Obama’s “fumble” press conference and the death of managerial liberalism

Obama's "fumble" press conference and the death of managerial liberalism

The post-Obama era officially began on Thursday, as the President took the stage (half an hour late, as is his custom) to deliver a bizarre, rambling press conference that sometimes sounded like an argument he was having with himself.  Few oratories in American history have done as much damage to the concept of managerial liberalism – the idea that the State is better equipped to manage important aspects of mainstream life than private industry.

That’s distinct from welfare liberalism, which also isn’t doing very well these days – check the latest fraud scandal from your favorite precinct of Food Stamp Nation – but at least retains the moral allure of charity.  The American public generally supports the idea of a safety net, and responds to appeals for aid to the desperately impoverished.

But that’s not at all what Obama-style government is about, although the President loves to make appeals to welfare liberalism – as he did in this press conference, by once again tossing around phony numbers of uninsured Americans supposedly desperate for the relief his dying ObamaCare scheme would provide.  (He quoted 40 million today, a figure that is impossible to reach without including illegal aliens, who are – at the moment – not covered by ObamaCare.)  He insisted that nothing would be worse than dragging America back to the supposedly horrible old days of a (relatively) free health care industry… a time when 85 percent of the public was satisfied with its coverage.

ObamaCare is not just about providing welfare assistance to the desperately poor, however.  If it was, it wouldn’t involve a trillion-dollar takeover implemented through thousands of pages of regulations.  The basic rationale for the Affordable Care Act was the ostensible superiority of genius government planning over messy, voluntary transactions conducted between evil, predatory private companies and their idiotic customers, who Obama was insulting just days ago as deluded rubes who were foolish to desire the low-quality products foisted upon them.  It was supposed to be a good thing ObamaCare came along to destroy those millions of “sub-par” insurance policies, because the dim bulbs of the American populace would never have understood the urgent need to dispose of their old, affordable, satisfactory plans to buy high-priced policies filled with “benefits” they don’t want, and in some cases are biologically incapable of using.

But the old excuses are gone, and Obama’s new excuses – driven by full-blown panic from congressional Democrats looking a a 2014 massacre – completely destroy the rationale for managerial liberalism.  He said insurance is really complicated, so of course Big Government needs a lot of time to get it right.  He said he had no idea how poorly Healthcare.gov fared during testing – or else he wouldn’t have been “stupid” enough (his word!) to spend months making boasts about how wonderful it was all going to be.  He was still saying that weeks into the disastrous launch, of course, but he essentially threw the entire Department of Health and Human Services overboard to claim that only in the last few days did he realize what a fiasco the system was.

This incredibly potent version of the Incompetence Defense – that unique Obama Administration tactic of claiming you should not be fired because you’re not very good at your job – was followed by the President’s assurances that now he’s going to start “asking a lot of questions.”

He’s not just making himself look foolish with these naughty-toddler excuses, he’s discrediting the entire theory of superior government planning.  He’s telling you that his trillion-dollar apparatus is incapable of managing itself.  Everyone lies to everyone else.  Managers are kept in the dark, all the way through a half-dozen levels of redundant bureaucratic management.  The President who seized control of health insurance could not be bothered to spend a single hour finding out how the project was going before it launched, crashed, and wreaked havoc.  At one point during Thursday’s presser, Obama mused aloud that government procurement is always wasteful and inefficient.  Now he tells us!

Amusingly, someone apparently told Obama that repeatedly saying the phrase “it’s on me” would make him look responsible, even as he labored mightily to explain why none of it was really on him.  He was quick to jab fingers of blame in every direction.  It’s all the media’s fault for reporting the bad news!  (Yes, he said that.  Twice.  Loyal Democrat partisans in the media, who labored mightily to get him elected and re-elected, are going to have a rough afternoon digesting those accusations.)  It’s the Republican’s fault, for making it necessary to be deceptive and secretive, lest the political opposition find useful material for its arguments.  It’s the fault of congressional Democrats.  His own Administration underlings betrayed him.  State insurance commissioners should have done better, and should now step up to fix what Obama’s titanic mega-government couldn’t get right with three years of planning.

