Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is fond of comparing the troubled Obamacare website to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This comparison is unfair — to the DMV.
McConnell made this comparison on the Senate floor as early as October 2, and he tweeted it again on Monday.
But all of my DMV experiences — in New York and in Massachusetts, where it’s called the Registry of Motor Vehicles — have been just fine. You go in, you take a number, you fill out some forms, you get your driver’s licence, and you leave.
The New York DMV website works a lot better than Healthare.gov does.
When I asked my Twitter followers why people hate on the DMV so much, I got two key pieces of guidance: Some DMVs are much better than others, and some of the good DMVs used to be bad.
I have experience with the second point. In 2000, when I got my learner’s permit, the Massachusetts RMV was run by Dan Grabauskas, a bureaucrat who was widely credited with transforming the agency into one that provided a non-horrible customer experience. Grabauskas ran for State Treasurer in 2002 on the platform that if he could fix the RMV, he could fix anything. He lost, but only by 10 points, which is a pretty good showing for a Republican seeking statewide office in Massachusetts.
That leaves us with the unremarkable observation that the DMV sometimes is terrible and sometimes it isn’t, depending on how well it’s managed.
Shouldn’t we take a similar lesson from Healthcare.gov: That it’s a horribly botched operation, but the failure is a reason to demand better from our public sector managers, rather than to throw our hands up and conclude that liberalism is discredited?
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