11.27.2013

Happy Thanksgiving - Beware of Democrats with Talking Points

It's Thanksgiving weekend, and I'm not particularly inclined to use this week to complain about the latest stupidity Obama and other Democrats are up to, so I won't.

I will, however, point out the fact that Obama's campaign (Organizing for America) is officially encouraging its mailing list to badger relatives over Thanksgiving with leftist talking points.  And the Democrat National Committee wants you to promise (pledge?) that you'll make an effort to convert your uncle to the dark side.  In Reformed circles, we have this saying, "All of life under the Lordship of Christ."  It seems the Democrats have a similar, if competing, view of things.

Yes, I know.  Republicans and conservatives have pigeon-holed unwary relatives, too.  In some ways, the overly excited political partisan is a standard trope of family gatherings, a standing joke.  Of course, such people are justly mocked by those with a modicum of tact and a dash of consideration, for it is a sign of rude, boorish, insensitivity.  It is odd, then, for a political party to officially encourage and endorse the practice.  I would be interested if any of you get badgered by some young person, full of himself but not all that thoughtful (in all senses of the word).

But if you are spared such ill considered effrontery, well, that's one more thing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day.

11.22.2013

Reid Exacerbates Polarization, Weakens Legitimacy

The filibuster has always been a problematic feature of American legislative history.  If you grew up a couple decades ago, you would have seen Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  That movie celebrated the filibuster as a way for a single person to challenge the whole corrupt edifice of Congress - a way to make it stop and think about higher virtues like truth and right and justice instead of mere power politics. And so it has been.  At times.

The filibuster has also been a way to force some effort to make a broader consensus on legislative policy - a legislative version of the presidential veto.  Overriding the filibuster required a significant majority, indicating a wider agreement on major policy matters.  This tended to lend legitimacy to those agreements when they became law.

But if you're trying to get your agenda pushed through, the filibuster is problematic.  That's why Reid reclassified Obamacare as a "budget bill" even though it was no such thing - it avoided the filibuster and allowed a radical change in America's way of doing things without taking the trouble or time to build a real consensus.

That, by the way, is also why so much of the liberal agenda is pushed through not by legislatures, but by courts.  Legislatures have to persuade people, win votes, develop and maintain that consensus.  That's hard.  Very hard.  But a judge appointed for life can simply issue a decree.

I understand the frustration with the filibuster.  I understand how hard it is to build consensus.  I understand the temptation to simply force things through.  As news reports make clear, Republicans have bandied the idea of ending the filibuster about, too, but did not act - and for very good reason.

Look at how the country has been polarized by the court's forcing abortion and gay marriage on us (among other things).  Consider the unrest created by forcing Obamacare upon us, too.  In bypassing the process of forming a political consensus, they have threatened the perception of legitimacy a government must have in order to function.  Ending this ability to filibuster judicial (and other) nominees is another step in the dissolution of government's legitimacy.

Reid may gain some judicial nominees, but he has done more to kill the possibility of compromise and consensus building in the Senate than anyone in the history of that institution.  He will not be in power forever.  These actions of his will come back to haunt him and the Democrat party, and they will not gain him or liberals anything long-term, much less permanent.  It was a foolish, desperate move.

11.21.2013

Reid Railroads Senate - Again

The Senate under Reid ended the option to filibuster presidential nominees.

There is one reason for this.  He expects to lose control of the Senate in a few months and this will allow them to pack the courts with liberal judges to plague us for decades.

But it will haunt them.  It will bite them in the end.  It is a desperate move and ultimately self-defeating.

Destroying a Woman's Dignity in the Name of Compassion

Read this piece.  Read it and consider.  Consider the affront to this woman's dignity, to her sense of worth and meaning.  Consider how heartless is the compassion that would stomp on her identity the way Obamacare has done.

No, Obama and the Democrat Party are not compassionate, not in the least.  They are cold-hearted, unfeeling, and controlling.  The sooner (and the longer) they are out of power, the better.

11.20.2013

Expect Attempts to Blame Conservatives for Kennedy Assassination

We're coming up on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination.

If you want to read something intelligent about it, that doesn't really bother with the conspiracy theories bandied about in the years since, I highly recommend James Pierson's Camelot and the Cultural Revolution.