And, of course, above all, it’s the insurance companies’ fault.  The purpose of today’s presser was originally reported to be the announcement of a “fix” for insurance policy cancellations, but it was really all about setting the Little Partners up to take the fall… because they obeyed the law, but betrayed the will of the Great Leader.  Given the volume of childish excuses he pumped out, you’d think it might be hard for Obama to keep up the Great Leader act, but he’s counting heavily on his loyal supporters’ instinctive hatred of private industry.  He just needs to point at insurance executives and mumble something that sounds like “treason.”  The mob will take it from there.

His Majesty graciously allowed insurance companies to keep selling the products he described as “bad apples” just days ago, because his unworthy subjects seem to have an appetite for such apples.  The insurance industry is not excited by the offer to retain an inventory of products that don’t make business sense any more, thanks to ObamaCare’s draconian mandates.  Also, they don’t seem eager to assume their designated role as scapegoats.  “This doesn’t change anything other than force insurers to be the political flack jackets for the Administration,” said one industry insider.  “So now when we don’t offer these policies, the White House can say it’s the insurers doing this and not being flexible.”

“This is a joke,” another source in the industry told reporters.  “It doesn’t change anything but allow the White House to blame insurance companies.”

Karen Ignagni, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, responded at greater length, but was equally blunt:

Making sure consumers have secure, affordable coverage is health plans’ top priority.  The only reason consumers are getting notices about their current coverage changing is because the Affordabe Care Act requires all policies to cover a broad range of benefits that go beyond what many people choose to purchase today.

Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law, Obamacare, could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers. Premiums have already been set for next year, based on assumptions of when consumers will be transitioning to the marketplaces.

If now fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase health coverage in the exchanges, premiums will increase, and there will be fewer choices for consumers.

Say what you will about the insurance companies’ motivations for getting involved with ObamaCare, but they were assured that people would be forced to buy the new plans they’re being forced to offer.  There can be no escape for anyone from Barack Obama’s scheme, and he knows it.  That’s why his “fix” is just political smoke and mirrors, designed to deflect blame.  If this “fix” was actually implemented, as Ignagni pointed out, the ensuing “rate shock” would make today’s cancellation chaos look a pleasant evening at the opera by comparison.

What’s the point in discussing any of these little gimmicks and distractions?  How many components of a fantastically complicated system are we supposed to tear out before conceding that the system is badly designed, and must be scrapped?  President Obama made a compelling case for getting Big Government out of the insurance business, with full ObamaCare repeal, as quickly as possible.  By his own account, the government cannot handle such a complicated industry, and it’s regulations don’t make sense – Obama himself mused that his own Affordable Care Act amounts to forcing people to buy cars they can’t afford, in one of those moments when his aides were probably hissing “shut up, you fool!” through clenched teeth, and vulnerable Democrats were screaming into their own clenched fists.

I can’t imagine there will be many takers for Obama’s excuse that “buying insurance is hard,” and we should forgive the failure of HealthCare.gov because “the website is doing a lot of stuff.”  (It’s full of thingamajigs!)  Buying insurance wasn’t really all that hard before Barack Obama got involved.  In fact, for an awful lot of people, it was more or less automatic – their employer handled most of the details.  This President has gotten a lot of mileage out of short voter memories, but I think most of us can still remember what buying insurance was like before October 1, and it wasn’t the headline-grabbing existential crisis that it is now.

Even though he’s saying it as a cheesy political trick to deflect blame, his “offer” to let people keep their old plans is tantamount to an admission that most of ObamaCare’s rules don’t make sense.  His efforts to escape responsibility for what he described as a “fumbled” rollout amount to a concession that he never should have been trusted with the project, and it’s not just him, it’s the entire system he represents.  Why on Earth would any rational person give him another chance to fall asleep at the switch?  Who would voluntarily do further business with a company that committed this kind of “fumble,” without any effort whatsoever to cashier the managers responsible, or improve its practices?

