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NY Times: Rollout Failure is Obama's Katrina

Michael Shear has a news analysis piece out today which compares President Obama to President Bush and more specifically to his response to hurricane Katrina. Shear goes on to say that Obama has lost American's trust and is, to some degree, reaping what he sowed:

Barack Obama won the presidency by exploiting a political environment that devoured George W. Bush in a second term plagued by sinking credibility, failed legislative battles, fractured world relations and revolts inside his own party.

Mr. Obama is now threatened by a similar toxic mix. The disastrous rollout of his health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but has also raised questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency.

Shear notes Obama's newly humble tone in today's presser (captured nicely by this Politico highlight clip) but says earning back trust will be difficult. Shear writes "surveys suggest that his reserve of good will among the public is running dry." The piece ends with a response from the White House which fails to really grapple with the situation:

Mr. Obama’s top aides also reject the comparison to the latter half of Mr. Bush’s second term. They say Americans lost confidence in Mr. Bush because of a botched disaster recovery and a long and deadly war, while Mr. Obama is struggling to extend health care to millions of people who do not have it.

This assumes, does it not, that President Bush intended to botch the Hurricane Katrina response. But what if he meant well but was let down by subordinates, a hostile media and local officials in the opposite party not doing what he expected them to do? Isn't that pretty much the story the White House has been selling on the Obamacare rollout?


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