The Democrats' worst nightmare

That helps explain the debilitating political impact on the president of the discovery that he was not speaking correctly when he promised the American people that, under Obamacare, they could keep their health insurance if they liked it. It now turns out that, for millions of Americans, that isn’t true. And there is reason to believe this was understood by administration officials when they were pushing this high-impact legislation through Congress without any bipartisan cooperation.

Add to that the appearance of presidential haplessness in foreign affairs, particularly in Obama’s zig-zag policy initiatives related to the brutal civil war in Syria—first demonstrating a strong aversion to getting involved; then proposing military support for the Syrian rebels in response to the apparent use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime; then turning another about-face when Russia sought international cooperation for an effort to get the regime to relinquish its chemical armaments.

Given all of this, the president’s command of events has been lost, at least for now. And, if this situation persists, he could lose his ability to produce the kind of second-term record that bolsters his party in coming elections. This represents the kind of political weakness that breeds problems for incumbent presidents and retards their ability to deal with them successfully. A serious foreign-policy adversity for America, a sudden economic downturn, a lack of any serious accomplishment on the domestic front, persistent problems with Obamacare and droning new discoveries of its disruptive impact on Americans’ lives—these are the kinds of problems that render a presidential term a failure.