What did he know and when did he know it?
The questions keep coming up for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. What did he know about the health care exchange before it crashed on opening day? And when did he know it?
We all thought he was the man in charge. As he started his race for governor, he needed to prove he could manage government: A $40 billion a year budget. A successful health care rollout would be just the ticket.
Then the computers went down. Piece of cake became a bitter bill. Months later, he says he was wasn’t really really in charge. Buy that or not, the questions have become central in his campaign.
And they should be. Did I mention it’s a $40 billion organization he wants to run? As often happens, the explanations have become as much a problem as the problem itself.
Here’s what might have happened. He should have apologized profusely and asked some questions of his own:
Do you have a computer? Do you know when it’s going to crash, taking everything with it?
If you asked those questions, would anyone have anything but sympathy for you?
Sympathy would not be enough, of course. What would you do? You’d hire someone to fix and replace your machine. If your fixers mishandled the job, you’d find someone else. That’s what Brown and company have done. More than 340,000 Marylanders have coverage now – belatedly, yes, but political leaders have failed for generations to provide what now we have.
Why isn’t that a selling point? It’s a valid question.
And yet, he still must convince voters he can manage a $40 billion government.
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