From 2008 through the fall of this year, the legacy media sacrificed their reputations and their readership to go out in a götterdämmerung of what they imagined to be glory, to help elect and then prop up Barack Obama, whom they saw as the next FDR — the next president to subject the country to years of a Depression almost as bad as the one that the legacy media had inflicted upon themselves.
Which is why now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style, to illustrate the challenges of Stayin’ Alive in the Hopenchange era:
Conde [Nast] laid off Julian Sanchez yesterday amid more cuts in its digital properties. Conde is in an especially bad place with the web: their core competency is selling beautiful, glossy ad pages that readers enjoy looking at. This does not translate well to a digital format, and it’s hard to make your company over overnight.
A bunch of my journalist friends and I have decided that our new toast is “to 2010″. 2009 has so far been pretty disappointing for almost everyone I know, not to mention the country for which we all have great affection.
— Megan McArdle, April of 2009.
Today, with the reputation of old media shattered, how is the namesake program of the president they sacrificed their credibility to promote doing?
Here are a few things I think we can say: It’s working better now than it was two months ago; we don’t know whether that’s good enough; and the fact that the administration is choosing odd metrics, such as comparing the performance of the site to October rather than how you’d actually like it to perform, is probably not a happy omen. (As I believe Scott Adams once noted, irrelevant comparisons are a great favorite of salesmen with mediocre products. “Sure, 37 mph isn’t great for a sports car, but you have to compare that to hopping!”)
And I do think this tells us something else important: The administration has given up on success, as it might once have defined it. The object is no longer 7 million people signed up through the exchanges, with 2.7 million of them young and healthy, and the health-care cost curve bending back toward the earth. It is to keep the program alive until 2015.
— “Obamacare’s New Goal: Stay Alive Until 2015,” Megan McArdle, today.
Or perhaps 2017, as Allahpundit writes today:
Stay the course, in other words. It’ll all pay off eventually! — even if “eventually” means 2017 or later. “[V]oters will grasp that one side is trying to solve our health care problems,” insists Greg Sargent, “while the other is trying to sabotage all solutions while advancing no constructive answers of their own.” Will they, though? I usually stay away from ObamaCare/Iraq analogies, but I’m thinking a big “well, what would you do about Saddam?” campaign by the GOP in 2006 wouldn’t have done much to hold back the Democratic wave in November. If you screw up so badly that the public comes to believe you’ve made an already bad situation worse with your “fix,” blaming the other party for obstruction won’t help you. Democrats are betting, I guess, that this new PR push will help convince people that O-Care hasn’t made things worse, but if you can remember another instance of an Obama publicity campaign succeeding, let me know.
Of course, if its kludged together rat trap Website leads to you believe that Obamacare sucks now, “Wait until it actually starts ‘working,'” Michael Graham warns.