Huffpost Politics

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Alan Kelly Headshot

Hen House Rules: In Business, Shoot the Fox; In Politics, Get Him a Chair

Posted: Updated:

For more on this post listen to Alan Kelly on SiriusXM POTUS 12-05-13.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there's a fox in the Obamacare hen house. It comes in the form of House Republican leaders, Senate Minority detractors and rich surrogates like the Koch Brothers and their Americans for Prosperity storefront. Prowling as they do the nests of Democrats, their lip-smacking presence is enough to upset any bird -- by analogy, the architects and bureaucrats of the Obama administration who labor now to bring the Affordable Care Act and its hairball of a website to some reasonable fruition.

Of course it is a hairball, not unlike other programming misadventures. Recall, for example, the maverick tech CEO Scott McNealy whose sticky Label, "Windows is a giant hair ball," memorialized Microsoft's vaunted operating system as a tangle of spaghetti code. McNealy's snipes weren't made from inside Microsoft's sprawling campus, however. His plays were understood to be the work of a rival wholly outside the factory works and easily dispatched by way of Pass plays and Deflects.


In Washington, by contrast, rivals are not only physically closer, they are fiscally and philosophically involved. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as an example, is a full and official participant in the policies and processes that guide Obamacare. And like McNealy he runs his plays, calling Obamacare "absolute chaos" and "an expensive joke," among other well-written bites. It's as though Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos roams the halls at IBM, FedEx or The Washington Times, holding meetings on the budgets and policies of his portfolio competitors.

Whether in government or commerce, the management of detractors is a given. But a very real difference is the degree to which competing players are allowed to influence the outcome. In business saboteurs are removed from their offices; in D.C. they are a given a chair to sit in. By virtue of proximity and position, McConnell and his party are wreaking havoc on Obamacare. They are the fox in the proverbial hen house -- chaos of its own kind -- but perhaps too they are a guarantor that everyone is paying attention.