I made this point in a private discussion the other day:
I think it’s worth comparing – even though the differences are as stark as the similarities – the response to failure in Iraq in Bush’s second term with the response to the failure of healthcare.gov in Obama’s. Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney simply refused to acknowledge any failure at all. They were incapable of it. But more important, their fellow Republicans absolutely refused to break ranks or air criticism….Now compare Obama, who swiftly copped to a massive error, allowed himself to be knocked about like a punching bag at a press conference, squarely explained why in his mind he had not actively deceived Americans about not losing their plans, and pivoted to fixing the error.
The Democrats, far from remaining in lockstep unity, are all over the map, as they so often are. Their instant panic is almost as bad as the Republicans’ denialism. But only almost. Because of their skittishness and his own integrity, Obama is capable of acknowledging reality and adjusting to it in ways Bush never was. He has not publicly told Kathleen Sebelius that she is doing a heckuva job. He hasn’t actually joked about people losing their insurance, as Bush once did about not finding weapons of mass destruction, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
The Dems motto should be, “Hey, we may be incompetent, but at least we know it, which puts us one step ahead of the other side.” I figure, what’s good enough for Socrates…
Also, it bears reminding that, despite the failure, no one has died because of Obama and Sebelius’ failure. Bush, Rumsfeld and Heckuva Job Brownie would have a hard, hard time making the same claim.