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Is Obama a good President?

Lest any one be disappointed, let me say up front that I don’t plan to answer the question that titles this essay. I frankly do not know the answer, nor even have a firm opinion.

When it comes to where President Obama was born, there is a right answer and a wrong answer, and I don’t think that the perspective of history will add much if anything to that question. When it comes to a President’s job performance, the phrase “fog of war” comes to mind and it’s hard to be objective from the middle of the propaganda battle.

People who dislike Obama through confirmation bias or something more sinister, portray everything he does as a disaster, and the worst ever. It is trivially easy to find anything that is not perfect and claim that it should be better, whether it reasonably could be made better or not. No President (save perhaps Lincoln) actually presided over the near destruction of the country, and while we have problems, I don’t think the country is anywhere near the verge of civil war nor an economic collapse like the Great Depression. Obama critics on the left had, I think, an unrealistic view of how liberal he was, and so they are disappointed when he’s not what they expected. I see Obama as a moderate pragmatist and not at all compatible with extremists and radicals on either the left or the right—and those people are the ones who make the most noise.

If I could point one unequivocal failure of the Obama Administration, it would be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. However, that is mitigated by an army of people working as hard as they could to make it fail. Understanding this issue, too, will benefit from the hindsight of history, and 5 years from now, the ACA may be as popular as Social Security.

So ask me again in 10 years whether I think Barack Obama was a good President.

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42 Responses to Is Obama a good President?

  1. avatar
    Slartibartfast January 1, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I agree with you regarding waiting to judge President Obama—what irks me are the people who consider him the “worst president ever” based on a mishmash of things he had no control over, things that they would approve of under a Republican president and outright lies about his actions or positions. Hopefully history will clearly see the incredible partisan disfunction that he had to deal with and evaluate him in that light.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    The hypocrisy of those attacks is evident.

    Slartibartfast: what irks me are the people who consider him the “worst president ever” based on a mishmash of things he had no control over, things that they would approve of under a Republican president and outright lies about his actions or positions. Hopefully history will clearly see the incredible partisan disfunction that he had to deal with and evaluate him in that light.

  3. avatar
    JPotter January 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    “However, that is mitigated by an army of people working as hard as they could to make it fail.”

    Did you mean to use “mitigated” there? I believe you meant to convey that the flaws in the creation/implementation of the ACA cannot be laid on the Obama administration alone.

    Ah, I see, you mean the Executive Branch’s responsibility for any troubles with the ACA is mitigated in that the deranged “derail at any cost” opposition is also responsible. “Mitigated” as in diluted / shared.

    Gotcha.

    I, too, agree. I only have a strong preference/dislike of Obama when the opportunity to compare/contrast is given. Considered in a vacuum … I guess he’s ‘OK’. Considered against his opponents from ’08 and ’12, then yes, please give me Obama. Given a selection of all politicians currently serving, O would not be my top choice.

    You go to govern with the President that you have, not the President you wish you had.

  4. avatar
    Keith January 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    f I could point one unequivocal failure of the Obama Administration, it would be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. However, that is mitigated by an army of people working as hard as they could to make it fail.

    First you say ‘unequivocal failure’, then you equivocate. I’m not sure that is what you wanted to say.

    That aside, I don’t think the ACA implementation is a failure. The website was a failure, sure, and that problem was all on the Administration, even if the States failure to do the right thing made it more difficult. Other opponent generated confusion didn’t make the program itself any friends, but it isn’t a failure, at least not yet.

    To me the only unequivocal failure was the failure to close the gulag at Guantanamo.

  5. avatar
    Steve January 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Keith: To me the only unequivocal failure was the failure to close the gulag at Guantanamo.

    I don’t know that that was a snap-your-fingers-and-it-is-done kind of thing. Didn’t Congress refuse to fund its closure?

  6. avatar
    Yoda January 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    The only thing that I care about is that he be judged based by the same standards applied to other presidents.

