Daily Archives: January 10, 2014

Kitzhaber: Personnel is policy. Explain why your aide lied to you about OrBamaCare warning from State Rep and what you’re doing about it.

orbamacare kitz two shotGovernor Kitzhaber may think he got yanked from his interview with a KATU reporter just in time yesterday, but all he succeeded in doing was raising more questions about what he knew of the Cover Oregon–OrBamaCare–fail and when he knew it. The episode also reveals in what contempt the governor and his aides hold the people–especially those who don’t agree with him. 

Oregon media must hold Kitzhaber to account now before the “investigation” gets underway and Kitzhaber can hide behind the “I can’t comment on anything under investigation” blind. Lawyers are currently pouring over the contract with Oracle over its disastrous software glitches. In terms of an investigation into the (lack of) management, Kitzhaber ordering an investigation of his mistakes in the rollout of OrBamaCare is like a kid with chocolate smudged all over his face telling his mother he’s ordered an investigation into the empty cookie jar. 

KATU reporter Hillary Lake had this exchange with the Governor, questioning him about a warning from then- State Rep Patrick Sheehan back in 2012 outlining reasons why the Cover Oregon IT chief should be sacked. 

HL: You knew about those red flags or your office knew about the red flags specifically about Carolyn Lawson and people calling for her to be let go far before she resigned.

Kitzhaber: Well, I knew about the problems in uh late October is when I first learned about the problems.

HL: We have an email from Represenative Patrick Sheehan that went to you and he encourage you at the end of 2012 to let her go.

Kitzhaber: It may have come to my office but I didn’t see it.

Kitzhaber was yanked out of the interview before she could continue her entirely appropriate questioning.  See the awkwardness at 2:40 in the interview below:

Republican legislative leader Julie Parrish tweeted out her skepticism about Kitzhaber’s scaredy cat exit, alluding to Governor Chris Christie’s nearly two hour long presser about the allegedly politically motivated bridge closing.

Here are more questions that need to be answered:

How did you find out about Patrick Sheehan’s letter? Who told you about it? When?

What did you do when you discovered your employee failed to tell you about Sheehan’s letter?

Why would your underling feel it was appropriate to disregard this information? Why? 

Is there a policy to disregard House oversight suggestions? Or just Republican members?

At what point have you taken any suggestion proffered by legislative oversight members?

Why did your underling believe it appropriate to ignore questions from a committee tasked with overseeing this program?

Are there any more warnings you’ve now become aware of that were hidden from you by your underling/s?

Would you make public those communications?

What have you done to the aides at your office who did not disclose the letter? Have they been fired or reassigned? 


“Bridgeghazi” isn’t funny or clever. Stop it.

I thought conservatives on Twitter had killed off a new attempt to create a new scandal suffix to replace ‘gate.’ I was wrong.

Two days ago, Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed suggested the new, oh-so-clever ‘ghazi’ suffix after the Chris Christie bridge scandal. “Bridgeghazi” was excoriated online. and Andrew was properly shamed. I thought that was the end of it until today. Today  I heard a personality on LA radio use the term. 

Chris Christie bridge ghazi

I suppose it’s possible this radio person doesn’t know what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. For your background sir, four Americans were left to die after al Qaeda launched a well planned attack on the American mission. The American Ambassador Chris Stevens was burned, and as some reports put it, sexually and otherwise assaulted, and dragged to his death. His communications aide Sean Smith was murdered with the Ambassador by terrorists who poured fuel around the compound and set it on fire. Two former Navy SEALS, Tyrone Wood and Glen Doherty, both with Southern California connections, died trying to hold off the enemy from the nearby CIA Annex until help could arrive. It never did. The president, whose movements that night have never been accounted for, never sent help and neither did then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both went to bed that night without sending help. The president partied with Jay-Z in Vegas the next day.

Making fun of this horrible episode in American history belittles the sacrifice of these men and relegates to irrelevancy the administration’s gasp inducing failure to send help, explain it, and be forthcoming with congressional oversight committees. Maybe that was the point. 

Making fun of Benghazi is in the realm of mocking concentration camp survivors by asking if they use those tattooed numbers to play lotto or creating parachutes with a 9/11 logo for people who work in New York high rises. It’s in bad taste. It’s wrong. Stop it.




Governor Chris Christie apologizes for the wrong thing

chris christieMost of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s nearly two hour long news conference yesterday was spent on apologizing for the wrong thing.  Christie correctly apologized and disavowed (over and over) the alleged political shenanigans which closed a bridge and inconvenienced thousands of people in New Jersey and New York over a four day period last year. He deftly navigated questions by reporters with the appropriate amounts of humility, anger and humor. 

Christie rightly apologized for the closure of the George Washington Bridge but then left that issue to obsess about how ‘sad’ he was his aides lied to him. He should be sad. He should be angry. To share those emotions with the country displayed a refreshing authenticity. But it eventually came off as self indulgent. YOU hired these people,  Governor. The two staffers you dropped from the GW Bridge yesterday were a symptom of an apparent mindset at your office. 

There’s an old maxin: Personnel is policy. The people you employ become the embodiment of your choices and priorities. This is something Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and President Obama should be held to account for as well.

Christie has made the right moves. He’s apologized, stanched the political bleeding and gone, hat-in-hand, to the Mayor of Fort Lee to grovel and ask for forgiveness.  

Politico notes GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway’s reaction to Christie’s presser on the pages of National Review,

“Christie made a mistake, apologized, promptly removed those who erred, and resolved to make right a horrible situation,” she wrote. “After eight years of a president who displays no such skills, Americans may hope for a different kind of change.”

True enough. President Obama has set a very low bar for executive skill, grace and decorum in public life. But Christie has no business emulating the president’s well documented personal is policy disasters (Van Jones, John Podesta, Rahm Emanuel, Dr. Holdren to name just a few). If  Christie is shocked by his aides’ alleged actions, he needs to find out why people of apparently such low character were in his employ in the first place.