If Not Him, Then Who? Politico's Epstein Highlights President's Obamacare Blame Avoidance in Matthews Interview

The ongoing effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the negative consequences of his "signature achievement," not only with the HealthCare.gov web site but also his false "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" guarantees, is a sickening sight to behold.

Reid Epstein at the Politico contributed one small chapter in that exercise. He decided to "report" on the portion of the President's interview with MSNBC sycophant Chris Matthews (some related NewsBusters posts are here, here, and here) concerning whether Obama's "management style" contributed to "problems with the Obamacare rollout." The predictable answers: Of course not, he doesn't need to change anything, and there's no reason why a reporter should even be the least bit skeptical. Oh, and it's really all Congress's fault (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

Obama: Health care problems don’t reflect on management style

President Barack Obama said Thursday that problems with the Obamacare rollout don’t mean he needs to change his White House management style.


Instead, the health care mess is indicative of broader problems with the federal bureaucracy that he hasn’t been able to solve, [1] Obama told Chris Matthews during an MSNBC interview.

“The challenge, I think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization,” Obama said. “It actually has to do with what I referred to earlier, which is we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

Obama said “it was obvious that we needed additional controls in place” before Affordable Care Act enrollment began Oct. 1. Yet he said none of those controls center around the structure and style of his White House. [2]

... During the interview, recorded at American University hours before the announcement of Nelson Mandela’s death, Obama cited acquiring a driver’s license, an anecdote from state governments, to illustrate people’s regular problems with bureaucracies. [3]

... Obama reiterated his wish to consolidate federal government agencies that work with small businesses. And as is his custom, he placed the blame on Congress for standing in the way of his efforts to streamline government. [4]

“The challenge we’ve got is that that requires a law to pass,” he said. [5] “And frankly, there are a lot of members of Congress who are chairman of a particular committee. And they don’t want, necessarily, consolidations where they would lose jurisdiction over certain aspects of certain policies.”


[1] — As President, he's in charge of the executive branch of government, which includes the federal bureaucracy. He's had five years to "solve" its problems. He has not only not solved them, but the bureaucracy's insularity from oversight and accountability has grown. A private-sector CEO who vocalized such indifference after five years on the job would be out on his or her ear at the next board meeting.

[2] — "Of course" nothing needs to change at the White House, including Obama's management style. (More accurately, the President needs to begin managing what he's been charged by the American people to manage instead of staying continually aloof from from it.)

[3] — What an incredibly flawed analogy — and of course, Epstein didn't question it. I had my driver's license renewed earlier this fall. While the 25-minute wait at the license bureau was longer than I would have liked, I left with what I sought: a renewed license and a 12-month sticker. People who visit HealthCare.gov are often not getting what they sought after hours of trying — or potentially far worse, they've left the site believing that they've obtained what they needed, but will find out in 2014 at the doctor's office that they didn't.

[4] — Congress isn't stopping Obama from streamlining the bureaucracy. Additionally, Obama has built his own bureaucracy of czars while failing to meet except on rare occasions with Cabinet officials. For example, "White House calendar records just one face-to-face meeting between Obama and his Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the more than three-and-a-half years leading up to the disastrous Obamacare launch."

[5] — The guy who has unilaterally decided to go around Congress on numerous occasions now says he needs a law to streamline the bureacracy. Puh-leeze.

Even the New York Times has noticed that we have an uninvolved bystander as our country's chief executive.

But he has been quite involved in certain things. Remember all those meetings he had with IRS officials in 2010 and 2011? He certainly wasn't aloof or above it all with that agency, was he?

Obama's bottom line: "I get a free pass for screwups as long as the press lets me blame Congress, as I'm sure it will." The Poltico's Epstein certainly did his part.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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