The effort was made at the time, in the early hours after Kennedy was shot, to pin the blame on right-wing, racist agitators fomenting hate in the city of Dallas.  Naturally, to Democrats and liberals, "right-wing," "racists," and "fomenting hate" are redundant - anyone who opposes their benevolent, heart-felt progressivism must be a racist hater and a right winger.

So it was quite a shock to them when they found out Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist - a man of the left.  He didn't fit the stereotype.  It didn't make sense.  So they tried to say Oswald had been somehow poisoned by the "atmosphere of hate" they saw in Dallas.  Remember - "hate" means "oppose leftist policies." In the liberal lexicon, these are identical.

They're still trying to say that.  I expect you'll find such claims in the New York Times or the Washington Post or on lefty "news" broadcasts over the next several days.  The gun culture, the racism, the conservatism that they see as just ingrained in Texans generally, with or without evidence - that's to blame, not a failed communist agitator trying to impress Fidel Castro by getting revenge for the Bay of Pigs, the blockade (aka Cuban Missile Crisis), or the embargo.  It's got to be conservatives who are responsible for the assassination of their boy wonder, their political messiah.

No.  Neither conservatism nor conservatives killed Kennedy.  Yes, in 1963 Dallas, there were staunch defenders of racism (and if he had to run again for the senate in Texas instead of being president, one of them would have been LBJ, a "liberal" Democrat).  Yes, there was a great deal of conservative opposition to Kennedy's policies and yes, then as now, political rhetoric can get quite heated.  All that is true.

And it's also true that a communist agitator trying to impress Fidel Castro murdered the president of the United States on 22 November 1963.  Not a conservative, but a radical leftist - a communist.  

The liberals of this country have never been able to face honestly the crimes and horrors of communism.  They still can't bring themselves to do so.  Their fairyland must be preserved.  Truth must not intervene.

More Bureaucratic Manipulation and Lies to Buttress Obama?

It's a single report, as yet unconfirmed.  And even three years ago, I would have been inclined to agree with the commenter on Jim Geraghty's blog at National Review Online.  But we've since learned that the Obama administration is quite willing to use the IRS to suppress political opponents.  They are quite willing to manipulate enforcement of EPA regulations to squelch opponents and pay off supporters.  They are quite willing to use the Department of Justice (so-called) to intimidate and punish dissenters.  All of this is documented, confirmed, and not really open to debate.  In fact, in some instances, Obama officials have boasted about it.

So one can't really discount this report.  It is entirely possible, given the Obama administration's track record - even probable - that the report is true.  Obama partisans at the Census Bureau would not be above manipulating or falsifying the data that goes into the Bureau of Labor reports on employment.  But then, Obama partisans at Labor wouldn't be above fudging their numbers, either.  Lots of assumptions go into that unemployment rate and it doesn't take a huge change in one's assumptions to get a noticeable change in the end result.

Of course, we mustn't discount the possibility that leftist partisans at both bureaucracies are manipulating the data to make their guy look better.  Corporate types who base their investments on the sorts of data that go into unemployment rates and census reports have long been somewhat suspicious - the numbers reported don't jive with what they're seeing elsewhere - and have begun to use private firms to collect more reliable data.

11.19.2013

Five Democrat Governors Turn Down Obama's "Non-Enforcement"; One Republican Governor Accepts

The president, caught by his lie about being able to keep insurance, goes out and says he'll just not enforce his own horribly misguided law - for a year - so your policies aren't cancelled until after the next election.

Democrat governors in Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Vermont have said they will still hold insurers to the existing rules whether Obama enforces them or not.

The Republican governor of North Carolina has said he'll take that reprieve.

Other states are still considering.  Which means officials are soliciting donations prior to deciding.

Interesting.

By the way, it's fair to ask which of these courses favors the "little guy" over the insurance companies and which is the other way around.  In case you're wondering, the individual consumer will fare better in North Carolina while the insurance companies who helped Obama write this monstrous law will be a bit strung out.

UPDATE: California (Democrat), New Mexico (Republican), and Alabama (Republican) have announced they won't take Obama up  on his so-called "fix," either.  Wisconsin (Republican) is working on its own fix.

Stomping on Liberty in New Mexico (Among Other Places)

The incidents reported here by Mark Steyn are truly harrowing - and disgusting.

I really don't care what the police may have suspected.  The man was never charged with anything - except the cost of the procedures he had forced upon him by the government.  I also don't care that this is (perhaps) an isolated incident.  In a free country, it should NEVER happen.