  7. avatar
    Rickey January 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    We must keep in mind that Obama is the first President in our lifetimes who has faced an opposition party which has been determined to oppose everything he proposes.

  8. avatar
    RanTalbott January 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Keith: To me the only unequivocal failure was the failure to close the gulag at Guantanamo.

    Actually, that was _very_ “equivocal”: he did everything that was legally possible to effect closure, and eliminated the remnants of the “law-free zone” the Bushies created.

    Were it not for the fact that it still has much of its propaganda value, I’d be arguing strongly that we should keep it: it provides high security, but humane living conditions, for the people who really must be kept locked up (If you want to talk “gulag”, sending them to a supermax in a climate where the winter cold can literally kill you sounds a lot more like the originals). It avoids creating a terrorist target on the mainland, where the logistics of pulling off an attack are a lot simpler.

    The one thing that remains really bad about it is the way it unfairly isolates the “never were/no longer a threat” people we haven’t been able to repatriate. But even for them, a move to Illinois might well be worse.

  9. avatar
    Steve January 1, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    As much as I hear from wingnuts that Obama has “trampled on the Constitution” is there really anything that he has done that everyone could agree is unconstitutional?

  10. avatar
    Kate January 1, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    Steve, I’ve recently been reading several older birther posts and these claims of President Obama ruining the economy, attacking the Constitution, etc. go back as far as the beginning of February 2009, less than a few weeks after his inauguration. Apparently many of his detractors slept through the Bush Presidency with their claims against PBO regarding executive orders, “czars” and many other similarities were never brought up by then between 2000 and 2008. They didn’t care about the Constitution when President Bush said it was nothing more than a damn piece of paper yet give them 3 weeks with PBO in office and suddenly, he’s anti-Constitutional, anti-American and about to ruin the U.S. for good, instigating martial law and his very own troops! Their obsessive hatred regarding PBO leads them to believe anything no matter how preposterous, as long as it smears the President and/or his family.

  11. avatar
    Dave January 1, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    “Worst President ever” is one of those phrases that gets very overused. We hear that about Obama all the time, and we hear it about Bush Jr, and Carter. People need to remember that it’s very hard to compete for that title against e.g. Buchanan and Harding.

  12. avatar
    Curious George January 2, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    “If I could point one unequivocal failure of the Obama Administration, it would be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

    I think most people would agree.

    “Understanding this issue, too, will benefit from the hindsight of history, and 5 years from now, the ACA may be as popular as Social Security.”

    My prediction is that as we learn more about the various hidden nuances of the ACA (that had to be passed so that we could then read what was in the bill) and their impact on the public, healthcare and the economy, the ACA (Obamacare) will become recognized as the signature failure of the Obama presidency.

  13. avatar
    red-diaper baby 1942 January 2, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    I agree about Guantanamo, but also that it was apparently politically impossible. It probably could have been done, had he not been saving saving his political capital for the health-care (or rather, health-insurance) reform. And of course that too had to be done — though with less irrational opposition it probably could have been done a lot better (single-payer!!!).
    Right now, however, I’m waiting to see what he’ll decide about the tar-sands pipeline. Like it or not, the environment and climate change is by far the most urgent challenge of our time, and the President’s decision will show, one way or another, whether we’re willing and indeed able to do anything do deal with this enormous task. Of course at this point it’s more or less a symbolic gesture; but we all know how overwhelmingly important symbols can be!

  14. avatar
    red-diaper baby 1942 January 2, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    A further comment: it’s been a pleasure, for the last five years,to have a President whom I can admire and for whom I don’t have to apologize to my European friends: thoughtful, intelligent and well-read; willing and able to consider various options in any given situation, including less macho ones, and to choose the best (cf. Syria); far less narcissistic than most politicians (a little narcissism is I guess unavoidable, or no-one would run for office); in fact, a “cool dude”. Image is less important than actions; but it does count.

