Critics blasted Kitzhaber for being out of touch on Cover Oregon. He admitted he was out of the loop, praising the smooth rollout of Oregon’s exchange in a speech in late October, three weeks after the site’s failure to launch.The phrase "out of touch" is not exactly a political "blast". How about heading an administration that misuses federal funds? Or asks high officials to lie?
Interesting how mild the phrasing is when a Democratic governor is involved. Imagine the wording of that paragraph had it been a Republican governor praising a major health program three weeks after it had been shown to be a complete failure when 150,000 Oregonians were losing their health coverage and $304 million of federal funds had been given to the project.
Even the Oregonian editorial board has a hard time going beyond mild words:
"equal parts myopia, groundless optimism and, perhaps, hubris on the part of Oregon leaders"The Oregonian can't seem to bring itself to ask a question about Kitzhaber's incompetence and negligence--not to mention a wholesale discarding of malfeasance or wrongdoing before an investigation has been completed. Certainly questions need to be asked about whether political cronyism had a role in Kitzhaber appointing incompetent individuals to run Cover Oregon and then failing to appoint competent officials to monitor those officials.
. . .
"Cover Oregon's failure poses no questions of apparent malfeasance or wrongdoing or shenanigans by state managers or elected leaders. Instead it asks of them, extending all the way to Gov. John Kitzhaber, how managers aspiring to do the right thing can get it so completely wrong – and at such horrendously high public expense."
. . .
"Kitzhaber made a large deposit in the credibility bank last year with his leadership on public pension reform, but he’s watched much of that advantage melt away over the past few months thanks to the Cover Oregon fiasco, which raises questions not only about those with more direct involvement, but also about the governor himself."
. . .
"What do Goldberg’s and Bonetto’s apparent lapses – in communication and aggressive curiosity – say about the organizational culture for which Kitzhaber is chiefly responsible? If he were running a business, he wouldn’t get a pass for failing to know about critical problems with a $160 million project.
. . .
"And what, for that matter, does Bonetto’s promotion say about the governor's judgment? Nothing that’s going to restore the his rapidly dwindling surplus of credibility, that’s for sure."
. . .
"At this point, a thorough house-cleaning seems to be an obvious prerequisite for renewed credibility. Shedding a couple of those responsible for the Cover Oregon debacle while shuffling higher-level officials who could have and should have done more will not be enough.
"If, on the other hand, the governor can make a persuasive case for his conspicuously modest response, he should do so, and quickly. His constituents probably don’t like being left out of the loop, either. "
. . .
"apparently oblivious governor"