When President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, it was the starting gun for a massive federal effort to get the new system up and running. The administration had deliberately allowed for three and a half years for the launch, October 1, 2013.
That’s a long time. It’s 1,288 days. You would think in that length of time, we could have brought a system online that would not be bedeviled with “glitches.” And more glitches.
By comparison, FDR had 912 days from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, to D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion of Normandy. The D-Day Museum at Portsmouth, England maintains a website that offers some idea of what was involved in mounting the invasion.
While most of the soldiers who landed on June were British or American, there were still great numbers of Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Free French, Poles, Czechs, Belgians, Dutch, and Norwegians. In all, some 156,000 members of what has been called “the greatest generation” hit the landing beaches on D-Day. By the end of D+5, June 11, 1944, the Museum’s website tells us, “some 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.”
Everything did not go according to plan then, either. The Norman city of Caen was supposed to have been taken in the first week of the invasion. It took more than a month for Caen to fall. Still, we can look back to the American effort in World War II as a great success.
Today, Obama administration officials are making the rounds of TV talk shows touting the millions of Americans who have logged on Day One of ObamaCare. They are not able tell us how many of those millions have actually signed up for ObamaCare. But that, of course, may be due to the fact that 85% of Americans already have health insurance and the rest, primarily healthy young adults, may have reasons for not having health insurance.
It’s interesting to hear administration spokespersons dodging and weaving about how many Americans actually are eager to give all their personal data to the IRS and then be guided about by “navigators” chosen by Mr. Obama out of his compassionate concern for his people. “Obama Cares” was an inspired idea for a bumper sticker last fall. It helped the incumbent easily gain a second term in the White House.
It’s odd, though, that after four years of major liberal legislation, the FDR comparisons have largely disappeared. Entering the Oval Office in 2009, Mr. Obama as likened to Lincoln and Washington, but one of the most popular images—so popular it found its way onto the cover of TIME Magazine—showed President Obama seated in Roosevelt’s specially designed Ford, smiling “That Man’s” dazzling smile, and even with a cigarette in holder clenched between his teeth. Press reports always referred to that cigarette holder as being held “at a jaunty angle.”
It’s especially strange given the talking point of ObamaCare advocates, that it is the natural extension of FDR’s “signature” domestic legislation, Social Security.
Roosevelt’s domestic New Deal programs were beset with “glitches” too, but he waved away Republican charges of “boondoggling.” He told audiences that “the immortal Dante tells us that the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted are weighed in different scales.” Roosevelt wanted Americans to know he was of the warm-hearted kind of sinner.
Americans today can judge how warm-hearted President Obama is. His administration has ordered the closure of the World War II Memorial in Washington. Ninety-year olds on Honor Flights faced barricades as they made that last trip to see the monument to their heroism on D-Day and a thousand days.
White House spokesman Jay Carney raced to tell reporters that it was not the intent of the Obama administration to deny death benefits to families of soldiers recently killed in Afghanistan. It just seems to have been another glitch. The Obama spokesman’s efforts to avoid responsibility were strenuous. But he might have consulted another veteran of that great WWII generation. Harry Truman kept a plaque on his desk in the White House:
“The Buck Stops Here.”