The Kansas City Chiefs won again on Sunday, preserving their perfect record of 7-and-0. The team is led by coach Andy Reid (who was cast out of Philadelphia for failing to win a Super Bowl) and quarterback Alex Smith (who lost his job in San Francisco last year).
Meanwhile, having led his ball club deep into the playoffs once again, and on the heels of losing the American League Championship Series to the Boston Red Sox, Tigers skipper Jim Leyland stepped down as manager today.
What do these men have in common? They are all winners who, to one degree or another, were pushed out of their jobs — not for losing, but — for failing to win enough.
This brings us to President Obama’s speech from the Rose Garden. I think it’s fair to say that if the October 1 date for opening the ObamaCare exchanges was the big “game,” Obama’s team clearly dropped the ball.
But did his words today express this kind of urgency or contrition? Not exactly.
Sure, Obama admitted the enrollment process “hasn’t worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work” and that “nobody’s more frustrated by that than I am.” And yes, he said “[t]here’s no excuse for the problems” experienced on the Healthcare.gov website.
“No excuses,” to me at least, implies that someone is to blame, and heads should roll. Why not fire HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius? At the very least, this would send a signal to his administration — and the public — that he’s taking things seriously. It would also allow him to bring in a sort of David Petraeus of health care technology to manage this “surge.”
(While we’re on the subject of holding folks accountable, the AP today fired two highly-regarded journalists for botching a story about Terry McAuliffe.)
This, of course, would require accepting responsibility and acting boldly to fix things. But having said there was “no excuse for the problems,” he then proceeded to provide excuses, including seeming to blame the Republican Party and the government shutdown.
Harry Truman’s “the buck stops here” line must only apply to professional sports these days — otherwise, Sebelius would be sent packing for Kansas.
In the grand scheme of things, Reid and Leyland lost their leadership roles for much less. Hey, maybe Leyland is available to fix ObamaCare?