But it did.  More than once.  And if that doesn't bother you, it is even scarier.

Methodist Pastor Doesn't Want to Be Methodist, Refuses to Leave on His Own

Some may be tempted to portray this as a case of religious intolerance.  It isn't - at least, not on the part of the United Methodist Church.  The name "United Methodist Church" means something and, at the very least, it means abiding by the doctrines and rules that members of that church have agreed upon.  One of those is that the UMC believes that a sexual union among members of the same sex is not and cannot be treated as a marriage in the church.

At the end of a wedding service, I typically say something like, "By the authority vested in me by the State of South Dakota and the Church of Jesus Christ, I now pronounce you..."  In the case of gay marriage, neither my own denomination nor the UMC have authorized pastors to make such a pronouncement.  Indeed, they have expressly forbidden it.  Were I to do it anyway, I would be lying, and having your officiant lie for you is not a good way to start off a marriage - or a "marriage" in this case.

It is also worth noting that the UMC was willing to accept from him a promise to not do it again.  He refused.  An honorable man in such circumstances would say, "I cannot abide by the rules of the Methodist Church, so I can no longer remain a Methodist pastor" instead of forcing the church to say it for him.  He would, in other words, resign.  Either that or he would tell his gay son that he is not permitted to officiate - nobody said being a pastor would mean never having to make painful choices.

No, the intransigent, intolerant one is the pastor who would drag his church through the mud, risk splitting the congregation, all in an attempt to force his way on the United Methodist Church.  Since he lacks honor and integrity, the UMC has little choice but to revoke his credentials and I trust they will do so.

11.15.2013

President, Caught in Lie, Proposes Simply a Different Lie

The president's proposed "solution" to the cancellation of millions of insurance plans is to declare he will not enforce the law for another year.  There are three major problems with this.

First, it's just a year.  The problem for these people having their insurance cancelled is not that it is happening at this point in time, but merely that it is happening.  Changing the point in time when it occurs is therefore not a solution.  If I say, "I am going to kill you tomorrow." and then when tomorrow comes I say, "I decided to postpone killing you for one year." have I fixed anything?  Are you really going to think, "Gee.  I guess he's not such a bad guy after all." after I tell you of the postponement?  No.  I didn't think so.

Second, he assumes that insurance companies can, on this sudden whim, put all their plans and practices on hold for a year, extend coverage, and all the rest simply because the president gave a speech and said he would not enforce the law for a year.  These insurance companies also have lead times that must be attended to and many have partially restructured their companies around this horrid law - but suddenly, because a president gave a speech, they're supposed to undo all of that.  But only for a year.  Then they have to put it all back in place again.  Unless he postpones enforcement again.  Like that's going to happen.

Third, the fact remains that these plans being offered and renewed (in the president's graciously condescending decision to not enforce the law for another year) are still illegal.  Because of Obamacare, many states have rewritten their insurance laws, too.  The plans being cancelled are thus also in violation of state laws and the president has no control over whether or not those laws are enforced.  The fact that they are illegal also opens these insurance companies to civil suit vulnerabilities even if the president does not deign to enforce the law.  

Say, for instance, you like your plan.  You want to keep your plan.  But your plan doesn't cover maternity care because, being single and using appropriate protections for those instances when you slip from biblical chastity, you don't think you need it.  Still, you get pregnant.  Your plan doesn't cover it, so your insurer does not pay.  You sue, because the insurer's plan - the plan you wanted because it was cheaper - is illegal under current law.  The court has to say, "Yup.  You're right.  It's illegal.  The company has to cover it.  Pay her bills, Mr. Insurance Guy."  But Mr. Insurance Guy has not collected any premiums from you to cover the cost of that care.  "Gee.  Too bad, so sad, Mr. Insurance Guy."  What good does it do the insurer to say, "But Mr. Obama said he wouldn't enforce it for a year."?  None at all.

The fact is, it was a lie from the beginning and anyone who had the remotest inclination to think about it - and that includes the president and the Democrats in the congress - knew it was a lie.  And his declaration of non-enforcement is as much a lie as the original promise was.

11.14.2013

It's Not Fixable - Repeal & Replace, Not Repair

The danger for Republicans is that they will try to fix Obamacare rather than get rid of it.  Obamacare can't be fixed - it is premised on seriously mistaken notions about the role of government, government's capabilities, economics, and human nature itself.

