Don’t we hold our officials accountable, anymore? Updated.

"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

“Even the monkey is embarrassed”

The answer in too many cases, sadly, is “no.” Via The Campaign Spot, here’s a summary of the fiasco that is Oregon’s Obamacare exchange, probably the worst in the nation (1):

In Oregon, the state exchange still couldn’t enroll anyone online at the end of December. The state is relying entirely on paper applications and had to hire an additional 400 workers to process them. Some patients scheduled to go on dialysis next month are still waiting for answers from the exchange about what plans are available. The advertising campaign, directing people to the dysfunctional web site, was pulled down after spending $21 million. The exchange’s board extended a deadline by a week, announcing the decision one hour before the deadline. The $178,992-per-year chief information officer, who helped design the $160 million site, resigned for “personal reasons” earlier this month . . . citing the death of her mother-in-law. This CIO lived in Sacramento, California. Rocky King, the state exchange’s director, resigned for “health reasons.” (Hopefully he won’t have to rely on the exchange to get insurance in whatever new job he starts.)

The state’s already spent over $40 million on the site, itself, on top of the $21 million for advertising. So, one would think, Governor Kitzhaber, who’s been a big supporter of Obamacare, would be in trouble for reelection next year, right? Right?

Yeah, right.

According to an article quoted later in the piece, Kitzhaber is almost a shoe-in for reelection. After all this, voters won’t turn to even another Democrat?

Not that I’m laughing and pointing at Oregonians. Far from it. In California, we continually reelect or elect to other offices pols who do terrible jobs, yet time and again they escape accountability for their performance. It’s indicative of a more fundamental problem: too few people pay attention to the jobs their elected officials are doing, or perhaps even care at all. Elections and politics, though we trust the winning candidates with vast sums of money and essential public services, are just a bother to too many people, who just tick a box on the ballot rather than take seriously the responsibilities of a citizen. Increasingly literally, they just “mail it in” and, for the public, the public’s business is an afterthought.

I know we all have a lot that demands our time and that state, local, and national issues can be mind-numbingly complex, but the pols are not the only ones with “job responsibilities.” We have them, too, as citizens: the duty to pay attention, so that we can audit and judge our officials performance when an election rolls around.

Otherwise, we get the Kitzhaber we deserve.

Footnote:
(1) Though Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vermont are finalists for that honor, too.

UPDATE: And here’s a similar example at the federal level. One of the bureaucrats charged with overseeing the Obamacare rollout is retiring, with pension intact. Naturally, we should celebrate her career.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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One Response to Don’t we hold our officials accountable, anymore? Updated.

  1. wildninja says:

    Kitzhaber was named one of Governing’s 2013 officials of the year, http://www.governing.com/events/Public-Officials-of-the-Year–2013.html. That article says, “Earlier this year, Modern Healthcare named Kitzhaber the third most influential figure in health care, behind HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius but ahead of President Barack Obama.”

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