  15. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 2, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    You could be right. I hope not. When any criticism of performance is made, I always ask “compared to what?” The ACA didn’t arise in a vacuum; there was a problem. My opinion is that the ACA is not a good solution to the health care problem, but it was a compromise between nothing and a good solution, made because of the strength of the opposition to good solutions. The question is whether the ACA is better than the status quo, and whether it is the best that could have been done given the political climate.

    Curious George: My prediction is that as we learn more about the various hidden nuances of the ACA (that had to be passed so that we could then read what was in the bill) and their impact on the public, healthcare and the economy, the ACA (Obamacare) will become recognized as the signature failure of the Obama presidency.

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 2, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    One important measure of the success of the Obama Presidency is the welfare of the country. Think about what it means, then, for someone to labor to make Obama fail.

    Any American who loves their country should be trying to help Obama succeed and where he has gone awry, to offer constructive alternatives.

  17. avatar
    RanTalbott January 2, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Curious George: (that had to be passed so that we could then read what was in the bill)

    And my prediction is that the widespread willingness to swallow GOP propaganda about what was said and what happened, instead of finding out what actually was said or happened, will be seen as the signature failure of the American public.

    Which was, ironically, exactly what Pelosi was talking about in her usually-misquoted statement.

  18. avatar
    Slartibartfast January 2, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    People like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, for instance (both of whom made it clear that President Obama’s failure was their top priority).

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    One important measure of the success of the Obama Presidency is the welfare of the country. Think about what it means, then, for someone to labor to make Obama fail.

    Any American who loves their country should be trying to help Obama succeed and where he has gone awry, to offer constructive alternatives.

  19. avatar
    Slartibartfast January 2, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    I would also note that ObamaCare is essentially the same plan that was proposed by Bob Dole, endorsed by the Heritage Foundation, and signed into law by Mitt Romney.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    You could be right. I hope not. When any criticism of performance is made, I always ask “compared to what?” The ACA didn’t arise in a vacuum; there was a problem. My opinion is that the ACA is not a good solution to the health care problem, but it was a compromise between nothing and a good solution, made because of the strength of the opposition to good solutions. The question is whether the ACA is better than the status quo, and whether it is the best that could have been done given the political climate.

  20. avatar
    Lupin January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Speaking as a foreigner, I think of Obama sort of like the American Gorbachev.

    He did what he could under very difficult if not impossible circumstances, and it may very well be argued that he couldn’t do more, or better — but in the end, he won’t prevent the rather drastic mutation some might use the word “collapse” but I won’t) of the United States by 2020 or thereabout.

    Also, the alternatives would have been much, much worse.

  21. avatar
    James M January 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Curious George:
    “If I could point one unequivocal failure of the Obama Administration, it would be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

    I think most people would agree.

    “Understanding this issue, too, will benefit from the hindsight of history, and 5 years from now, the ACA may be as popular as Social Security.”

    My prediction is that as we learn more about the various hidden nuances of the ACA (that had to be passed so that we could then read what was in the bill) and their impact on the public, healthcare and the economy,the ACA (Obamacare) will become recognized as the signature failure of the Obama presidency.

    You’re morphing an indirect quote into the suggestion that nobody actually read or understood the legislative text of the ACA before it was passed. Nothing could be further from the truth: The legislation was debated and dissected for many long months, in a very public manner.

    If you can frame some argument against the ACA (Public Law 111-148) in terms of objections to the legislative text itself, that would be very useful. My standing challenge to any opponent of the health reform act:

    Identify one clause in Public Law 111-148, or any rule that has been published in the Federal Register or CFR under the authority of this law, or to any of the prior public health legislation which is referenced by the ACA. State a specific objection to this clause, and present amended language which would correct the law to meet your approval.

    To date, no one has accepted or even acknowledged this challenge.

    There are some very mundane sections of the law, to be sure, and even a person with a legal education but having no background in public health law might be up against a fair challenge in understanding it, especially as it draws its authority from quite a lot of standing laws and codes.

