Peggy Noonan wrote a very insightful piece yesterday on a root of Obama’s problems with Obamacare. In short, she points out (as I did back in June) that Obama is not very interested in actual administration. And he has precious little experience at it. His thing has always been . . . words.
It’s a leader’s job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that’s a conservative leader’s job. It is a liberal leader’s job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful.
And this president wasn’t. I think part of the reason he wasn’t careful is because he sort of lives in words. That’s been his whole professional life—books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it’s been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. It’s all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete. He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you’d expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time.
People say Mr. Obama never had to run anything, but it may be more important that he never worked for the guy who had to run something, and things got fouled up along the way and he had to turn it around. He never had to meet a payroll, never knew that stress. He probably never had to buy insurance!
And he has surrounded himself with Liberal to Leftist ideologues, often young, who are, yes, idealistic, who put being right, er, being enlightened and politically correct far above the boring nuts and bolts of administration. The result? (And I find this passage from Noonan’s post particularly revealing.)
For four years I have been told, by those who’ve worked in the administration and those who’ve visited it as volunteers or contractors, that the Obama White House isn’t organized. It’s just full of chatter. Meetings don’t begin on time, there’s no agenda, the list of those invited seems to expand and contract at somebody’s whim. There is a tendency to speak of how a problem will look and how its appearance should be handled, as opposed to what the problem is and should be done about it. People speak airily, without point. They scroll down, see a call that has to be returned, pop out and then in again.
It does not sound like a professional operation. . . .
And when you apply this to the ObamaCare debacle, suddenly it seems to make sense. The White House is so unformed and chaotic that they probably didn’t ignore the problem, they probably held a million meetings on it. People probably said things like, “We’re experiencing some technological challenges but we’re sure we’ll be up by October,” and other people said, “Yes, it’s important we launch strong,” and others said, “The Republicans will have a field day if we’re not.” And then everyone went to their next meeting. And no one did anything. And the president went off and made speeches.
Because the doing isn’t that important, the talking is.
So what we have here is a President and an administration that is very interested in words, but not terribly interested in the logistics of actual administrating. As Charles Krauthammer wryly opined yesterday, “It’s sort of touching the way [Obama] believes in the power of rhetoric, his rhetoric, in denying and trumping reality.” It is not unlike the dictator who thinks he can go out on his balcony, make a ringing declaration, and it is so!
Well, sometimes that does not work as intended.
And, although Obamacare is so ill conceived it was fated to be a disaster, this wordy ideological trait of the Obama administration has certainly made things worse, thereby making the Downfall of both Obamacare and Obama that much more likely.
Downfall is an ongoing series anticipating and tracking what I expect will be the self-destruction of Obama.