Media begins to wonder who’s running the show in the White House
posted at 12:41 pm on October 31, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
That question is no longer limited to the conservative media. A week ago, I wrote about the Ida Know administration. Now, Joe Klein at Time laments Barack Obama as a “buckpasser,” and the results of electing someone with no executive experience to the most complicated executive office in the nation:
Firing for cause doesn’t seem to exist in the Obama Administration, either. The most high-profile government officials who were removed from their positions over the past five years were the two Air Force generals who were responsible for the sloppy handling of nuclear weapons; Secretary of Defense Robert Gates–perhaps the best cabinet officer in both the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations–ordered both firings.
There may have been other high-profile dismissals over the past five years, but I can’t remember them. …
And I certainly expected more from the Affordable Care Act, since it is the most significant piece of social welfare legislation since the 1960s, and an absolutely crucial piece of our social safety net going forward. It is early days for the ACA and we should reserve judgment about whether this legislation was just too big and complicated a mess to implement. But, surely, SOMEONE–maybe many people–should be fired for these opening pratfalls. And we should also be able to get some of our money back from the private contractors who failed to implement the exchanges.
NBC News political analyst Michael O’Brien reports that the questions are tougher than Klein’s in Washington DC. They’re not questioning Obama’s reluctance to fire anyone, but whether he’s in charge at all. The parade of Ida Knows and lack of response to the pratfalls of the past six months makes it appear that the person isn’t President Obama:
Claims by the administration and other Democrats that Obama didn’t know about sensitive matters in his own administration — such as problems with the health care website and revelations of National Security Agency surveillance on foreign leaders — have many in Washington scratching their heads.
“It all fits as part of a pattern. Who is in control? Who is running things? There are a lot of questions,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who helps conduct the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which Wednesday showed Obama’s approval rating dropping to an all-time low.
Obama has been hammered for being unaware of potential glitches that disrupted the launch of the online marketplace for Americans to browse and purchase health plans. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN last week that Obama wasn’t aware of the we problems until “the first couple of days” after its launch.
Even Democratic allies of the administration question why Obama didn’t know about the serious problems, and express concern about his personal response.
In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I write that the political danger for Obama is no longer just the Ida Knows. The exposure of five years of “keep your plan” lies, perhaps combined with evasions on surveillance and espionage, will kick the struts of credibility out from under the Obama administration for the rest of his term, if the history of presidential prevarications gives us any guide at all:
Americans might be more willing to forgive the latter lie as part of statecraft and “plausible deniability.” Obama has to work one-on-one with these leaders, and admitting knowledge will make that more difficult to the detriment of American interests.
Even with suspicion running high over the NSA’s activities regarding domestic surveillance, relatively few think the US should stop collecting intelligence at all, even at the expense of allies. The programs that collected intelligence on Angela Merkel and other foreign leaders began well before Obama took office, and a face-saving dodge would be understandable in these circumstances, if no less embarrassing.
That won’t hold on Obamacare, however, especially with the litany of buck-passing disclaimers issued by Obama and his team over the other debacles in the Obamacare rollout. The Affordable Care Act started with Obama, was forced through Congress over the objections of a united Republican minority, and has been the central project of Obama’s presidency.
The President was elected and then re-elected to office on the basis of this particular claim, as well as his insistence that voters could trust his word. With the ACA exchanges a disaster and the promise of honesty and expertise demolished, what else is left for Obama to move his agenda forward?
Obama won office by amplifying voter disdain for political dishonesty and incompetence. He may spend the next three years being hoist with his own petard as the lamest of lame ducks.
I wrote that before the WSJ/NBC poll showed Obama losing significant ground this month. Andrew Malcolm reached the same conclusion afterward:
The new poll found Americans’ confidence about their system of government has sunk to 30%, the lowest in four decades since the scandal-plagued latter days of the Nixon presidency. The NBC/Wall Street Journal findings also confirm trends reported here three weeks ago in an Obama report card.
Typically, a second-term president’s ineffective lame-duck status commences after the midterm elections.
But these sagging Obama numbers, which will inevitably prompt congressional Democrats to look out more for themselves than obeying Obama, offer encouragement that this president’s lame-duckness in radically transforming America has already begun.
The White House thinks they can spin their way out of this. Unfortunately, Obama and Democrats completely own ObamaCare, and not even using insurers as a scapegoat will get them off the hook for the skyrocketing premiums that Obama promised to cut by $2500 a year. The incompetence and prevarications have caught up with and eclipsed Hope and Change, and now everyone’s noticing it.