    But to suggest that it was not read, just because you can take out of context something that the Speaker of the House once said, is patently ridiculous and a bald insult to those of us who took active roles during the debate.

    On the other hand, just to be fair, even after reading the full text of the law and many of the items it references, I still would not have been able to tell you that a shutdown of the government would be found in there. So even if you did read it, you didn’t find out “what was in it.”

    Out of curiosity, before the ACA, what other public health legislation were you familiar with? How comfortable are you with the Federal Register and CFR and IRS tax rule processes?

    Not meaning to be long-winded, I repeat my challenge: What is your least favorite clause in Public Law 111-148? What specific language would you propose to amend this clause? How would your amendment correct the flaw?

  22. avatar
    sfjeff January 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    On the PF boards, Obama opponents were crowing about his popularity being just ahead of Richard Nixon and below Bush’s at this point in his presidency and predicting that Obama’s heads were exploding because of this.

    But to me, it is pretty obvious that Americans have been disappointed by the extremely poorly rollout of the ACA online application process- and I am too. As a supporter of the President, the rollout was a disaster politically and in my opinion demonstrates a management problem. One editorial said that Obama needs to clean house- and maybe so- he should certainly look long and hard and determine what decisions led to this fiasco.

    That being said- this does not mean that ACA is a disaster- the elements already implemented- pre-existing conditions clause, children up to 28(?) staying on parents policies are extremely popular.

    If a year from now, the net result is that we have 3 million fewer uninsured- AND insurance rates have not gone up more than the recent averages then I will consider the ACA a success and I think that the rollout failure will be largely forgiven and forgotten.

    But if rates go up dramatically, or the number of uninsured does not decrease dramatically, I think Obama and the Democratic Party will be blamed for that failure,

    Sadly Republicans seem determinedly opposed to reducing the number of uninsured and appear to be welcoming higher insurance rates just so that they can blame them on Obama.

  23. avatar
    Roadscholar January 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    I wanted a moderate President, and was gratified soon into his presidency when things Obama said and did were met with howls from the far right AND the far left. The man is pretty much the exact opposite of what the wingnuts say he is.

  24. avatar
    J.D. Reed January 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    Kate: Steve, I’ve recently been reading several older birther posts and these claims of President Obama ruining the economy, attacking the Constitution, etc. go back as far as the beginning of February 2009, less than a few weeks after his inauguration. Apparently many of his detractors slept through the Bush Presidency with their claims against PBO regarding executive orders, “czars” and many other similarities were never brought up by then between 2000 and 2008. They didn’t care about the Constitution when President Bush said it was nothing more than a damn piece of paper yet give them 3 weeks with PBO in office and suddenly, he’s anti-Constitutional, anti-American and about to ruin the U.S. for good, instigating martial law and his very own troops! Their obsessive hatred regarding PBO leads them to believe anything no matter how preposterous, as long as it smears the President and/or his family.

    Kate, in the interest of being fair and accurate concerning presidents on both sides of the aisle, there’s this from Politifact:
    (Posted on December 12, 2007 | Updated on Feb. 21, 2011)

    Q: Did President Bush call the Constitution a “goddamned piece of paper”?

    A: Extremely unlikely. The Web site that reported those words has a history of quoting phony sources and retracting bogus stories.

    FULL QUESTION

    Is it true that President Bush called the Constitution a “goddamned piece of paper?” He has never denied it, and it appears that there were several witnesses.

    FULL ANSWER

    The report that Bush “screamed” those words at Republican congressional leaders in November 2005 is unsubstantiated, to put it charitably.

    We judge that the odds that the report is accurate hover near zero. It comes from Capitol Hill Blue, a Web site that has a history of relying on phony sources, retracting stories and apologizing to its readers.

    Update, Feb. 21, 2011: The author of the Capitol Hill Blue story has now withdrawn it. Doug Thompson messaged us to say:

    Doug Thompson: This is to let you know that the piece on Bush and the Constitution has been changed and reads:

    “This article was based on sources that we thought, at the time, were reliable. We have since discovered reasons to doubt their veracity. For that reason, this article has been removed from our database.”

