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New Orleans, LA--Aerial views of damage caused from Hurricane Katrina the day after the  hurricane hit August 30, 2005...Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA
Not the same thing.
The New York Times' Michael Shear, demonstrating how if Republicans repeat a talking point enough times, they can get reporters to write it up as if it's a fact, not a Republican talking point:
The disastrous rollout of [President Obama's] health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but also raises questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency.
Whereas if the rollout had gone smoothly, House Republicans would be passing comprehensive immigration reform right this minute. But about that Katrina comparison. Let's review two key differences:
  1. Obamacare's rollout does not involve an American city underwater. There are no bodies in the streets. Rather, a website is not working well and a set of mostly crappy insurance plans are being canceled, with insurance companies taking the Affordable Care Act as their excuse for canceling some decent policies, after years of canceling decent policies without that excuse.
  2. The Affordable Care Act is an attempt to fix a big problem—tens of millions of Americans without health insurance and many more paying more than they can afford or finding out that what they've been paying for won't cover them if they really need it. Parts of its rollout have been botched, but, with six weeks left before the insurance plans go into effect and with months before the end of the open enrollment period, 106,000 people have signed up for insurance and 396,000 people have become eligible for Medicaid. So what we're looking at is a law designed to help people not helping them as much as hoped, not a failure to respond with urgency, competence, or compassion to a massive natural disaster.

Of course Republicans want to compare Obamacare to Katrina. After first denying that Katrina was a political disaster for them, they switched gears to trying to use it for political advantage against Democrats, and have been looking for something they can stick with the name "Obama's Katrina" for years. Previous "Obama's Katrina" attempts have included the Haiti earthquake, Benghazi and the IRS, Hurricane Sandy, the BP oil spill, and at least half a dozen other things. It's a knee-jerk reaction by now—for Republicans. New York Times reporters shouldn't participate in it. It's not like there aren't ways to say "the Obama administration screwed up" without invoking a generation-shaping disaster, after all.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I also hear that (23+ / 0-)

    Obamacare is just like the Nazis.

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:35:05 AM PST

  •  An additional point, Laura: While 106,000 (26+ / 0-)

    have enrolled, and 396,000 are now eligible for Medicaid, an additional  ~900,000 had completed registration and were deciding which plan to choose.

    But, let's say it's the same thing as killing a great American city.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:35:50 AM PST

    •  Why do they leave out Medicaid numbers? (2+ / 0-)

      Don't people now able to get Medicaid/medical care count? It seems the people touting that low 100,000 Exchange enrollee number are just shills for the insurance industry.

      I was livid when I saw that NY Times headline. What a crock!

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:20:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You want the MSM to tout a government program? (4+ / 0-)

        Are you serious?  

        Don't you realize that Medicaid is a bloated government bureaucracy that lets a bunch of lazy, indolent minorities get free health care they don't deserve?  

        Don't you realize that Medicaid helps poor people?  

        Why on earth would anyone want to draw attention to the expansion of a program that wastes money on "takers" who'd rather get handouts than do an honest day's work?

        Don't you understand that this is going to do nothing but foster the "culture of dependency"?

        Haven't you figured out that this is just a way for Democrats to buy the votes of the 47% of the population that's just too shiftless to work?

        Haven't you . . .

        Oh, wait, I seem to be fresh out of right-wing talking points.  Why don't you check back with me on Sunday afternoon once I've had a chance to watch the morning talk shows?  By then the talking heads will have provided me with whole new list of Republican slogans that they've repackaged as "commentary."

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:39:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  GOPers are always full of inappropriate (18+ / 0-)

    comparisons. They are people with poor boundaries, prone to catastrophic language and lacking in the desire to make things work, because it's more fun to control the situation through infantile drama instead.

    Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

    by GreenMother on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:36:08 AM PST

    •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Wasn't it the NYT that made the comparison?

