Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obama: The snake oil salesman...

Disastrous rollout of Obamacare only the beginning of meltdown of Obama credibility

by: J. D. Heyes

With each passing day, the law known as Obamacare disappoints, under-delivers, overwhelms and further exposes our nation's president as someone who simply cannot be trusted to tell us the truth.

There are other elements to Obama's staggering collapse of credibility - his claims that he didn't know about IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, that the Benghazi attack was the work of terrorists and that the NSA wasn't spying on Americans and European leaders, among other scandals. But whatever credibility he had left has now been shattered by the reality that the Affordable Care Act is nothing like what he made it out to be.

As recently noted by Dan Henninger at The Wall Street Journal:

The collapse of Obamacare is the tip of the iceberg for the magical Obama presidency.

From the moment he emerged in the public eye with his 2004 speech at the Democratic Convention and through his astonishing defeat of the Clintons in 2008, Barack Obama's calling card has been credibility. He speaks, and enough of the world believes to keep his presidency afloat. Or used to.

All of a sudden, from Washington to Riyadh, Barack Obama's credibility is melting.

Obamacare is the last straw

That the exchange at was going to be an unmitigated disaster was known in many circles prior to its official Oct. 1 launch. Surprisingly, several reports appeared in the corporate media detailing the site's innumerable glitches and functionality problems. The New York Times, for example, reported that the administration was made aware of the problems months ago, but ordered the roll-out to proceed apace, because the president feared delaying it would give his political opponents ammunition to call for the law's entire repeal. As reported by the Times:

By early this year, people inside and outside the federal bureaucracy were raising red flags. "We foresee a train wreck," an insurance executive working on information technology said in a February interview. "We don't have the I.T. specifications. The level of angst in health plans is growing by leaps and bounds. The political people in the administration do not understand how far behind they are."

But the officials in charge of rolling the site out were told, in essence, that "failure was not an option," so out it rolled. And now we see the results - a glitch-prone site.

In addition, insurance rates are much higher than Obama said they would be; millions won't get to keep their plans, because they don't conform with the law's basic requirements; and scores more will get subsidies than previously revealed, which means, once again, that those who pay will be subsidizing those who won't have to.

And this is just Obamacare. Politically, Obama's presidency is experiencing other believability problems, as reported by Henninger:

Amid the predictable collapse the past week of's too-complex technology, not enough notice was given to Sen. Marco Rubio's statement that the chances for success on immigration reform are about dead. Why? Because, said Sen. Rubio, there is "a lack of trust" in the president's commitments.

"This notion that they're going to get in a room and negotiate a deal with the president on immigration," Sen. Rubio said recently on Fox News, "is much more difficult to do" after the shutdown negotiations of the past month.

Selling snake oil

When credibility becomes a problem for an average politician, the political world shuns that person and moves on. "With the president of the United States, especially one in his second term, the costs of the credibility markdown become immeasurably greater. Ask the Saudis," says Henninger.

"Last weekend the diplomatic world was agog at the refusal of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to accept a seat on the U.N. Security Council. Global disbelief gave way fast to clear understanding: The Saudis have decided that the United States is no longer a reliable partner in Middle Eastern affairs."

So not only is Obama ruining U.S. healthcare, his amateurish clown show that defines his foreign policy has him alienating traditional allies as well.

Granted, the relationship with the Saudis has largely been based on economics: They have oil and we have always been not simply a customer but a benefactor as well. As we bought Saudi crude, we did so with the promise of protection. It's not that the average Saudi citizen has ever cared much for Americans; they haven't, and still don't. But the Kingdom was nonetheless a key ally in an unstable region, and Obama has now all but destroyed that relationship as well.

"What is at issue here is not some sacred moral value, such as 'In God We Trust.' Domestic
politics or the affairs of nations are not an avocation for angels," writes Henninger. "But the coin of this imperfect realm is credibility. Sydney Greenstreet's Kasper Gutman explained the terms of trade in The Maltese Falcon: 'I must tell you what I know, but you won't tell me what you know. That is hardly equitable, sir. I don't think we can do business along those lines.'

"Bluntly, Mr. Obama's partners are concluding that they cannot do business with him."

That's what happens when you're a snake oil salesman.

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