    I no longer stand behind that article or its conclusions and have said so in answers to several recent queries. In addition, I have asked that it be removed from a documentary film.

  25. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Any American who loves their country should be trying to help Obama succeed and where he has gone awry, to offer constructive alternatives.

    Amen!!

    One of the things I find most offensive about his most strident opponents is their willingness to let the country be damned in their desperate efforts to thwart anything Obama proposes.

  26. avatar
    JPotter January 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Any American who loves their country should be trying to help Obama succeed and where he has gone awry, to offer constructive alternatives.

    But that’s just it; they don’t see positive developments, progress, success as America succeeding, they see it as Obama succeeding, which to them is far more unacceptable, and immediately so, than is any potential widespread, long-term privations (i.e., screwing the country).

    These bilious bastards would much rather see you fail, rather than both of us succeed, even if it means both of us failing.

    Here’s hoping they finally bleed to death; they’ve cut off their own noses enough times to earn it.

  27. avatar
    James M January 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    sfjeff:
    But to me, it is pretty obvious that Americans have been disappointed by the extremely poorly rollout of the ACA online application process- and I am too.

    Was your personal experience on the ACA website a poor one?

    I had no issues with it whatsoever, aside from the fact that any health insurance plan equivalent to my workplace-subsidized plan would run upwards of $400/month, which would only be cost effective if I were to renegotiate my salary or work as a contractor and forego benefits eligibility (something I had considered doing in 2012, until I was denied private insurance.)

    What problems did you experience with the website?

    Why did you need to use the federal exchange website? Doesn’t your state provide an exchange?

  28. avatar
    Keith January 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    One important measure of the success of the Obama Presidency is the welfare of the country. Think about what it means, then, for someone to labor to make Obama fail.

    Any American who loves their country should be trying to help Obama succeed and where he has gone awry, to offer constructive alternatives.

    Absolutely.

    I think one of the things that motivated me to be looking around the web when I found your site, Doc, was that I somehow stumbled onto a forum where psuedo-Christians were crowing about how they were going to bring down Obama by praying for his complete failure at everything he did; remember the world, not just the USA was in financial meltdown at the time.

    I called them on it in very similar terms to your sentiments here, and they replied very explicitly that they WANTED THE USA TO FAIL SO OBAMA WOULD BE SEEN TO FAIL.

    It was truly the sickest, slimiest, crapola I had ever heard. And it made me realize that the America of my youth was not the same in a very fundamental way.

    It ain’t the Jesuits and the Masons folks, its the John Birch Society. ;-)

  29. avatar
    Adam J Bernay January 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    I’m a fervent detractor of the president’s. I even think one can make a very good case for him as the worst president ever. But I find the Obama Derangement manifested by those in the conservative movement (I am what I call an independent libertarian-conservative) to be ridiculous and counter-productive, especially the perpetuating of the types of tripe that the good Dr. Conspiracy debunks with such skill.

    I continue to hope for the day when we can debate our political differences without ad hominem attacks about Commies, Nazis, Fundamentalists, greedy, uncaring, whatever you want to say that disparages the motives of the people. Maybe I am naive. But I hope that by standing up publicly and debunking the lies told by people on all sides and appealing to them to actually debate the issues that the situation will improve.

  30. avatar
    Northland10 January 2, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    Adam J Bernay: I’m a fervent detractor of the president’s. I even think one can make a very good case for him as the worst president ever. But I find the Obama Derangement manifested by those in the conservative movement (I am what I call an independent libertarian-conservative) to be ridiculous and counter-productive, especially the perpetuating of the types of tripe that the good Dr. Conspiracy debunks with such skill.

    I agree in part and disagree in part. However, part of the problem of the ODS group is an ability to separate what they see as a bad President from a bad person. There were Presidents who were not good as President but were good people with a good heart. They were just not fitted for their time in office (Herbert Hoover comes to mind, as does Carter).

