President Barack Obama has been slow to take responsibility for the miserably-executed launch of Obamacare, his signature legislative accomplishment. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images)
Poor Barack Obama. Heís been wronged again. This time, the Obamacare health insurance program is hung up on major computer malfunctions, adding fuel to the blazing criticism that this first giant step toward universal care is a flop.
ďNobodyís madder than me,Ē Obama declared while trying to explain why three weeks into the enrollment period, most consumers still canít enroll. ďI think it is fair to say that no one is more frustrated by that than I am.Ē
Wait a minute ó the presidentís mad? And heís frustrated? At whom? Himself?
Obamacare is his signature and singular accomplishment, the thing that will define his legacy. His own administration was charged with designing the website and making sure it worked. And it doesnít, despite spending $640 million on the healthcare.gov technology.
Now, in typical government fashion, new contracts costing millions more are being awarded to fix it. So weíve got delays, cost overruns and operational failures, and Obamacare is just getting started. And weíre supposed to believe the government can run this massively complex entitlement?
In his remarks, the president added, ďThereís no excuse for the problem.Ē And then he went on to tick off a list of alibis, before finally settling on his well-worn favorite: The Republicans did it.
Obama chided the GOP for rooting for Obamacareís failure and urged them to stop. How that would heal the flawed technology isnít clear.
The White House blames those Republican governors who refused to create state health care exchanges for causing the federal system to be swamped. But Obama has known for months those states werenít buying in and didnít prepare an alternative.
The administration also suggests the GOP-led government shutdown contributed to the programís disastrous start, even though no resources were diverted from the implementation. Still, his defenders claim Obama was distracted by negotiating an end to the stand-off and couldnít give his full attention to making sure Obamacare got off smoothly.
Several problems with that explanation. First, Obama proudly declared he wasnít negotiating with Republicans. Second, he knew Obamacare was under fire, and making sure it was ready to launch should have been his highest priority. Finally, are they really saying that a president with the mental dexterity they assign to Obama canít manage two things at once?
This has become a trademark of this administration: It canít execute. The president has shown no interest in the hard work of governing. Jawboning and campaigning, he loves. Making sure the trains run on time, he doesnít.
Despite his posturing at accountability, Obama never takes responsibility for his own failures. Itís always someone elseís fault. Thereís always an external reason he canít get things done. Obama is always the victim.
Responsibility used to be a buck that stopped on the presidentís desk. Now itís a hot potato that never lands in this presidentís hands.
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