Tuesday, November 05, 2013

2nd Term Blues


"Doctor, Doctor, give me the news, I've got a bad case of 2nd Term Blues".   With apologies to Moon Martin and Robert Palmer, I had to steal a line from their great tune "Bad Case of Loving You" and reword it a bit for this post. 

So, Mr. President, how is it going?  Not so well obviously.   The situation relative to your standing in the polls is deteriorating.  The landmark program that you, and no other President before you was able to pass into law is running as bad as advertised.  You haven't been able to get a long term budget deal done with your opposition party.   All, in all, I would think you might be ready for your 2nd term to be over. 

However, you still have work to do on behalf of the people who sent you back to Washington.  You have got to get your act together and focus on the next 3 years being run as smoothly and competently as the last 2 have been run incompetently. 

You are suffering from a bit of buyer's remorse from the people who sent you back for your 2nd term.  I supported you and voted for you because I still think you are the best person for the job considering your competitor.  I'm very angry with you right now because you have committed a couple of the most grievous sins a politician can make; getting caught lying, and giving a utterly ridiculous opposition party ammunition to make your life harder.  What's going on? What happened to the well-oiled and crack team of political experts that helped you win two terms as President?  What happened to you?

I realize governing is not easy.  It is extremely difficult even in the best of times.  No easy decisions come to your desk.  It must be a monumental headache every morning for you to wake up and see what John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz are up to.  It must be hard to control your temper when the lies that are being said about you are continually covered by the "media" over and over again.  But, young man, you have to get past all that and focus.  You have to stop making mistakes that give this Republican Party a stick to beat you mercilessly, which is what they are doing.   Most importantly, you have to stop trying to walk back a lie by spinning.  It's cheap and doesn't wear well with you.

The launch of the ACA has been by all accounts poorly done.   The fact that over two years of planning and design time were available to your team and they still didn't get it right cannot be overlooked.  You guys messed this up big time.  While your intentions are very good and proper, the execution of the intended plans has done more harm to your goal of getting Universal Health Care for all than any GOP obstruction ever could.  What you and your team has to do is make sure the technical problems are fixed as fast as possible and when that is done, in humility apologize to the American People for this monumental screw-up.

The fact is that the poor roll-out has given the Republicans a chance to say "I told you so", and ramp up their fund-raising against you, you "Kenyan, anti-colonialist, Muslim, communist, so and so".  You've given fodder to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, two people that will strip a carcass of all of its flesh without a second thought.  Will any Republican step up and say "You know, I didn't like this law, and I voted against it, but it is now the law of the land and incumbent upon all of us to ensure that it is implemented as well and efficiently  as possible"?  Of course not.  They will use this as a club to beat you and any Democrat over and over again in 2014 and beyond.  So, get this fixed, and get it fixed now.  You have a small window before the 2014 campaign season starts.  Not only that, get the damned thing fixed for the benefit of the American People.  If you allow this program to fail because of the terrible implementation, then shame on you.

Secondly, stop the spinning on the lie.  You know what I'm talking about:  "If you like your health care plan, and your doctor, you can keep it".   Sound familiar?  Well, over and over again since 2009 you have said this. No, you didn't have the asterisk on the end of the phrase that said "if the insurance companies don't change the policy", or "insurance plans in place at the time of the law were grandfathered", etc., which all may be true, but that is not the point.  You blatantly misled the American People about this.  Forget the fact the insurance plans that are being canceled are "junk" plans that provided almost no coverage for serious medical events. Forget about the fact the new plans are better and from a cost of coverage stand-point more affordable in most cases.  Forget about all the benefits the program is now providing and will continue to provide.  Forget about saying this until you come out and say "I made a mistake".  You, as the leader of this country have to be big enough to go to the people and say you messed up.  You told them something that turned out not to be true. Now, were you intentionally lying about this or is it an unplanned circumstance that was not foreseen?   It doesn't matter. It reads like an intended lie and always will until you apologize for it and put it behind you.

You have the ability to recover from this.  We all make mistakes. We can get better.  Focus on getting the plan implemented correctly and focus on being a more humble and honest President.  Those are the things you can control.  Stop worrying about the GOP.  They hated you when you took the oath of office in 2009, they hate you now, and they will hate you tomorrow.  You cannot control that.  What you can do is make sure you don't let down more than 30 million people that desperately need health insurance as we know people are dying because they cannot get health care.  That must be your focus.

I like you and think you are well intended.  Be the president we all think you can be and get focused.


Dennis Sherrard


  1. Hi Dennis, Haven't read your blog in a while. Surprisingly, we're not far apart on this issue. While I believe that Obamacare is flawed in design, and as you note, poorly executed, it is fixable, and fixing it is in the National interest. Perhaps had the new President better understood the long term ramifications of pushing his signature program through the Congress without bi-partisan support, he might find it easier now to form a coalition to fix it. It makes me somewhat nostalgic for the days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill who I believe had a better vision of leadership that the current Executive or Legislative leaders.

  2. Good stuff. I agree Dennis. Nancy Pelosi addressed the canceled policy issue last night on Charlie Rose. She said it involves about 5% of currently insured and that 95% can keep their current plan. She said let's not underestimate the problem but let's also not overstate the impact. On this point and several others she was much better than POTUS in explaining and defending Obamacare. I'm not a Pelosi fan but she is one of the smartest and best politicians in DC.