Ed Driscoll

'Hope is All Obamacare Has Left'

At Bloomberg.com, Megan McArdle writes:

It is possible to imagine contingency plans that the administration could have put into place before Oct. 1. At the very least, it could have been much more generous in allowing people to stay on grandfathered policies. And it could have had the government printing office print up booklets and mail them to every household, giving all the exchange policy options in your county, numbers to call for the insurers, and tables with the possible subsidies. This would still have been a problem, because the exchanges are supposed to attract the young, healthy consumers who are needed to keep insurance premiums affordable for everyone.

You can even imagine the administration having done things like this in, say, the second week of October. But you can’t imagine this being done now. It is one month until the deadline to buy insurance for January. Even if the administration started this morning, none of these things would work. There just isn’t enough time.

When the tech geeks raised concerns about their ability to deliver the website on time, they are reported to have been told “Failure is not an option.” Unfortunately, this is what happens when you say “failure is not an option”: You don’t develop backup plans, which means that your failure may turn into a disaster.

The Apollo 13 reference is a riot, since according to at least one journalist, Mr. Obama was known to shout “We need more moon shot!” to the exasperated writers drafting his State of the Union speech. It’s grimly ironic to see the man who was given his blessings by the Kennedy family in 2008 to be that election cycle’s JFK stand-in, whose administration can’t even get a Website off the ground, let alone landing a man on the moon:

Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men portrays Barack Obama as being confounded by his duties as president. Some of the scenes depicted by Suskind would be comical if they were not so tragic for America.

For example, when Obama’s experts assembled to discuss the scope and intricacies of the stimulus bill, Barack Obama was out of his depth. He was “surprisingly aloof in the conversation” and seemed “disconnected and less in control.” His contributions were rare and consisted of blurting out such gems of wisdom as “There needs to be more inspiration here!” and “What about more smart grids” and — one more that Newt Gingrich would appreciate — “we need more moon shot” (pages 154-5).

On the other hand, McArdle’s article was published yesterday; today the man from Hot Springs who dubbed himself “The Man from Hope” has turned on his would-be successor. Edward Klein’s biography of Obama last year was titled The Amateur, because, according to Klein, that was the epithet that Bill Clinton dismissed Obama’s lack of professional competence with.

And it’s only gotten worse: “Bill Clinton: Obama should honor his promise about keeping your plan if you like it.” As Allahpundit writes:

Three possibilities here. One: If you’re married to the likely Democratic nominee in 2016, it’s never too early to start running away from ObamaCare. Two: With House Republicans set to pass Fred Upton’s “Keep Your Plan Act,” Clinton wants to make sure people know that Democrats want them to keep their plans too. Three: Clinton really does believe that Obama should keep his promise. I can buy either of the first two theories but not the third, for the simple reason that … there’s no obvious way for him to keep his promise at this point.

Obligatory Allahpundit-style exit question: Mr. Obama’s boosters at the Politico ask, “Obamacare: What defines success?”

How do we know that Mr. Obama doesn’t constitute its current performance as success?

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Update: On second thought, this is the obligatory Allahpundit-style exit question:

Ouch.