That the administration knew this and failed to anticipate the inevitable outcry is political malpractice of the highest order. That policyholders who received cancellation notices didn’t have a functional Web site on which to seek alternatives makes that preexisting condition exponentially worse.
Which brings us to the art of the political apology. As with the spousal apology, the longer you wait, the worse it is. Obama’s first fault was in chiding people for misunderstanding him: “What we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
His second misstep was resorting to the politician’s favorite dodge: the non-apology apology, conditional and passive. I’m sorry if anyone was offended. Mistakes were made. “I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd. What does that even mean?
Third, Obama’s actual apology was for the wrong thing. “Obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law,” he told Todd. “That’s something that I regret.”