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Competence Matters Above All Else

It was simply unrealistic to put the success of Obamacare in the hands of GOP governors who opposed it

What is more important than ideology, good ideas, or smart plans in a leader is basic competence. It is the foundation everything else needs to be build on. Without it nothing else matters. Even the greatest plan can be rendered worthless if not executed properly. This is why the terrible rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been so damaging to President Obama.

Democrats had free rein to write any health care law without needing to make any concessions to Republicans. The Obama administration then had over three year to work on implementing their plan. Yet despite having an almost unprecedented amount of time to prepare, they failed miserably. Obama is either such a bad manager he really didn’t bother to learn about these problems with his signature law until after it launched or he knowingly lied to the American people about the site being ready.

Neither looks good.

Some Democrats have tried to shift the blame to Republican governors for not helping Obama implement his law, but even that is an indirect admission of Obama’s incompetence. Republicans made it very clear in 2010 that they adamantly opposed the law, yet Democrats needlessly insisted on going with a system that counted on Republican governors working hard to make the state-based exchanges functional.

It is simply idiotic to put your signature achievement in the hands of its opponents.

This was Obama’s plan. He gave his team a shocking amount of time to make it work, yet they completely squandered that. There were no big surprises or emergencies that got in the way. They simply failed to do the job for Obama’s signature achievement. This level of mismanagement is what a true scandal looks like, not dick pics or extramarital affairs.

It does not matter if you like someone or think they have good ideas if they can’t get the job done. Even if you strongly prefer the design of one construction company you would never hire them if they proved they lacked the skills to build something without it collapsing.

Until the Obama team can prove they are capable of executing their own plans, it will be hard for some people to believe they can do anything else right.

Photo by Elizabeth Cromwell released under Creative Commons License

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at