Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress Wednesday about the shaky rollout of the Obamacare online exchange website.
Sebelius was once the governor of Kansas, so pretty much everyone made “Wizard of Oz” jokes at her expense while she sat there answering questions about President Barack Obama’s signature legislation that will affect millions of people.
It all started when Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton took the microphone and said:“There is a famous movie called ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ And in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ there is a great line. Dorothy at some point in the movie turns to her little dog, Toto, and says: Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Well, Madam Secretary, while you’re from Kansas, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Some might say that we are actually in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ land given the parallel universes we appear to be habitating.”
Great joke! Because she is from Kansas!
Well, not quite from Kansas. Later on in the hearing, Texas Republican Rep. Ralph Hall asked her: ”Were you born in Kansas, made in Kansas?” (Wait, “made” in Kansas? What is this guy, 90 years old? Yes.) Anyway. Sebelius replied, “I was not. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. I married a Kansan and went to Kansas.” (Then became governor of it.) Good enough!
Onward with the wisecracks.
So then, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone decided to make the same bad gag.
“I know we’re not in Kansas, but I do believe increasingly we’re in Oz because of what I see here. So this Wizard of Oz comment by my colleague from Texas, I think, is particularly apropos given what we hear on the other side of the aisle. I don’t know how you keep your cool, Madam Secretary.”
How about another? Take it away, Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley:
“One of the things that keeps coming up in this hearing because you are from Kansas is references to ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ And people went to see the wizard because of the wonderful things that he did. And the Affordable Care Act is doing a lot of great things in Iowa!”
OK this is getting out of control. Could someone please drop a house on these guys already?
But wait, Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo saves the day:
“It won’t surprise you that I would like to talk about Kansas a little bit today. Much like with — some of my colleagues have made references to ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ I don’t think anybody not from Kansas should be able to do Oz allegories.”
Oh wait, he kept talking. Drat.
“But,” he added, “my story — the way I think about it is those folks worked awful hard to go down that yellow brick road. At the end of the day, when they got there and pulled back the curtain, they found there was nothing that they didn’t already have. And as we pull back the curtain on the Affordable Care Act, I think people are finding that it’s not exactly what they’re going to have worked so hard to find their way to as well.”
And that — praise Oz — ended it once and for all.
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