Commenting on ten day old CNN commentaries is exactly the kind of timely news analysis you’ve come to expect from the old Baron and I’m not going to disappoint. I followed some link over there and found a real gem from Gloria Borger. In her piece entitled, How could Obama not have known? she posits:
And yet, as the dry runs continued to produce red flags — over and over — the President remained in his steely cocoon. If this were the presidency of George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan, the obvious theories would abound: The chief executive is disengaged. Or incurious. Or worse. But since Obama is none of the above, what gives?
She states as a fact that Obama is not disengaged, incurious, or worse. I would argue that is her opinion not a fact and that she goes on to make a pretty good argument against herself as she struggles to absolve Obama of blame for the Obamacare fiasco throughout the piece.
People who have served in top jobs at the White House seem to agree on one thing: a President who wants to get at the truth has to understand the extent of his own isolation. And then establish a zone of immunity for truth-tellers.
Borger mentions this in the greater context of “No Drama Obama”. Which it turns out is not like, say, No Drama Michael Jordan stepping onto the court regardless of the circumstances and importance of the moment and performing at a superior level. Instead it’s No Drama Obama in that he doesn’t like to be bothered with bad news so his inner circle plays Smithers to his Mr. Burns.
I don’t think you can describe a President who strives to conduct the affairs of state in such a way and surrounds himself with with people who allow him to do so as anything but disengaged, incurious, or worse. And I rest assured that had Ms. Borger learned President Bush managed the Iraq War in the same way – never wanting to hear bad news – she would have used it to bash him as disengaged or incurious.
They may be smart, but it appears they had no singular leader. No rollout czar. They had health care wonks and tech wonks and political wonks and even a presidential wonk, but no put-it-all-together-and-make-sure-it-all-works wonks.
It’s a shame our system of government doesn’t have one singular person who is responsible for the execution of laws passed by Congress. If only the federal government had a leader – a chief executive, if you will – to direct the various cabinets and agencies proscribed by the Federal Register.
We’re squarely into the “or worse” category now. Failure of leadership. Worse yet, failure to even try and lead. Embracing the bubble.
I’m going to once again harken back to the days of George W. Bush and how his response to Hurricane Katrina was evaluated. Obamacare becoming “Obama’s Katrina” is something I’ve seen some liberal commentators fret over recently. Of course that’s a silly comparison because Katrina was a natural disaster no one wanted and for which Bush had about three days to prepare vs. a political disaster enacted entirely by Democrats for which Obama has had three years to prepare.
I wonder how Ms. Borger felt about where the buck stopped when a natural disaster devastated an area the size of Great Britain…
As we all sadly know by now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina there is plenty of blame to go around–at the local, state, and federal levels.
The mayor of New Orleans was sadly out of his depth when it came to handling a disaster of this size. So, too, it turns out, was Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. As for the feds–the folks who are supposed to be ready for huge disasters in this 9/11 world–they were just as bad. And the buck stops at the White House, in the Oval Office.
Michael Chertoff, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, was slow to respond, according to this report. The House report says he should have set up a special task force to handle the disaster two days before the hurricane actually hit because everyone knew that it was coming and that the levees could be breached. So what did he know, and when did he know it?
As it turns out, he was in his own bubble because the deputy homeland security adviser to President Bush didn’t immediately act on a report of impending disaster. And Michael Brown, aka Brownie, was busy making phone calls to top folks in the White House, who were busy shielding the president from the gloom and doom.
Sad to say, that effort to protect the president actually exposed him–to well-deserved criticism that his White House, along with the efforts of his disaster management teams, was asleep at the switch. In fact, there was one news report this fall that some within the PR department at the White House were so worried about the images they were seeing on TV that they put together a DVD for the president to watch. We assume the president is seeing everything–or at least some of the things–that the American public is watching. Not so. Not when you live in the bubble. And no one, except the American public, expects you to climb out.
My favorite part is her invocation of “what did he know and when did he know it” outrage because Deputy Director of Homeland Security didn’t form a special task force two days sooner. Aren’t things like hurricanes FEMA’s whole raison d’être? The whole department is a damned special task force for natural disasters.
Then the indictment for not seeing what the American public is watching. Ninety percent of which was complete and utter bullshit for the first week after the storm hit. I love how she so smugly assumes that what was reported during Katrina was better data than what Bush was receiving from DHS and FEMA.
Finally she closes with shaming. Don’t you have enough respect for the American people to climb out from your bubble and get the unvarnished truth?
Which is a little different than how she closes her piece on Obama’s bubble.
So, the irony. All the effort to spare the drama created a huge theatrical mess all of its own. The reviews are lousy, and now the unhappy leading man is stewing, centerstage.
Well played. It’s all about Obama and doggonnit nobody is angrier than he is about the problems with
Obamacare The Affordable Care Act. No, not even the people who’ve lost their policies. No, not the people who are paying double for higher deductible plans. No one is angrier than Obama that he was so disengaged, incurious or worse throughout the three year design, creation, implementation, marketing, and release of Obamacare The Affordable Care Act.
You are a sad, sad little hack, Ms. Borger.
And Barack Obama is not disengaged, incurious, or worse – he’s all of the above.