May 28, 2014

WELL, TO BE FAIR, WHAT HAS HE FIXED, BESIDES MAYBE AN ELECTION HERE AND THERE? Megan McArdle: Why Obama Can’t Fix The VA.

The scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs is not going to bring down the administration of President Barack Obama. Nonetheless, it does seem to have legs. Even the administration’s supporters are resorting to half-hearted attempts to blame Congress, or George W. Bush, rather than dismissing the charges as a nonscandal being hyped by ideologues.

As it happens, I believe the administration’s supporters when they say that this scandal was a long time in the making, and that no one president can be entirely to blame. Fundamentally, this points to the difficulty of reforming any institution, and especially a government agency. Yet it also points to one of the cardinal weaknesses of Obama’s presidency: his prolonged hubris about how much a really smart, caring president could change the way government operates.

Obama’s experience with the VA is a testament to the danger of big promises — and high expectations.

Well, that’s pretty much the story of his whole presidency. Followed by disappointment, excuses, and finger-pointing.