How a presidency unravels

t is, however, fair to note that what ordinary people ordinarily do is their jobs, competently. Obama’s inability to be satisfied with anything so banal has plunged him into Jimmy Carter territory.

Carter’s presidency crumbled when people decided they still liked his character but had no confidence in his competence. Obamacare’s misadventures, and Obama’s response to them, have caused people to doubt both his character and his competence.

The White House, disoriented by adoration — including the self-adoration — of its principal occupant, sits in a city that has become addicted to its own adrenaline. It is in a perpetual swivet stoked by media for which every inter-institutional dust-up is a crisis…

The New York Times reports that last March Henry Chao of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which superintended creation of the HealthCare.gov Web site, told a conference that he had worries: “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.” When such an embarrassing experience occurred, Obama responded like a ruler of a banana republic unfettered by constitutionalism and the rule of law. Although no president has even a line-item veto power (which 44 governors have), this president asserts the power to revise the language of laws by “enforcement discretion,” and suggests no limiting principle.