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Clarence B. Jones

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The Roll Out of the Affordable Care Website: Obama's 'Katrina'?

Posted: 11/15/2013 7:36 pm

Fortunately, no series of events have yet occurred where President Obama has done or said anything equivalent to President George W. Bush's famous comment to his Hurricane Katrina disaster czar, "You're doing a good job Brownie."

The continuing launch problems of Obamacare, if not resolved in the near term, threaten to overwhelm the president's political ability to successfully realize important second term initiatives, domestic and in foreign policy. If there was any doubt before, there should be none now: Republican and Tea Party opponents have become more emboldened to destroy the Obama presidency and diminish his legacy.

Few people who voted against the president's initial election and re-election ever seriously suggested that he was incompetent or "intellectually challenged." They may not have liked, or event hated, his policies. But, few spoke or wrote suggesting that he was dumb or stupid. His enemies and supporters developed a short hand language describing the management of his presidential campaigns and his administration as "no drama Obama."

The self-inflicted roll out farce of the Affordable Care website is nothing short of high "drama." It may have more lasting political damage to Obama's presidency than any intransigence or opposition of the Tea Party and Republican members of Congress.

It is clear now that unless the roll out problems of the website are quickly and decisively resolved they have the capacity to destroy the one consistent, overarching, widely believed characteristic of President's Obama's leadership: his personal honesty and trustworthiness.

The president himself has said, "If the website doesn't work, nothing else matters." Regrettably, this is true. Because it goes to the very core of what the majority of Americans had previously, in their "heart of hearts" believed about Obama: that he was trustworthy, believable and competent.

Belief in President George W. Bush's trustworthiness and competency was irrevocably and irreversibly damaged as a result of his failure to respond quickly and effectively to the pain and suffering of the people of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

President Obama, now as a result of the debacle of the healthcare website, runs the risk that more and more Americans my commence to connect the dots between Congressman Joe Wilson's shouted interruption of "you lie" during the president's first State of the Union address to the previous roll out assurances of the president that, if you like your current insurance, you can keep it with no material adverse consequences to your overall health insurance coverage.

While there are several important players associated with the website roll out of Obama care, fortunately none of them appear to be at the level of incompetency of "Brownie" and President's George W. Bush's response and mismanagement of relief efforts urgently needed in New Orleans following "Katrina."

In President Obama's case, the clock is ticking; measuring and evaluating his efforts to fix the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.

Politically, however, time is working against him, threatening to make the roll out of Obamacare, his "Hurricane Katrina."

 
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