Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
Last week’s congressional hearing with Kathleen Sebelius on Obamacare and its amateur-hour website was carried on C-Span – but not in full.
Portions were excised and the remaining segments stitched together so seamlessly that most viewers would not have noticed.
Fortunately, one of the computer geniuses at the NSA, who goes by the initials NRD and aspires to be a leaker like Ed Snowden, was able to reconstruct the missing segments. These segments follow:
Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.: How much is this website “fix” going to cost us?
Sebelius: Well, a bunch.
Blackburn: How big a bunch?
Sebelius: You could call it a bunchy bunch.
Blackburn: How bunchy a bunchy bunch?
Sebelius: Bunchy bunchy bunchy!
Blackburn: Specifically, please, in dollars rather than bunches.
Sebelius: Well, I’ve encumbered $677 million.
Blackburn: $677 million! Holy (bleep)!
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J.: Thank you for being here today, Secretary Sebelius. Have you ever noticed how Republicans are always trying to throw a monkey wrench into the Obamacare works? Have you ever noticed how they’re always emphasizing the negative? Have you ever noticed how Republicans are always nasty SOBs?
Pallone: You know, I held a town hall meeting in my district, and all my constituents there – both of them – were able to get on the website, shop various policies and enroll. In fact, not a single person in my district has told me he had any difficulty whatsoever accessing the site and finding wonderful health insurance at a lower premium than he had before. But Republicans just don’t talk about wonderful experiences like this, do they?
Pallone: And isn’t it true that despite what naysaying Republicans claim, the website and citizens’ experience with the Affordable Care Act will only get better?
Pallone: And isn’t it true, Madame Secretary, that my hair is thicker and more luxuriant than any other member of this committee, Democrat or Republican?
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas: Madame Secretary, isn’t it true that in choosing which sections of the law to enforce and which to “waive,” you and the president are breaking the law?
Sebelius: That all depends on your definition of “breaking.” For example, one may break a dish or a glass, but that wouldn’t be the same thing as breaking a law. Breaking a law, which we assuredly have not done, would entail … (The secretary goes on for four minutes and 30 seconds without giving a definitive response.)
Barton: Well, I see my time has expired.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.: Thank you for being here, Madame Secretary. By way of preface, I’d like to say it’s a shame that the Republican majority on this committee refused to postpone this hearing so that everybody could attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, led by our eloquent vice president.
Don’t you agree it was mean-spirited and churlish of the Republicans, who are all racists, to pull such a dirty trick? Don’t you agree we should have had the opportunity to show that Democrats love Nelson Mandela more than Republicans do?
Sebelius: Yes, and yes.
Waxman: You know, our dastardly friends on the other side of the aisle also may keep us in session into the weekend, despite knowing that I need to rehearse for the title role in “Nosferatu: The Musical,” back in my Los Angeles County home district. Did you know, Madame Secretary, that a lot of my friends in the entertainment industry say the role is a natural for me? I won’t even require makeup!
Sebelius: They are mean-spirited, Congressman.
Barton: Mr. Chairman, point of personal privilege.
Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.: The chair recognizes Rep. Barton on a point of personal privilege.
Barton: Mr. Chairman, why do you and the rest of us Republicans sit here and let the likes of my friends, Waxman and Pallone, traduce us the way they do?
Upton: It could be we’re just more polite than Democrats. On the other hand, it could be we’re just too wimpy to fight back.