Shiny New Obama Meme Starting to Take Shape

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Given the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website, it was only a matter of time until it became the poster boy for President Obama’s poor management style:

A year after his reelection triumph, President Obama is facing an awkward question from friends and foes alike: Why can’t he run the government as well as he ran his campaign?

What with the IRS targeting of tea party groups; the poor security at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya; the eavesdropping on close allies; and the botched rollout of the landmark healthcare law, Obama increasingly seems to be battling top-level management failures as much as policy or political problems.

On each of these controversies, Obama has claimed ignorance before the fact and outrage afterward, leaving even some Democrats to see him as asleep at the wheel.

Oh please. The IRS didn’t target tea party groups, and eavesdropping on close allies wasn’t a result of poor management. It was a deliberate policy choice. Benghazi does indeed seem to have exposed some weak management practices, but let’s be honest: they were the kinds of things that are routinely found in every audit ever done of a government agency.

In any case, you’re really stretching things if the best you can do is find one example from over a year ago to help make your case. The plain truth is that Obama’s management style is about as good as any other president’s. Obamacare obviously shows him at his worst, but it doesn’t demonstrate some kind of cosmic management deficiency.

As for Obama’s campaign prowess, that’s easily explained. First, compared to rolling out Obamacare, a presidential campaign is a small, uncomplicated operation—and it’s one that can be run dictatorially without regard for federal purchasing and bidding rules. Second, who says it was it all that great? As near as I can tell, it was run perfectly well, but it’s not as if it was a model of campaign efficiency. It was just an ordinary well-run campaign. The fact that Obama won—thanks mostly to improving economic fundamentals and a poor opponent—doesn’t really change that.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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