President Barack Obama will address the glaring problems of the so-called “glitches” in the Obamacare websites. (Given the scale and complexity of the legislation itself, it would be more accurate to say that the problems are features, not bugs.) I have no source in the White House, but given past performance, it should be fairly easy to predict how the president’s speech will go (at 11:25 a.m. EDT). Here are five key predictions:
1. He will join the nation’s outrage as if he were not the president. The signature gesture of the Obama administration is to empathize with public frustration at Washington–as if Obama himself were not in charge of Washington. It is an attempt to avoid accountability–and the media lets him get away with it. Expect Obama to echo remarks by House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)–who pushed Obamacare through passage–about “unacceptable” problems.
2. He will “take responsibility” without taking responsibility. We saw that approach to the Benghazi terror attack, where both Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that they took responsibility–but did not actually take any responsibility, and in fact excused subordinates who had been directly implicated in the failure to provide security to the U.S. consulate. The media, again, let them get away with it and celebrated their empty words.
3. He will prescribe more government without admitting government is the problem. Liberals predictably prescribe more government as the solution to problems with government. Fresh off his scolding lecture to Republicans last week about the importance of the federal government, the president’s “tech surge” will promise to add government expertise to fix Obamacare without admitting that no amount of government expertise could do what it promised.
4. He will reiterate his attacks on Republicans over the shutdown. The President is on a winning streak, and he is known to be a sore winner, so he will reiterate some of the nastiness with which he ended last week, rather than reaching out to the other side. The Democrats’ script for 2014 also depend on reminding the public about the shutdown at every opportunity, so Obama’s remarks will likely fit neatly into that poll-friendly template.
5. He will blame the shutdown for the Obamacare problems. That excuse was hinted at in the New York Times this morning, where it was reported that the government had not yet sought enough contractors to fix the staggering scale of the problems with Obamacare. Expect Obama to blame the shutdown for the delay in finding contractors–as if three-and-a-half years of preparation were not enough time to get the system right (if it ever could be done).