    Since, their overall effect cannot be determined until later, especially since any large change such as a ACA takes 10-20 years to shake out, it is hard to say. Unfortunately, trying to judge a President who entered during one of the worst economic times since the Great Depression is difficult. We are not fully recovered but it could have been much worse. Is our judgement of a successful recovery based on getting back to the level right before the great fall even if that level was artificially inflated by speculation and bubbles? A better gauge may be on the long term affects to our structure which prevent future catastrophes but we cannot determine that until we our outside the current time.

  31. avatar
    sfjeff January 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    James M: Was your personal experience on the ACA website a poor one?

    I had no issues with it whatsoever, aside from the fact that any health insurance plan equivalent to my workplace-subsidized plan would run upwards of $400/month, which would only be cost effective if I were to renegotiate my salary or work as a contractor and forego benefits eligibility (something I had considered doing in 2012, until I was denied private insurance.)

    What problems did you experience with the website?

    Why did you need to use the federal exchange website? Doesn’t your state provide an exchange?

    James, like the majority of Americans, I have health insurance. My state does indeed have an exchange though from what I have heard it is better than the Federal one, but still not great.

    My post though was speaking of the rollout of the website- I attribute that failure- and yes I think it was generally a failure- to the rapid descent in Obama’s popularity.

    While I didn’t go there directly, the President himself admitted the rollout was really bad. I think that how the website rollout(not the ACA itself) should be looked to by the President to examine what went wrong- and to look for improvements in his administration.

  32. avatar
    Kate January 3, 2014 at 3:51 am #

    J.D. Reed: Kate, in the interest of being fair and accurate concerning presidents on both sides of the aisle, there’s this from Politifact:
    (Posted on December 12, 2007 | Updated on Feb. 21, 2011)

    Thanks for the info. I thought I had done a good job of fact checking the sources for this quote after I first heard it but apparently not good enough. Although I’m certainly no fan of Bush, I hate to see him or any President accused of saying things they
    didn’t say. I stand corrected.

  33. avatar
    Lani January 3, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    I’m quite happy with the ACA and the roll out. But I’m from WDC. Decades ago some dumb people decided it was better to out source work to the lowest bidder instead of having competent federal employees do the work. So things blow up, websites fail, and security systems hire flakes like Snowden without checking references.

    That the ACA even became law was a HUGE victory. It’s not perfect. It will never do what a single payer system would accomplish, but it is at a minimum a step in the right direction FINALLY. I don;t understand the mind set that thinks it’s ok to let people suffer and die because they lack the money to pay for the most expensive medical care in the world. Oh, and also not the best care in the world…. by a long shot.

    History will note that Obama was the one who successfully began the reformation of healthcare in the US after more than one hundred years of failed attempts.

  34. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 3, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    There are any number of books about why large IT projects usually fail. I would guess that when reading the resumes of potential cabinet secretaries, experience with large IT roll-outs is not examined.

    In my professional career, a fair part of our business was in cleaning up failed IT projects, so I am familiar with a number of them.

    In the postmortem of the ACA project, one significant factor is the failure of the states to implement their own exchanges, forcing more traffic onto the federal site. Government shutdown on the day the ACA went live made things worse. There were also problems with the government making changes late in the development process.

    One book about a failed project, entertaining, but not directly applicable to the ACA web site, is Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg (2007).

    sfjeff: While I didn’t go there directly, the President himself admitted the rollout was really bad. I think that how the website rollout(not the ACA itself) should be looked to by the President to examine what went wrong- and to look for improvements in his administration.

  35. avatar
    Curious George January 3, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    James M

    ” The legislation was debated and dissected for many long months, in a very public manner. ”

    And promises were made and broken by President Obama in a very public manner about one being able to keep an existing medical plan. I would speculate that had there been an open discussion revealing that hundreds of thousands of people would have their individual plans cancelled because of the ACA, there may have been a different outcome regarding the passage of the ACA. A classic example of bait and switch in my humble opinion.

