VA scandal fits an established Obama narrative: Skilled politician, lousy manager

Until recently, Kamarck noted, the White House didn’t have a high-ranking aide assigned full time to monitoring how programs were being implemented. That’s one of the reasons for the failure of the healthcare website; the engineers foresaw it, but nobody high up was pulling that information out of them.

Bad management alienates even a president’s allies, Kamarck noted.

“His popularity can go down and stay down,” she said. “That’s what happened to Jimmy Carter in the last year of his presidency. That’s what happened to George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina.”

And now “that’s the narrative about Obama. It’s the narrative even among Democrats. They’re beginning to say, ‘Oh, we love everything he says; we just wish he could get something done.'”

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