The monarch of managerial liberalism just spent an hour explaining that Big Government cannot be trusted to manage things, and cannot be held accountable when it fails.  Obama made a fool of himself today, and a mockery of his own governing philosophy.  Republicans would be equally foolish to throw him a lifeline by keeping any “fix” proposals on the table.  Full repeal should be the price of Democrat political survival.  A lot of them are, or soon will be, frightened enough to accept.

The greater disaster of the employer market collapsing looms on the horizon, along with doctor access shock, sticker shock, and other horrors.  Do you think October and November have been rough months for ObamaCare?  This is as good as it gets.  Obama just gave his Little Partners in the insurance industry every reason to turn on him.  He might even have irritated his loyal servants in the mainstream media by chastising them in public.  A strategy to achieve zero blame also tends to leave one with few friends.

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  • Rick_Kalifornication

    Good, castigating article, John! You hit the nail squarely on the head with this one.

    Now, let’s just hope more of those rats jump the sinking ship that is Obama and start turning on him in public!

    Of course, we can always count on his loyal kool-aid drinkers on here to offer him up excuses. After all, he can never be held responsible in their eyes. He’s perfect.

  • GeorgeStGeorge

    Hockeypuck should be here, momentarily.

  • AgTrotter

    When you agree to take a ride on the good ship loli-Sotero, this is the inevitable outcome. As the ship blows into the reef and begins sinking, only Captain Sotero is left bellowing into the bullhorn that all is well.

  • ritaxednorep

    Since his words have little or nothing to do with reality, I feel sorry for the people who have to listen to him to make a living. In another universe someone so obviously insane would be put into a rubber room and be allowed to babble on to his own content, without pundit’s trying to make sense of it all.

  • flmom0f4

    Apparently the Democrats are less than satisfied with Obama’s ‘fix’ and are still moving ahead with their own legislative fix. Mark Begich said if it was up to him he’d make the fix permanent, but they should be looking at at least a 2 year window to keep the old plans. This is too funny, they are essentially making the Republican’s argument for repeal.

  • KayK2

    I thought that comment he made about people buying a car they can’t afford was interesting. Did he honestly think he could get away with squeezing every last spare dime out of people? Does he think everyone adores him so much they will gladly buy into his crap signature legislation? We know about the sticker shock, but he keeps calling it affordable. A $10,000 out-of-pocket with $800 a month premiums is nothing but expensive catastrophic insurance.

  • abc2xyz

    Whether the task is fixing health care, upgrading K-12 education, bolstering national security, or a host of other missions, the U.S. is better at patching problems than fixing them.
    Louis Gerstner
    Mr. Gerstner is correct .

    By patching his “signature-achievement” Obama pivots it toward total collapse. Although the worldwide liberalism helped him intensely [ Nobel prize, media fabrication of his personality cult,etc.], his arrogance, narcissism, and incompetence put him where he deserves : a sad footnote of USA history .

  • 1tomritter1

    I agree with Erick Erickson:

    “The President’s goal has never been a healthcare exchange. It has
    been to blow up the American healthcare system and rebuild it as a
    single payer plan.”

  • kipmjf

    President Bart Simpson Obama: “I didn’t do it; nobody saw me; you can’t prove a thing!”

  • John Geyer

    The man is getting pathetic. Whatever your politics there is something sad about watching a grown man become more and more incompetent.

  • John Geyer

    No need to panic, folks. The good ship Titanic is unsinkable.

  • BostonMary

    “Republicans would be foolish to throw Obama a lifeline by countenancing any Obamacare fixes. Full Repeal should be the price of Democrat political survival for the 2014 mid-term election. Many of them are now frightened enough of losing their cushy jobs to accept the identical repeal proposal Texas (R) Senator Ted Cruz & fellow Conservatives offered them 6 short weeks ago.”

  • BostonMary

    “Gollum never pleaded so piteously for his Precious.” http://www.humanevents.com/2013/11/13/house-democrats-panic-over-obamacare/

  • rennyangel2

    Leftism, the Dem. Party, and ozero and his criminal admin. all are loons right out of La-La Land and Utopia Central. The more this continues the curiouser and curiouser they reveal themselves.

