How could a president whose signature achievements include the health-care law and two brilliantly tech-centric presidential campaigns screw this up so badly? How could he say even as late as September 26 that the site would work “the same way you shop for a TV on Amazon”? How could he repeatedly make the false promise that all Americans could keep their insurance plans, and then take so long to recognize that he was wrong and mobilize to correct it? This is hardly Kathleen Sebelius’s fault. It is Barack Obama’s fault — a failure of management for sure, and possibly one of character. There is something rotten in the inner-management cocoon of the White House, and if the president doesn’t move to correct it, his situation will truly be hopeless for the rest of this term.
Further, as former Clinton speechwriter Jeff Sheshol writes in The New Yorker,
[A]s Obama is finding, it’s hard for one party to make government work when the other party is determined to make government fail. Yes, the healthcare.gov debacle is manifestly “on us,” as Obama had to concede last week. But it happened in the face of a relentless campaign by the G.O.P. to do everything possible to prevent the law from taking effect, or from working if it did. Congressional oversight, particularly as practiced by Representative Darrell Issa, is just another theatre in the war on efficacy. On occasion, we hear of Republican reforms to the Affordable Care Act, but these are offered in the spirit of the vandal who blithely assures you that your car will run better with two wheels rather than four, so would you please hold his jacket while he removes your rear axle.