    •  But I have to say, a huge part of this media issue (6+ / 0-)

      is that Dems allow Repugs to own and control the messaging.  Repugs are relentless in their talking points via press conferences and Sunday talk shows, while Dems stay mostly silent.  By comparison anyway.  Hell, there's a bunch of idiot Dems who are actually HELPING Repugs on Obamacare messaging by immediately jumping to their usual panic mode the second things don't go perfectly.  I'm furious at these Dems who are already willingly participating in putting forth legislative "fixes" to Obamacare, which aren't fixes at all but rather tools to end it by death of a thousand cuts.  And Obama isn't any better with his little speech yesterday.  And I don't give a rats ass about anyone being up for re-election next November.  Take your re-election and shove it up your ass.  I'm 1000x more interested in your efforts to help millions of Americans get affordable healthcare (and I mean REAL healthcare, not a giant turd that an insurance company chooses to market as "healthcare"), not your efforts to help yourself.

      Jesus Christ why are Dems so good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  It comes down to the fact that they simply don't have the stomach to play the game of politics, which as repugnant as it is, is NECESSARY if you want to lead a nation like the U.S.  No, Dems constantly trip all over their precious moral high ground so as not to sink to the level of Repugs.  Meanwhile, Repugs will lie, cheat, steal, ANYTHING to move their agenda along.  Or at the very least, are able to blockade the Dem agenda, despite not having the WH or the Senate.  Please!  Dems!  SINK TO THEIR LEVEL ASAP!!!!  I'm voting you in to aggressively advance the values that you claimed to have when you were campaigning.  Values that aligned with mine, which is why I voted for you.  I'm not voting you in to be Mother Teresa.

      And Bill Clinton should shut the fuck up and just go away.

      OK, end of rant.  

  •  Maybe they need some education (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, a2nite

    on a very basic level:

  •  Given what's going on the Philippines today... (13+ / 0-)'s especially absurd to compare web site rollout problems with scores of human deaths.

    Shear does not appreciate the true meaning of the word disastrous.

  •  The Republicans used Katrina to advantage (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, buffie, rocksout, ChemBob, stagemom

    They fired up their base using racism.  "

    Those black people including Ray Nagin got what they deserved."

  •  the stunning thing is the actual natural disaster (8+ / 0-)

    going on in the central Philippines right now that actually resembles Katrina.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

    by terrypinder on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:37:27 AM PST

  •  Jeezus, Laura! (13+ / 0-)

    Why are you not writing front page stories for some big prestigous national Newspaper!?  Seriously this is good stuff! And it's some thing that all Washington Post readers should read on a daily basis.
    Anyway, thank you for everything you do for US!

  •  Maybe they (6+ / 0-)

    can tell us who has lost their life yet as a result of a faulty website. I fault democrats that are just wimps, that can't stand up for themselves . Instead of standing up and taking credit for doing a good thing they are  hiding in fear. If they don't start fighting back they could find themselves in 2010 situation again and that would be a shame.

    • Deaths (0+ / 0-)

      Actually, some extra deaths are probably due to the failed Obamacare website rollout, since fewer people are getting the improved insurance and care that we got into law in 2009.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:54:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not til Jan 1 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Little Lulu

        That's when the insurance you sign up for on the exchange kicks in.

        Plus count all the deaths and illnesses and bankruptcies avoided by letting kids stay on parent's policies until age 26, and all those with access to Medicaid that had nothing before.

        Lives are being SAVED despite the eff-d up web site.

        Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

        by coral on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:24:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Anybody Going to Investigate If GOP Sabotaged (6+ / 0-)

    the web site?

    Dog Poop More Popular Than Congress! Alan Grayson

    by wild hair on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:42:27 AM PST

    •  They're all investigating Benghazi (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, stagemom

      Or Britney Spears' wardrope.

      "Wearing the same outfit more than once! Extreme fashion faux pas!"

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:52:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Asdf... (6+ / 0-)

    I expect by next week the Fred Hiatt Times will call this "Obama's 911"

    "Patients are not consumers" - Paul Krugman

    by assyrian64 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:44:01 AM PST

  •  oh good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buffie, mndan

    obamacare!  not totally as bad as Hurricane Katrina.

