Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"A fateful choice between passing nothing or passing an ugly piece of garbage"

I like much of Walter Russell Mead's writing.
Some intra-party tension between the executive and legislative branches is normal, but the amount of tension in this case is not. Why is this time different? It’s not trade or environmental issues that are driving the rift; it’s the dog that hasn’t barked, the issue that was supposed to unite Democrats even as the President pulled the party to the center on peripheral issues. It was, in short, Obamacare. The Democratic plan for 2014 was to run on achievement of the Holy Grail of blue ideology and Democratic politics since the time of Harry Truman. 
But the Democrats chose…poorly. In Congress, they wrote a horrible mess of a law, filled with all sorts of political land mines and time bombs. Democrats banked on being able to fix the glaring flaws in a conference committee, but when they lost the sixtieth vote in the Senate, they weren’t able to do that. They had to make a fateful choice between passing nothing or passing an ugly piece of garbage, and they picked the garbage. It’s been stinking up the place ever since. 
That’s a self inflicted wound. The Democrats in Congress did that to themselves, and if the continued disintegration of Obamacare is hurting them at the polls…well, that’s democracy in action. 
But the White House, which has actually done a fairly good job using waivers, extensions, and orders to shore up the train wreck of a health care law produced by Congress, committed an act of incomprehensible incompetence. Not only did the administration fail to develop the website for the health care exchanges on time; the President himself was also painfully and publicly clueless about the impending fiasco. The White House’s ineptitude focused the attention of the electorate like a floodlight on all the other deep flaws in Obamacare. And so the GOP, despite also being a house divided, is on the offensive in 2014.
The roll out of Healthcare.gov was "an act of incomprehensible incompetence," of a law that was "an ugly piece of garbage."

I think that sums it up.

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