  36. avatar
    JPotter January 3, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: One book about a failed project, entertaining, but not directly applicable to the ACA web site, is Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg (2007).

    .. has been on my Stuff-to-read-Someday list for years, very happy to see your recommendation here!

    Curious George: And promises were made and broken by President Obama in a very public manner about one being able to keep an existing medical plan.

    I disagree that there was an intentional bait and switch. This administration has been very poor at communicating the intricacies of complex topics to the public, and has continually failed to get its message out in front of the spin and conjecturing of the talking heads. That minimum standards of coverage would have to be put in place is a given, but the implication of standards—that certain plans wouldn’t make the cut, and would have to be replaced—was not comunicated.

    Also, the administration appears to have been too optimistic about the cooperation of the states in expanding Medicaid (only half did?) and setting up exchanges (quite a mish-mash), and about how the insurance industry would react to the new law. I mean, c’mon, these are independent entities with their own interests and survival instincts; it should have been expected, with as much cynicism as possible, that companies would do what they can to gain advantage in the changed environment.

    Every year, for decades, companies have cancelled policies and replaced them at will, taking their customers along for the ride. The ACA simply gives them a pass this year to say, “It’s not us, it’s those guys!”

    On the whole, having increased minimum standards is a good thing, a great thing … and moves to erode this stance by the administration, putting in exemptions for “catastrophic” (read: damn-near-zero) coverage, are mistakes.

    And, perhaps the administration was too optimistic about how the public would perceive this transition. A message saying that some coverage will have to be replaced, and that if you are affected, more comprehensive, robust coverage will be available, would have been more proactive, more honest, more prescient …. and spun like a top by the nabobs of negativism, but that would have happened regardless of the message!

  37. avatar
    Woodrowfan January 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    anybody who think President Obama might be the worst President ever is suffering from ODS, even if they’re not a Birther…

  38. avatar
    Rickey January 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    Woodrowfan:
    anybody who think President Obama might be the worst President ever is suffering from ODS, even if they’re not a Birther…

    No kidding.

    According to iraqbodycount.com, Bush’s war in Iraq has cost the lives of 184,000 people. And that doesn’t include the wounded who have been permanently damaged, both physically and mentally.

    How many people have died because of Obama’s policies?

    On Inauguration Day, 2009 the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 7,949.09 and the S&P 500 closed at $805.22. Today the Dow closed at 16,478.41. and the S&P 500 closed at 1,841.40.

    In January 2009 the unemployment rate was 7.8%, now it is at 7.0% (and possibly lower when the latest numbers come out).

  39. avatar
    Curious George January 6, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Former federal prosecutor accuses President Obama of “fraud” regarding “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” statements to the American public. I think we’ve been all over Mike Zullo for his deceptions. Bush deceived us. Obama deceived us as well and I predict we haven’t heard the end of his misrepresentations about the ACA to the American public.
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TLU2XKfXwkg&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTLU2XKfXwkg

  40. avatar
    Curious George January 6, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    The video link doesn’t work so I’ll link the article for your review.

    http://m.nationalreview.com/article/364667/scheme-behind-obamacare-fraud-andrew-c-mccarthy

  41. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 6, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    I fixed it.

    Curious George:
    The video link doesn’t work so I’ll link the article for your review.

    http://m.nationalreview.com/article/364667/scheme-behind-obamacare-fraud-andrew-c-mccarthy

  42. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG January 6, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    I think Obama is a fair President. He’s certainly done a better job than some of his predecessors. His first term left me feeling a bit underwhelmed, but he’s certainly not a bad President.
    Sure, there are some things the man could have handled better, but at least he’s not sending us to invade every country that looks at us funny, the way W. did.
    Bush let 9/11 spook him too much, and we kept throwing American bodies at every shadow he mistook for the bogey man as a result.
    Obama made some promises that he wasn’t able to keep. Nothing new there. Every President of my lifetime has done that!