    On DailyKos nothing is significant unless Obama doesn't do it.

    by glutz78 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:44:08 AM PST

  •  Go ahead and let them make that comparison (9+ / 0-)

    Every week because of lack of healthcare, the Institute of Medicine estimated that about 900 Americans needlessly die.

    So that's every two weeks, a new Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    But for that we can only blame our lack of a single solution for healthcare that covers everyone. Republicans, what are your thoughts about how to provide that?

    <..crickets chirping...>

  •  whoa... a bit overdone, no? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    my read: Shear isn't comparing bodies floating (could it be made any more dramatic) in the streets to a botched website. He simply writes that the messy rollout of ACA

    ...raises questions about (Obama's) competence in the same way that the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency.
    why do we even need to waste time and energy defending the messy rollout? instead, let's keep an eye on ACA and see if it delivers as promised or, if we need to be wary of any embedded language that undermines the citizen, their rights, and the law.

    because NAFTA provided a great template for any type of sweeping legislation to embed anti-citizen anti-sovereignty language ... mark my words...

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

    by pfiore8 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:46:32 AM PST

    •  not overdone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reginahny, Little Lulu

      It's a clumsy comparison to say the least. You can compare the federal response to Katrina to the federal response to Sandy - and that would indicate that the Obama administration is miles ahead in competence to the Bush administration.

      The botched ACA rollout has no recent precedent. It's an enormously complex law that was bound to have problems - maybe not a glitchy web site, granted. But the issues don't really indicate a fundamental widespread level of ineptness on the part of the government.

      Coordinating between state and local authorities and basically "acting" concerned during a massive natural disaster is pretty straightforward stuff relatively speaking. Most presidents do it just fine. That;s what made Bush's utter incompetence during Katrina so remarkable.

    •  Not overdone in the least. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orlbucfan, lurkyloo

      As a native New Orleanian, I can tell you that Katrina was a disaster of Biblical proportions.  To call the Bush administration's response to it "botched" is the understatement of the year.  The Bush administration's failure to prepare for the hurricane in advance and its nearly complete failure to respond to it after it struck were not matters that simply "undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency."  They demonstrated criminal negligence on the part of the Bush administration.

      Because of Katrina, my sister and her family spent nearly a week trapped in Memorial Medical Center.  As the supplies of food and water ran out, she was convinced she'd have to watch her children die.  Days passed and no one came to the rescue of the thousands of people the floodwaters had imprisoned in that hospital and elsewhere in New Orleans.  Thousands died.

      So, no, the glitches in don't call Obama's competence into question in the same way.  It's not even close.  No one is dying because of problems with the site's "back end," or because of any of the other issues the MSM can't stop talking about.  Anyone who thinks this picayune, trivial shit is in any way comparable to what happened to my home city after Katrina has no sense of proportion whatsoever.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:50:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a resident of New Orleans (16+ / 0-)

    I can say without the shadow of a doubt there is absolutely no comparison whatsoever.

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:47:40 AM PST

  •  Benghazi > Iraq War (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, VPofKarma, Amber6541, Fury, FiredUpInCA

    It doesn't have to be sane.  They're Republicans.

    And, no it wouldn't work if we had a better news culture.  

    When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:48:32 AM PST

  •  I guess Shear didn't get the memo (6+ / 0-)

    About the NY Times being part of the "liberal media". You see this kind of intellectual laziness/nascent moral turpitude every day, alas.

    At least the White House announced that the Upton bill, if it reaches there, is DOA.

  •  It's Like Katrina Because New Orleans is Far Away (8+ / 0-)

    from the Times' target readership, just something they heard about, as ACA is something most of them only hear about.

    If NYT had compared the web site to Hurricane Sandy, which, although vastly less devastating than Katrina, was a tragedy their readership actually experienced, the readership would've been outraged.

    They did this because insurance is finance and finance is Wall Street. NYT is the paper of record of the aristocracy when it comes to finance, as it is with warfare, which is also finance. If money or bombs are involved, NYT is all Judith Miller all the time.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:50:23 AM PST

  •  I keep askign them (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, stagemom, Fury, FiredUpInCA, coral

    what they plan to do about all of us with pre-existing conditions if they get their way. They never have any plans. Normally don't even respond. Well, not once I point out that I have a pre-existing heart disorder. Before I mention it they attack and call me awful things. then silence.

