Noonan: Cruising on the Titanic?

Loyal readers know that I really like Peggy Noonan.

Even when I disagree with her views, I enjoy her writing.

Noonan was a strong 2008 Obama supporter … not so much any more.

She wrote a really good editorial re: ObamaCare in last Friday’s WSJ.


Worth reading in its entirety … here are a couple of snippets …



The ObamaCare rollout is a disaster for the White House, not a problem or a challenge or an embarrassment, not a gaffe or a bad few weeks.

It is a political disaster, and the only question is whether it is partially recoverable, meaning the system can be made to work in a generally satisfactory way.


Crashed systems, frozen screens, phone registration that prompted you back to the site that sent you to the 800 number, like a high-tech Möbius strip.

All this from the world’s greatest, most technologically sophisticated nation, the one that invented the computer and the Internet. And from a government that is able to demand and channel a great deal of the people’s wealth.

So you’d think it would sort of work. And it didn’t. Which is a disaster.


Early reports of sticker shock, high deductibles and cancelled coverage are not promising.

Does anyone think the president will back off and delay the program for enough time not only to get the technological side going but seriously improve the economics?


So we’re not only in the middle of a political disaster, we’re in the middle of a mystery. What happens if this whole thing continues not to work? What do we do then?


Bill Daley — accomplished political player, former mayor of Chicago and, most killingly, former chief of staff of President Obama, who … admitted the scale of the problem.

Asked whether Kathleen Sebelius should be fired, he said:

“To me that’s kind of like firing Captain Smith on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.”


Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’s iceberg warned of a “train wreck” at a hearing six

He told Mrs. Sebelius: “I understand you’ve hired a contractor. I’m just worried that that’s going to be money down the drain because contractors like to make money more than they like to do anything else. That’s their job.”

A lot of agencies are involved, he said, people are going to get confused, more simplicity is needed.


And there is the enduring mystery of why the president, who in his career has attempted to persuade the American people to have greater faith in and reliance on the federal government’s ability to help, continues to go forward with an astounding lack of interest

President Obama talks but he doesn’t implement, never makes it work.

He allows his signature program, the one that will make his name in the history books, to debut in failure.

In response he says bland, rounded words that leave you wondering what just got said.


Jack Kennedy stayed up nights with self-recrimination after the Bay of Pigs failure.

“How could I have been so stupid?”

A foreseeable mistake and he’d blown it, listened to the wrong people, made the wrong judgments.

That man suffered over his missteps. He worried about his reputation, and the reputation of his government, and of America.

It is disorienting to not see this in our current president.

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2 Responses to “Noonan: Cruising on the Titanic?”

  1. Alex S Says:

    At the source of the rollout, whose screw-up is it, really?

    Ultimately, at the macro level Obama is responsible. But down the line, at the micro-level, it seems the allegedly highly-trained, tech-savvy contractors failed to deliver what they promised – a fully tested, robust, on-time project – despite contractually committing to the project and its timeline.

    Aren’t contractors and consultants supposed to complete engagements in an effective, timely manner, so that they can use that success as a showcase to get more business?

    I remember when, pre-2007, the CEO of Freddie Mac was outraged to have overheard contractors guffawing over breakfast at a nearby table at the Tysons Corner Ritz Carlton, about how they were screwing the company for millions of $$$. At least he had the wake-up call, and ordered a reduction in the number of contingent workers getting unjustifiably rich off the fat of his land.

    “Muppets,” anyone? (remember Goldman Sachs)

    Seriously, Ken, don’t the daily examples of incompetence like this that you see make you wonder whether there is a real, generalized business culture problem – one of businesses failing to make CUSTOMER SERVICE a big priority?

  2. TK Says:

    We pay our “top” CEO’s hundreds of millions to know nothing. Doesn’t seem to bother anybody.

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