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Monday, November 11, 2013

The View of Obama's Management Skills: How Much Does Politics Matter?

The end of the most recent entry by David Warsh at Economic Principals:

... Evidence is accumulating that Obama is simply not a good manager of the immensely complicate government over which he presides. (An unnamed White House aide solemnly avers to the Post team that the president ended every meeting with his health care staff with the admonition, “All that is well and good, but if the Web site doesn’t work, nothing else matters”) but a good manager would not just say it, but would also make it so.  His hand-picked point-person to oversee implementation was Nancy-Ann DeParle, a veteran manager of Medicare and Medicaid both in Tennessee and then in Washington during the Clinton years. In retrospect, the tip-off might have been when DeParle left the White House last August for a job in private equity. It is an angle yet to be explored.
But evidence is accumulating, too, of a long-simmering guerilla campaign by Clinton loyalists and other Democratic rivals to paint Obama as an indecisive leader and incompetent manager, as a means of creating a narrative for 2016 in which the next Democratic nominee runs against Obama’s shortcomings as well as whoever becomes the Republican nominee. A campaign to compare and contrast the styles of the Bill Clinton and Obama presidencies means that hardly anything  that is said about either one can be taken at face value.
Republicans, meanwhile, are heartened by the re-election victory of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It is worth remembering that that individual mandate was originally a Republican idea for extending coverage to those who were previously insured – only one part of the nation’s enormous health care problems.  As MIT’s Gruber says, “It was only after president Obama put his name to it that it became the devil’s work.”
The GOP’s improvisational campaign against Obamacare is even nuttier than the long “Whitewater scandal” campaign that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment – and even more counterproductive. It is hard to imagine a successful Republican candidate for the presidency who doesn’t somehow take back ownership of the individual mandate and promise to make it work. It will indeed be a governor who accomplishes that  – more than a few years off.

    Posted by on Monday, November 11, 2013 at 07:27 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (127)


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