There are two things that are somewhat different which the nation seems to want addressed.  The first is that we want an intelligible health care system - we want to know what we're getting and why.  Regulations on the practice of medicine (and the sale of insurance) often amount to artificial price controls and have the same effect all such regulations do.  If the government says, "Item X shall cost no more than $100," it has to define what Item X is.  So somebody comes up with something that is very similar in form and function to Item X, but not covered by that definition.  He can then sell it for what the actual market price is.  Otherwise, he produces the absolute minimum Item X, but all the real features people want are now "extra" and boy are they extra!

How does this work in medicine?  The government, through Medicaid, says an operation will cost no more than $1,000.  The hospital then provides that treatment and charges that price, even though it costs them more than that to provide the service.  What are they to do?  Oh.  It hurts a little?  Well, we'll give you some acetaminophen (aka Tylenol).  But that's extra.  Very extra.  So those two 500mg tablets cost $15 each.  Government responds by expanding and rewriting regulations which provoke similarly creative responses from service-providers.

Result?  Spiraling costs, near-opaque regulations, and a thoroughly confused public that doesn't know why it costs as much as it does or what, exactly, they're getting for their money.  Thus they feel like they're getting ripped off every time they see a doctor.

Obamacare doesn't fix that.  It doubles down on it.

We do want laws that ensure a certain minimal quality - there are a lot of noble, sacrificing people in the medical professions.  There are also a lot of shysters in it for the money and they would not be (and historically have not been) above stringing people along instead of actually treating them.  We also want regulations that help consumers understand what they're getting and why it costs what it does, along with options to buy different levels of care as suits their temperament and wallet.  By returning to consumers the ability to comprehend what they're buying and giving them options, we can return to the consumer a level of control over their own health care in a system that is, for the most part, intelligible to them.

The second issue in the health care system that needs to be addressed is cost - cost of the care and cost of the insurance.

Cost is a result of the interface of supply and demand.  The mere assertion of health care as a right does not abrogate this reality.  Because most people wish to stay alive, the potential demand is as unlimited as that desire.  The supply, however, is much more clearly finite.  If we are going to require a basic competence in physicians, there are only so many people who can meet that standard of competence.  There are only so many drugs a company can make.  There are only so many places one can put a hospital or nursing home, and so on.  Price becomes a key piece of information for the health care consumer.  It also forces the consumer to realistically confront the limits which must be placed on his desires.  I simply cannot afford to live forever - not in this life, anyway.

But again, having clearly defined and intelligible options, I can make intelligent choices, both with regards to financial risk mitigating instruments like insurance, and the health care service-provider.  I can and do this regularly in grocery stores.  Consumers make extensive use of car information sites, user reviews, and numerous other tools when purchasing a car and also when buying a house.  They can and will adjust their health care decisions to reflect the understandable and inevitable limits on their own resources.  Yes, that will require the consumer of health care to make painful decisions.  The reality of human limitations cannot be avoided, however.  Painful decisions about priorities must be made and they are best made by the people most affected rather than by distant bureaucrats trying to establish a general policy for a specific case.

This, too, Obamacare does not fix, but exacerbates.  It increases cost by encouraging demand while further restricting supply.  Then, when painful decisions still must be made, it strips that power away from the individual and puts it in the hands of a distant bureaucracy led by an "Independent Payment Advisory Board" (aka "death panel").

Whether by stages or all at once, repeal, not repair, must be our course.

11.07.2013

Political Man, Apolitical Pastor

I saw a headline over on another blog and, while I haven't read the post that attends it, I want to respond to the headline.  It read "Pastors Must Be Political."

Uh, no.

In the first place, that assumes that pastors will all agree.  Here's some news for you.  We don't.  There's an ancient proverb referring to clergy - goes back at least a couple centuries - "Two rabbis, three opinions."  Pastors as political commentators (me included) have no particular claim to special deference, intelligence, knowledge, or skill when it comes to matters political.

But worse still is the possibility that pastors will proclaim "thus saith the Lord" on matters where the Lord hasn't saithed anything.  Take the question of cuts to SNAP (aka Food Stamps).  The Bible does tell us to take care of the poor, to feed the hungry, and so on.  Very few will argue with that premise.  But does that mean we must feed them through a U.S. federal government program like SNAP?  I don't think so, but other pastors do.  Can you find me a chapter or verse in the Bible that definitively seals the case for either position?  Nope.  It's not there.  I also know that I find it highly offensive when some other clergyman (or woman, these days) tries to declare that I am not truly Christian because my political opinion diverges from his own.  I cannot help but believe others would feel similarly were I to make the same, if converse, declaration.

