Among the most familiar lessons of the Watergate scandal is the maxim that the cover-up is always worse than the original crime. It continues to amaze nearly four decades later that so many in Washington have yet to learn how true this is.
The secrecy surrounding the design, management and functioning of healthcare.gov, the Obamacare program's central web portal, is the latest example.
The site was launched with great fanfare on Oct.1, but neither President Obama's White House flaks, nor those under Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have released any official numbers for how many individuals have purchased health insurance coverage through healthcare.gov.
The few indications there are from other sources probably explain the silence of the government on this point. In North Dakota, for example, the Fargo-Moorhead InfoForum reported Oct. 22 that federal officials asked Blue Cross and Blue Shield to not release the fact that only 20 individuals in the state had signed up via healthcare.gov.
Nothing to see here, folks
At the same time, reports are proliferating across the country like the one on the same day the InfoForum North Dakota story appeared from Florida that 300,000 policyholders just got the news they are being dropped because of Obamacare.
Twenty purchasers on healthcare.gov compared to 300,000 people who just lost their coverage due to Obamacare is not a comparison even the most skilled public relations spinner can sell, so it's no surprise that the federal flaks are so quiet.
But their instinctive clamming up is exactly the wrong approach. When confronted with a PR disaster, recovery begins with confession of all the facts as soon as possible, so that genuine progress can be made toward fixing things.
Representatives from a number of contractors involved in healthcare.gov's creation will appear today before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Confession is good for the republic
They have a chance to begin the process of fixing the healthcare.gov debacle by answering every question posed to them by committee members from both sides of the partisan aisle as honestly and comprehensively as possible.
They will do so at the risk of angering the very officials in government with whom they must work on the present problem and in many cases depend upon for future contracts.
But in the end, it will be better for everybody concerned to get it all out on the table so important and unavoidable decisions can be made on the basis of facts rather than rumor, presumption or conjecture.
In today's Washington Examiner
Cal Thomas: Obama has led America into Alice's wonderland.
Sean Higgins: Obamacare fixer is former consultant at Romney's Bain.
In other news
The New York Times: Anger growing among U.S. allies over surveillance.
New York Post: Obama wants Marines to wear girly hats.
USA Today: Large companies find ways to a zero tax rate.
The Wall Street Journal: Plans for European political union unravel.
Talking Points Memo: Contractors blame Obama administration for website miseries.
America Blog: Bad jobs report.
Washington Monthly: How to build a better launch pad for young Americans.
The American Spectator: More than we can stomach.
The American Conservative: Bernard Bailyn and how our east was won.
Daily Caller: Obamacare is not Sebelius' first failure in government.