  • rennyangel2

    But that will never happen as he is killing the Dems. at a time when Rep. were going to hold the House and likely take the Sen. anyway.

  • rennyangel2

    The Dems. turned on Carter because he was really trying to get rid of the “water” barons and incredible water industry in the West (a natural desert). Because he is black, ozero had a longer ride than he should have (he should never have been considered a candidate for national office), but when you start ruining the lives of MILLIONS OF MIDDLE CLASS DEMOCRATIC VOTERS, then you have shot yourself in the foot, head, and mouth. Even revenant Dems. can’t stand that kind of pol. terror.

  • Dustoff

    So true, but it looks as if they are trying?

  • globalcrap

    More lies about O Bogus care, but can’t produce any jobs for America. Work hours being cut. Less pay, less taxes. With all the welfare, and illegals, America is turning into a third world disaster.

  • Arminius

    Simple Cliff Notes version:
    “You can’t be trusted to choose insurance for yourself, because you’re all incompetent buffoons.
    “We can’t be held responsible for this mess, because we’re incompetent buffoons.”

  • Arminius

    In the 11th Century, this guy’s head would already be on a pike, outside the city gates.
    I miss the good old days.

  • HDanny

    Yeah,where is hockeypuck,georgie,Eddy,Wil,and Culture Warrior???!!And everyones favorite peanut pumper,chillinout??!!

  • AgTrotter

    Don’t wait for that to happen. He and the other leftist loons are gutless. Plus, they haven’t received their new talking points memo.

  • Dustoff

    The “Smartest man” in the world and can’t even handle a simple bill!

  • B. Smith

    “Republicans would be equally foolish to throw him a lifeline by keeping any ‘fix’ proposals on the table.”

    Republican, noun, a U.S. political party that will shoot itself in the foot to keep the other political party from stumbling.

  • B. Smith

    Of course they are. Never stand between the Republican Party and an opportunity to completely sabotage their own win.

  • B. Smith

    Crying, tearing their garments and rubbing ashes on their heads.

    Oh and listening to Keith Ellison on CNN claim that Obama never lied. And when Erin Burnett says the president ADMITTED to misleading the public, Ellison saying, “I don’t see it as that.”

  • ferryman

    “It’s full of thingamajigs!” Isn’t that a line from Obama’s version of 2001 A Space Odyssey?
    Is it possible that they have planned this out to the point where they could place the blame on the insurance industry to usher in their insistence on a single player system?
    Horrifying to acknowledge the possibility.

  • ferryman

    And not just on an HBO television program!

  • oldhickory49

    What an awesome article. Masterfully scathing. Could it actually be that Barry’s luck has finally run out?

  • gene lalor

    JFK vs. BHO–Somewhat Similar, Mainly Different

    John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was murdered almost 50 years ago in Dallas’ Dealey Square by Lee Harvey Oswald, a malcontented Marxist. By most objective accounts, JFK was a mediocre president during his brief tenure as America’s commander in chief and tragically short life of 46 years, a tenure and a life that has been exponentially exaggerated since November 23rd, 1963.

    With many notable exceptions, Kennedy was much like our 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama.

    A handsome, charismatic man, blessed with an enchanting wife and two beguiling children, JFK accomplished precious little as president over the course of his scant 1,036 days in office, somewhat fewer accomplishments than Obama, yet Jack’s memory still enjoys a distinctive prominence in American political history that will elude Barack, unless one regards abject failure a cause for remembrance.

    Not that the illicit romances of American presidents–and their number is almost incalculable–constitute valid reasons for chiseling a president’s legacy in stone or his face on Mount Rushmore, but they do serve to reflect the fundamental nature and character of those leaders.

    Jack was the cat’s meow, the bees’ knees, antiquated expressions describing a cool, stylish guy who had “a way with the ladies,” so to speak. In short, he was an unreconstructed rake.

    Obama seems somewhat more selective in his choice of ”ladies” than Kennedy was, preferring the ladies of “The View” who idolized him as “eye candy, ” (his self-description), and Kennedy preferring to get it on with movie icon Marilyn Monroe, Mafia moll Judith Exner, 19 year old White House intern Mimi Alford, and a wide assortment of other attractive, young women.