When pastors seek to marry the word of the Lord to their preferred political positions, the end result is a perception of the church (or a part of the church) as nothing more than a tool in the hands of political factions whose objectives are not particularly spiritual or moral.  It puts God at the service of Caesar instead of calling Caesar to serve God.  Instead of being a Christian voice in the political arena, one becomes merely a political voice vying for power and audience the same as every other political voice.  This is one of the reasons why mainline churches are declining, and why the influence of organizations like Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, and the Moral Majority are also waning.  The church - and as an official in the church, pastors - must be first, last, and middle witnesses to Jesus Christ, not to tax laws or welfare budgets.

That doesn't mean pastors may not have political opinions.  They may.  I obviously do.  Neither does it mean I may not ever address political questions from the pulpit.  But it is important to distance my personal political opinions from my position as a pastor.  I must be careful to say, "Thus saith the Lord" only when it is true.  I can say, the Lord says we should care for the hungry, the sick, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger among us.  I can't say the Lord says you should be for or against any particular legislation, candidate, or ballot initiative in your efforts to do that.  I can say that I, personally, have an opinion on the relative effectiveness of any of these in doing so, but that's me, not the Lord.

I do not want people to confuse my personal political opinions with the prophetic claim to the word of the Lord.  This is one of the reasons I do not publicize my name here.  It's not that hard to find my name if you're really interested.  There aren't that many CRC pastors in Sioux Falls and only one of them is a former Navy chaplain.  But after thinking long and hard before starting this blog about how to effect that separation between my personal opinion and pastoral status, I settled on this as the best way to accomplish it.

So no, pastors do not have to be political.  They have to be spiritual.  They have to be prophetic.  They also have to be honest about when the Lord speaks and when he does not.  Because pastors, as all God's children, must be careful to serve the Lord rather than demand the Lord serve them.

Lessons from Virginia and New Jersey

There will be a lot of Republicans looking at Christie's win in New Jersey and Cuccinelli's loss in Virginia, and then extrapolating that the Republicans need more Christies and fewer Cuccinellis to win elections.

No.

If we are talking states like New Jersey or Massachusetts, then perhaps they'd be right.  If we're talking states like California, it won't matter.  And if we're talking states like Georgia, Alabama, or Texas, then absolutely not.

There are plenty of recriminations to go around - the Virginia race was winnable.  Some of it can be laid at the feet of the RNC, but there's only so much money and the strategic decision to save it now so as to have it for senate races later in 2014 is a justifiable one. Bear in mind that Virginia's governor, while a relatively strong position as state governors go, is also a lame duck the instant he's sworn in - Virginia governors cannot serve consecutive terms (they can run again later, but few do).  The state's - excuse me.  The commonwealth's legislature is thoroughly Republican (67-33) and the Republicans seem to have retained the Attorney General spot, too.  McAuliffe will do some damage, no doubt, but how much damage he'll be able to do will be seriously limited by other factors.  From an RNC perspective, having a Republican governor hasn't made much of a difference when it comes to getting Republican senators elected or bringing Virginia's electoral votes to their presidential candidates, either.

Ultimately elections come down to the candidates.  Cuccinelli is a decent, honorable man who blundered when hit with some negative publicity.  I think those who are saying it was a mistake to try to stay on as Attorney General while running for governor are correct, too.  McAuliffe is a very effective snake-oil salesman.  He also ran a smart campaign that kept Cuccinelli on the defensive almost all the way through.  Napoleon reputedly said that victory goes to the general who makes the fewest mistakes.  In the campaign, McAuliffe fit that bill.

The reverse is true in New Jersey.  Christie knows his electorate, shut down any effective competitors before they even approached the starting gate - including shunting Booker off to the senate - which meant that he was effectively unopposed, despite the presence of another name on the ballot.

The real lesson in Virginia is that a lackluster candidate who is distracted by his day job and makes several major blunders can come within a cat's whisker of defeating a smart, capable, colorful, photogenic Democrat when Obamacare becomes an issue. Republicans need to work hard to make the 2014 Senate and House races a referendum on that law.  In doing so, they also need to offer a plausible fix.  Mere return to status quo ante will be insufficient.  If that can be done, Obama may well be looking at GOP majorities in both houses of Congress his last two years.

