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October 23, 2013


And by "incroyable!", we mean the suggestion that not bothering to check with your subordinates about the status of your signature achievement before it goes live is any form of responsible or acceptable leadership:

President Barack Obama didn’t know of problems with the Affordable Care Act’s website — despite insurance companies’ complaints and the site’s crashing during a test run — until days into its now well-documented abysmal launch, the nation’s health chief told CNN on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that there is concern in her department and the White House over the technical debacle surrounding the Obamacare website rollout, saying “no one could be more frustrated than I am and the president.”

Not micromanaging is one thing, but no leader or administrator in his right mind seriously believes that subordinates require NO supervision or direction.

It is just stunning that Sebelius seems to think "We had no idea what the people who work for us - who are being paid with taxpayer money! - were doing ... and we didn't bother to ask until it was too late." is an effective excuse. For anyone who actually takes his or her job seriously, that's about as damning an admission as we can imagine.

One of the reasons the Editorial Staff don't write as often as we used to is that a few years ago, we got promoted and now have a team of people who work for us. Management requires time and effort - a LOT of time and effort. There's training, and prioritization (and constant re-prioritization) of work, and quality control, and continual status checks of ongoing projects. We are fortunate to work with a very talented team who don't require constant supervision but only a complete moron thinks NO supervision is a good way to run anything.

The entire point of leadership is to get out in front of things - something Obama seems constitutionally incapable (pun fully intended) of doing:

Think of health-care reform. The White House outsourced this enormous project (whose goals, by the way, I’m all for) to a Democratic Congress guided by the principle that “elections have consequences” -- meaning, never mind the other side’s objections and the idea that a reform of this scope should have bipartisan support. Republicans did push back and Obama did make concessions, but the president was never in charge and never wanted to be.

Or think of fiscal policy. What has Obama done to advance the discussion that the country still needs on tax and entitlement reform? He appointed a presidential commission to advise on the issues and then, in effect, disowned it. All one can really say about the president’s fiscal preferences is that he thinks higher taxes on the rich and higher public spending are, other things equal, good ideas. Obama doesn’t stand for fiscal discipline; he has fiscal discipline thrust upon him.

Or think of states’ rights. This is a politically divided country, with big divisions running along geographical lines. An arrangement that circumscribes the federal government’s role, leaving as much as feasible to be decided by states -- an arrangement like the one envisaged in the Constitution -- has much to be said for it. Obama could speak up for that idea, but doesn’t. He could acknowledge, and perhaps even believe, that the burden of proof lies with those who propose expanding federal powers, but doesn’t.

It's almost as though he likes the status and attention that go with leadership but is terrified of actually being a leader.

Unbelievable, literally.

Posted by Cassandra at October 23, 2013 07:26 AM

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What I find even scarier than Obama and Sebelius not checking is that their subordinates weren't warning them. Even if a boss doesn't have the sense to ask if everything's okay, a subordinate should have the sense to let him know if a huge, public, can't be delayed catastrophe is in the works.

My impression is that this is a pattern with Obama - it's not the first time he's said he didn't know about something before he read about it in the paper. Maybe this is just a variant on plausible deniability but I thought that was supposed to make the one plausibly denying look better, not worse.

Is Obama a "kill the messenger" kind of boss? Is there a filter person who keeps bad news away from him? Is everyone who works for him as dumb as a whole yard of grass?

Posted by: Elise at October 23, 2013 04:59 PM

They're all just lying through their teeth.

They're hoping any disasters can be pushed off until the next news cycle, and then forgotten. And if people keep voting for them, they'll be proved right.

My hope is that even low-information voters won't be able to ignore the news from their insurance company about doubled and tripled premiums.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 23, 2013 07:38 PM

"My hope is that even low-information voters won't be able to ignore the news from their insurance company about doubled and tripled premiums."

Won't happen. See my comment on the Glitches post. Because it's run by the government it is, by definition, better.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 23, 2013 08:58 PM

Obama is an incompetent and inept executive. He pays no attention to things he should be paying attention to, and gets distracted by trivial banalities (the Washington Redskins, March Madness brackets).

We are stuck with him for another three years. He will continue to compound his past mistakes with new examples of his incompetence.

"Obamacare", or the ACA, is the depth of incomptence. It will be the tyranny of incompetence.

And he was elected and re-elected. The electorate as a whole is mis-informed, ignorant and easily stampeded by loud noises, much like cattle.

And Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton are odds on to be elected in 2016.

The Idiocracy is here. Welcome to America, the new monkey house.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 23, 2013 10:09 PM

Don, darlin':

To everything (even idiocy)
There is a season
And a time to every purpose
Under heaven.

Plus, the Sox are in the Series :)

I would have preferred that it be the Nats, but we sucked too massively. Since I hate the Cards, I'll take my victories where I find them.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 23, 2013 10:14 PM

Plus, the Sox are in the Series :)

Yes, and as a Yankees fan, I believe that proves that "To everything (even idiocy)/There is a season". :+)

Posted by: Elise at October 23, 2013 11:07 PM

We used to call this 'accountability,' apparently an unknown term in this administration.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at October 24, 2013 08:54 PM

I'm convinced HHS and the WH was being warned about the problems. And I am also convinced they ignored those warnings, hoping things wouldn't be too bad, because to admit to a problem prior to launch would have been handing the Republicans a political victory, and that just cannot be allowed to happen. Funny how now, after the Republicans included delay of O-care and/or the mandate in the one-sided "negotiations" on the shutdown/debt ceiling which were flatly rejected (because Reid & Obama had agreed in July that they would not negotiate with Republicans, under ANY circumstances), now you have Democrats (and the WH?) pushing to delay the individual mandate and or pushing back the enrollment deadline.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 24, 2013 11:55 PM