    On the other hand, Obama seems sated by women like Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg with whom he engages in mindless chitchat on national television instead of discussing national issues just before a national election.

    Also, much like African-Americans today who all but worship the ground and water Obama walks on and therefore twice voted for him for similar reasons, JFK was idolized by millions of Irish-Americans who voted for him–and for Lyndon Johnson by default–because he was perceived as “one of their own.” That Kennedy adulation among the Irish rapidly dissipated following revelations about his philandering but Obama worship is still in relatively full bloom, at least in the black constituency.

    An underdog, Jack had succeeded and he acceded to his and his father’s quest for an Irish-American to the hold the highest office in our land just as another underdog, Barack, succeeded and acceded the presidency fifty three years later at the behest of his handlers, his manipulators, who were committed to deceptive hope and radical change.

    The chief differences between Jack Fitzgerald Kennedy and Barack Hussein Obama, in addition to their race, are that when the nasty truth about JFK’s sexual shenanigans, and who he really was, what he did and how he failed was finally exposed, especially his insatiable lust, Irish-Americans largely turned their backs on him.

    African-Americans, though, don’t seem to care a whit that Obama has betrayed them and America. As long as their welfare checks are direct-deposited on time and those food stamp cards work, why should they care?

    Protesting, rioting, and causing mayhem is a helluva lot more fun than working.

  • Jenna Milton

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  • popseal

    Anybody that waits for bureaucrat to fix or improve his life, deserves the disappointment he’ll suffer. The best thing to do with collectivist/progressives is to vote them out of office then otherwise ignore them.

  • Kay Briskey

    ….. and his four limbs would have been scurried in four different directions to faraway cities.

  • Kay Briskey

    ….Of course we don’t know how many Democrats have infilitrated Congress as Republicans ….. but that has for decades been one of their reserved tricks for coming up with the one vote needed to sway the vote their way.

  • Kay Briskey

    The devil has sure been busy handing out that kool aid to stupid Obama worshippers.

  • Kay Briskey

    Muslim House member, Keith Ellison must not pay a bit of attention to what goes on in Washington. He must have all his attention focused on flipping Christian America to Muslim, and guarding Obama’s back.

  • Kay Briskey

    That’s because he envisioned the worst we could expect and turned it over to a Democrat Congress that has been scuttling America’s liberties since Roosevelt blew into office – 1933. A pox upon every single one of them is exactly what they deserve.

  • Kay Briskey

    I want to see the man humiliated beyond belief.

  • Kay Briskey

    Why would any sane person try to redeem something hatched in hell?

  • Kay Briskey

    Revenant. Learned a new word! Thank you, rennyange12.

  • Kay Briskey

    Is the man having a slow mental breakdown? He has become a thorough embarrassment to Democrats, and reviled by those who saw through him before he even became an in viable candidate for president.

  • Kay Briskey

    A mess, for sure, because it was ordered by and created by a horde of incompetent buffoons. The sooner they hit the skids the sooner we can praise God Almighty. God Almighty is our secret weapon they know nothing about, because they consider themselves as gods.

  • Kay Briskey

    Exactly as the chronic liar schemed and planned. A pox upon him, ASAP!

  • Kay Briskey

    Delusional thought is hard to come to grips with and equally hard to get a hold of. Don’t think such is possible for Democrats who’ve been carefully schooled over the years with the idea that Congress belongs to them and is not to be shared with Republicans.

  • rennyangel2

    It’s a wonderful old word for the “walking dead” and was used by Bram Stoke in his “Dracula.”

  • Kay Briskey

    The comments, here, have been masterfully scathing, too. The Christian gloves are off. Bout time!

  • Kay Briskey

    Perhaps, they are in some liberal site cowering in shock and terror.

  • DinaRehn

    Fouad Ajami: When the Obama Magic Died
    There were no economic or cultural bonds among his coalition. He was all things to all people. Charisma ruled.

    The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point.

  • Mike

    I accidentally stumble on Obama press conference for a few seconds. It’s hard for me to watch or hear him speak, it’s like I am watching filth.