless effort to get Obama officials to resign.

By SHARE
WideModern_131017_sebelius.jpg
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announces the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington.

There's a new tactic by critics of the Obama administration: Off with their heads!

Or, if you can't beat 'em on policy, demand they resign or try to force them out of their jobs.

First, there's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says should go. Why? Poorly-handled technology Sebelius surely had no role in developing or operating.

The marketplace for the new health care exchanges went live October 1, and it was a technological flop. Millions of people tried to go online to check out competing health care plans, and the system kept crashing, sometimes in the middle of someone's effort to fill out an application. It's terribly embarrassing, and really inexcusable, especially since HHS had to have known that there would be, at the least, great curiosity about the exchanges early on.

But is this a fireable offense? You get fired as a cabinet secretary when you take bribes or show up drunk at a cabinet meeting. Yes, it's clear the RNC hates the Affordable Care Act. But if they really think it's a "train wreck, why not let the choo-choo hit the wall? Demanding that Sebelius be fired diminishes the seriousness of the legitimate opposition to Obamacare, and just makes the RNC look raving mad.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Obamacare.]

Then there's Jonathan Jarvis. Never heard of him? Rep. Darrell Issa thinks Jarvis needs to resign, or at least retire, because of the grave damage he has done to the American people. Still don't know who he is? He's the head of the National Park Service, and Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, thinks Jarvis has "three strikes against him.

First, he allowed Occupy demonstrators to camp out in D.C. parks without throwing them out. The Occupy folks may have had a vague vision and no real strategy, but they were clean and peaceful. You'd think Jarvis could be commended for handling the situation so people could demonstrate without creating much of a fuss, but Issa was horrified that such overnight camping was allowed. Issa also blamed Jarvis for closing the national monuments (the World War II memorial, as opposed to say, the Vietnam War memorial, seems to have raised the most ire among Republicans, for some reason) during the government shutdown. The shutdown was not Jarvis's doing – in fact, Issa, as a congressman, is a lot closer to the center of the target of blame circles. Then, Issa complained that Jarvis had not adequately prepared for a shutdown. What would have been the point of that – to give Republicans a talking point that the Obama administration had been plotting a shutdown all along?

And finally, there's been another round of calls for President Obama to be impeached. There clearly are people who don't know what "impeachment means, or what one has to do to justify such a proceeding. The president would have to commit a crime. Simply wishing your candidate had won the election isn't sufficient legal grounding for impeachment.

Republicans lost the 2008 and 2012 elections, and it's understandable that they're upset about it. But the way to address it is to find a good candidate for the next election and get behind him or her. Trying to purge the team that won isn't a credible strategy.

  • Read Eric Schnurer: Baby Boomers Are Running Up the National Debt and Undermining Education
  • Read Pat Garofalo: The Shutdown Debt Ceiling Deal Sows the Seeds of the Next Crisis
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly, now availableon iPad