The key question about ObamaCare is: Who’s running this thing? And that explains why it’s such a disaster — just as confusion over that very question was the key to understanding why the Bush administration handled the war in Iraq so badly before the 2007 surge.
These were policies completely identified with the president who set them in motion. But that president chose to have very little to do with running them.
The “buck stops here,” Harry S Truman said of the president’s desk, but his famously pithy phrase was really just a simple acknowledgment that the president can’t avoid taking the blame if things go wrong. No complex endeavor can succeed without a clear line of authority.
Both Obama and George W. Bush were compelled to fight pitched political battles on behalf of those policies against partisan antagonists — and they may have mistaken those political battles for the managerial challenges involved in making the policies successful.