Short of a full repeal of Obamacare, the resignation of Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is the best health care law news Republicans could hope for. Three reactions have dominated the GOP, and they go something like this: Sebelius should have been fired six months ago, this resignation is an attempt to dodge further political backlash, and now is the time for all those Sebelius jokes we've been saving.
The reaction from the right was as immediate as it was predictable — as Rep. Tim Huelskamp put it, “It’s about time,” according to Politico. The only thing marring this small victory is the fact that her resignation isn't being presented as someone getting fired for the bungled rollout, but the end of a five-year term capped with 7.5 million enrollments. The Wall Street Journal editorial board argued that this "is best understood as one more attempt to dodge political responsibility." And Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn tweeted her followers asking if they were going to celebrate with a "red solo cup or crystal stemware tonight," a callback to her comments during an October Obamacare hearing. That prompted White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer to tweet, "All class in the GOP." With that in mind, here are the sassiest and classiest responses from prominent Republicans and conservatives:
I thank Secretary Sebelius for her service. She had an impossible task: nobody can make Obamacare work.— Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) April 10, 2014
The Wall Street Journal isn't impressed by the number of people who enrolled in Obamacare. "As ever, the White House plan is to plow ahead and entrench the law regardless of the consequences," writes the editorial board. "Only losing the Senate can jeopardize that plan, so Ms. Sebelius finally had to go." The change to the Senate's voting rules — cabinet members can now be confirmed by a simple majority — made Sebelius's resignation much more feasible. If Democrats lose the Senate that won't happen.
Are you going to be drinking out of a red solo cup or crystal stemware tonight as you celebrate @Sebelius resigning? RT w/ your response.— Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) April 10, 2014
Sebelius appeared before the House Energy and Commerce committee on October 30 for a heated hearing over the website and cancelled policies. Blackburn said her constituents had lost their insurance, and Sebelius responded that their insurer would offer them a new plan. That wasn't good enough for Blackburn, who replied, "Some people like to drive a Ford not a Ferrari, and some people like to drink out of a red solo cup, not a wine glass with a stem." So you should celebrate with a solo cup.
Sen. John McCain tweeted that "Sylvia Burwell is an excellent choice to be the next #HHS Secretary." Burwell, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, was confirmed 96-0 for that position.
Conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham called Sebelius an ice queen on Facebook.
In a statement, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch — who pitched his own Obamacare alternative back in January — wished Sebelius all the best. “While we haven’t always agreed, Secretary Sebelius did the best she could during the tumultuous and volatile rollout of the law,” he said, according to Politico. “I thank her for her service and wish her and her family all the best in their future endeavors.” For someone who wanted to repeal and replace the law that may define her legacy, we'd say Hatch's comments are the classiest.