11.06.2013

Voters Choose Pain in New York and Virginia

So, Bloomberg managed to pave the way for a return to a Democrat as mayor of New York.  Detroit, Chicago, and New Orleans were not sufficient warnings for what becomes of a city afflicted with liberal governance.  They now have a mayor who favors criminals over police, takers over producers, and government over citizens.  Let us hope they learn from the next few years and do not take his road as far as the other cities have done.  For tourists, if you really want to go to New York, do so within the next year before his policies make it too dangerous for you.

And Virginia chose a liberal Clinton crony who has described the office of governor as a wonderful way to hand out favors via state government contracts.  McAuliffe has been bought and paid for, and he intends to provide a return for those investing in him.  This will not benefit the state much, nor will it help the poor, but it will certainly benefit wealthy lobbyists, government contractors, and Terry McAuliffe.

It's tragic, really.  We warned about Obama - and were called racists, bigots, homophobes (although I never quite got that - Obama may be many things, but gay he is not), terrorists, jihadists, heartless, cruel, abusers of the poor, and on and on.  How are things working out for the poor right now?  Not great - unemployment holds steady, full-time employment is getting scarcer, costs for basic necessities have risen markedly (except for housing), we just added about 5 million to the ranks of the uninsured because of Obamacare and are in process of adding another 5 million...  Blacks, single parents (primarily women), and immigrants are among the hardest hit by Obama's policies.  Even that leftist bugaboo, income distribution (the so-called "gap" between rich and poor), has gotten worse under Obama's liberalism.  Yet these same people who are materially damaged by liberalism continue to vote for it.

Sure, liberalism - a form of socialism - would be great if it worked.  It doesn't.  At best it provides a very temporary relief, but at a huge long-term cost.  Whether we're talking Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps and other welfare programs, Obamacare, "stimulus" spending, jobs programs, "tax the rich," gay marriage, easy divorce, or any of the other economic and social objectives of the left, it always turns out the same.  People feel good about themselves for a little while, maybe even a few decades if they're able to push the bill down the road far enough.  But then that bill comes due and it's a doozy.  Moribund economy, high unemployment, shattered families, increased criminal activity, empty pension funds, bankrupt governments (so far just local, but soon state and federal), loss of freedom, punishing taxes, and more.

Yet the people who tried to prevent those shattered families, help create jobs, and set people up for success are called heartless, accused of wanting to kick poor people in the head, while the people who shattered those families and destroyed their opportunities are called compassionate.

11.05.2013

"The President Didn't Know" Is Not an Excuse, It's an Exacerbation of the Problem

I remember back in the 1980s, during the Reagan presidency, when supposedly ol' Tip O'Neil and Reagan got along so famously.  At that time, the Democrats in Congress (including Tip) were trying to paint Reagan as a re-run of Tricky Dick, so they came up with this whole "Iran-Contra" thing.  The Democrats, by the way, complained about their inability to make anything stick to Reagan about the same way Republicans complain about not getting anything to stick to Obama.  Reagan was the better politician though - he had to accomplish this with a press uniformly opposed to him.  There was no FoxNews in those days, no Rush Limbaugh, no Sean Hannity.  There was no balance in the media then.

Anyway, I'm getting side-tracked.

One of the things I remember at the time of that manufactured Iran-Contra scandal was the defense that the president didn't know.

There is one basic response I have with two possible outcomes.  

The response: It's the president's job to know, so that is no excuse.

The outcomes:
1) Employees of the executive branch are willfully keeping necessary information away from the president, impeding his ability to do what he must do.  These employees should be at the very least fired, and depending on circumstances, charged with crimes under various statues intended to hold them accountable;
OR
2) The president isn't doing his job and should quit so we can get somebody in who will.

I suppose there's a third possibility - both.

Fast-forward to today, and we have a president who promised what was patently untrue and any thinking individual could (and many did) tell us it was untrue.  We have a major federal program interface (healthcare.gov) which doesn't work and the companies putting it together told the government it wasn't ready, despite the happy talk.  Yet the president and his political allies in the Senate shut down the government for two weeks rather than agree to a delay in implementing this program, so confident were they that it would all work.

Now that it doesn't, they're looking for ways to hide from the fall-out and they are reaching for that same ol' excuse of Reagan's day.  The president didn't know.  And I have the same response now as I did then.