Gloria Borger's New Spin on Healthcare.gov: Obama Just Doesn't Like Bad News

Now that even the most partisan Democrats have been forced to admit that the Healthcare.gov website has been a disaster, media lefties are scrambling to answer the question of how it happened—while simultaneously trying to draw as few implications about the leadership of President Obama.

As she so often does, CNN analyst Gloria Borger has provided a preview into what the conventional left-media analysis is going to become: Obama just doesn’t like bad news. And somehow this has something to do with not just George W. Bush but also Ronald Reagan.

That minimal, barely there criticism is about all one can muster from a piece she published at Time.com claiming that Obama’s insistence that people act calmly is actually what prevented the White House and the legions of bureaucrats at its command from realizing that Healthcare.gov wasn’t going to work as promised:

“If I had known,” the steaming president reportedly said, according to the New York Times, “We could have delayed the website.”

All of which begs the real question: how could he not have known?

It’s a real head-scratcher. Most powerful man in the free world. Most important issue. Most politically explosive, particularly coming on the heels of the government shutdown. Consider the context: Republicans had just tried to defund Obamacare, and they lost in a heap of public humiliation. So the rollout of Obamacare had to be really impressive, because the Republicans had to be proven wrong.

And yet, as the dry-runs continued to produce red flags—over and over—the president remained in his steely cocoon. If this were the presidency of George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan, the obvious theories would abound: the chief executive is disengaged. Or incurious. Or worse. But since Obama is none of the above, what gives?

Of course Obama could not possibly be incurious or disengaged. He's a Democrat, after all. Only Republican leaders can be fairly characterized as that.

After taking that random shot at some former Republican presidents who have nothing whatsoever to do with Obamacare, she moves to her thesis: Barack Obama is just such a sunny guy, he just can’t deal with bad news:

This much is clear, after speaking with both past and present senior administration officials: no one was really in charge, so no one knew for sure how bad the overall picture was. What’s more, and—perhaps most telling—no one wanted to even hint to the president that this techno-savvy administration possibly had a website stuck in, say, 1995. “People don’t like to tell him bad news,” says an ex-White House staffer. “Part of it is the no-drama culture.”

Oh, that. The infamous no-drama Obama credo: no panic, no drama. “No drama is attractive to people, except there are times when people actually should light their hair on fire,” says one former senior administration official. “That would have been a very good thing.”

Indeed. People who have served in top jobs at the White House seem to agree on one thing: a president who wants to get at the truth has to understand the extent of his own isolation. And then establish a zone of immunity for truth-tellers.

Borger continues on at length to spin the tale: the no-drama culture was worsened by the fact that no one was really in charge full-time of launching Obamacare.

What does not seem to occur to Borger is that even if the proximate causes of the Healthcare.gov website debacle are what she claims them to have been, her reporting does not preclude a much more serious potential ultimate causes: that Barack Obama is an ideologue who rushed to pass a massively overambitious bill and then created a culture of uniformity that prohibited honest criticism of his only significant legislative achievement.

Given all the reporting that has been done about Obama’s many decades spent in various far-left sub-cultures such as at ACORN and the New Party and his long association with people like former terrorist Bill Ayers and preacher Jeremiah Wright, it is not an overreach to conclude that the president has an excessive faith in government bureaucrats and that his lack of actual leadership experience continues to harm his ability to administer the federal government.

Still, I suppose it is at least a measure of progress to realize that pro-Obama pundits like Borger are willing to call him a naïve, rudderless leader—a charge that many lefties were dismissing as a form of latent manifestation of racism not even 6 months ago.

Hat tip: Ace.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013