The Conversation

Obama lives from one news cycle to the next

In response to The White House Lied About the Cause of Healthcare.gov's Failure:

Another thing that's been bugging me about the pitiful capabilities of HealthCareDotGov is that it's so out of whack with Obama's big, boisterous claims that fifty million souls cried out of health insurance.  No part of this system appears to have been designed with the expectation that 50 million people would be using it.  One strongly suspects Team Obama never believed its own baloney about the vast sea of victims that justified wrecking the entire healthcare system.  The actual number of hardcore uninsured is more like 12 million or less; the system seems to to have been (poorly) designed by people who expected that amount of traffic, and couldn't even rise to meet such a modest challenge.

I think you're right that Obama's various dodges about the October train wreck will go down in history alongside his Big Lie about keeping your health plan if you liked it.  October was really Benghazi all over again: a series of risible falsehoods dished out to a credulous media in order to drag the story along, preventing a critical mass of public outrage from building to detonation.  Obama's people are big believers in living from one news cycle to the next; as long as they "win" this one - the day after Benghazi, then the weekend after that, then the following week; ObamaCare launch day, then the following round of Sunday shows, then the mid-month panic that brought Obama to the Rose Garden for his infamous "Shamwow" infomercial press conference - they believe they can stay in the game, and time is always on their side.

They still think time is on their side now, as the American people will learn to settle for less when it comes to their crummy new State-controlled health insurance system, provided they're doped up with enough subsidies.  Junkies stop complaining about the "little things."

But it's not working that way.  Sticker shock is blowing people's minds, and the subsidies aren't enough to dull the pain, especially not in concert with the anger over lost plans that people really liked.  The Democrat effort to spin the Big Lie as a bunch of cheesy fly-by-night plans people are better off without?  That went over like a lead balloon, because it just wasn't true, and it made a lot of the ObamaCare "losers" even angrier.  And now trepidation over the far larger chaos to come when the employer market blows up is mounting.

Political theorists will study Obama's "one news cycle at a time" survival tactic for generations to come.  It got him re-elected despite four years of grinding unemployment and fabulous Solyndra-style corruption.  He was able to slink past scandals that would have ended anyone else - probably even Bill Clinton - because he could rely on the media's reluctance to create damaging "narratives" around him.  He got past one scandal avalanche after the next, because everything instantly became "old news" once the Administration "won" a few games of Sunday-show parcheesi.  The board was always completely reset for Barack Obama.  He got away with portraying himself, every month for four long and onerous years, as a total outsider who just showed up in Washington yesterday, and couldn't believe what he found.  Why, he's just as surprised, frustrated, disappointed, and angry about [fill in the scandal] as you are!

But that won't work this time.  ObamaCare is all him.  There's no way to declare it "old news," and his efforts to pin it on the party that voted 100 percent against it have provoked guffaws.  I'd say the Ted Cruz drama helped with that, because even the lowest-information voter knows Republicans desperately tried to stop this thing before it came crashing down on us.  

I think a long line of grim news cycles lies ahead for Democrats, from now until 2014, and not even the most helpful media can prevent the American people from turning that into a "narrative" all by themselves.  A quarter of the enrollment period is gone, but less than 2 percent of total target signups have been achieved.  People will remember how the Obama Administration tried to portray that as "overwhelming demand."


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