    Getting tired of these people.

    conversations that make no sense are one of the things that make conservatives so attractive.

    by kamrom on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:51:57 AM PST

    •  I've had the same experience, because I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      have PKD, polycystic kidney disease.  I get silence, and a shrug.  That shrug makes me want to slap and strangle them.  Literally.  They really don't seem to care.  

      •  Lost a kidney (0+ / 0-)

        to someone with PKD. No regrets. Fortunately, that person had decent insurance under their employment when the condition was discovered, and was able to keep their job. However, there is a significant proportion without good coverage or even any coverage, besides those who previously had been trapped in employment to keep their health insurance because of preexisting conditions. The value of a society is reflected in and measured by how its least and less fortunate are served.

        I think most of those people you refer to have unknowingly and unthinkingly bought into a bankrupt ideology that falsely sells capitalism as a panacea, which only thinly disguises the fact it is actually promoting the advancement of select elitism at the expense of the vast majority. You can show them how they are the sheep being led to slaughter, but it seldom does any good. Ask yourself--how many Democrats treat their politics like religion? One can blame right-wing media for brainwashing, but I suspect the answer is that is merely a facilitator; that a certain segment of the population has a mindset predisposed to accepting such propaganda, one that allows them to ignore or overlook their own illogicalities and hypocrisies.

    •  They say nothing because what they're (0+ / 0-)

      thinking is that people with the bad luck to have preexisting conditions should just "die quickly". As Alan Grayson once explained so succinctly.

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:29:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brian Williams (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MinnesotaMom, stagemom, Fury

    said last night that this was the biggest problem of the Obama Presidency...and I said..."WTH?"   The media is hyping this thing out of control......  It's basically an underfunded website fix and a tweaking to let some folks keep their shit insurance for another year.   End of story.  

    •  You don't grasp the magnitude of the problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jackson L Haveck, penguins4peace

      1. It's not just a website problem. It's a database problem. In order to accurately calculate subsidies, you have to be able to integrate myriad Gvt databases.

      2. The "cancellation notice" problem is a massive PR disaster BECAUSE the exchanges are not working correctly. If the exchanges were all working properly, then the people getting cancellation notices could just go shop for another plan and be pleasantly surprised at the options available to them. But, they can't. So, they are freaking out, which is totally understandable.

      3. There are going to be serious premium increases over the next couple of years that will be due to the "cancellation" fixes being proposed, which will create ANOTHER major PR headache.

      4. The BIGGEST problem is that the penalties for not signing up are way too low, and the Gvt has no way to enforce them. You are going to see a huge premium spike when people figure this out, and insurers are stuck taking sick people and there are no healthy people to balance out the insurance pool. This will put enormous pressure on Congress to get that fixed. But, how? The only way is to jack up the individual penalty for not signing up, and give the enforcement teeth. There is no way in hell that can pass. The other is to relax the "pre-existing conditions" exclusion ban. The whole system is going to be undermined.

      And, if you think this will create momentum for single payer or a public health insurance option, good luck with that. I hope thats true, but I think the public will be sour on any Gvt attempt to "fix" the national health care system after this debacle.

      In other words, the ACA won't work the way it's supposed to, and will undermine any efforts to get REAL reform. It's an epic disaster for liberalism and the Democratic party.

      •  Except that the ACA was always an effort (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jackson L Haveck, HCKAD, orlbucfan

        to maintain a market-based profit driven private network of insurers as the nucleus of the program.

        IF the ACA fails, I do believe that it will have amply demonstrated that there simply is no future in trying to maintain a system based on market-based profit driven private insurers and that we can finally move ahead to Medicare for All after a long time wasting futile exercise.

        This HAS to happen because the US cannot simply continue to allow the health vampires to to feast upon the blood of the economy at the expense of everything else in society.

        The only other option is that we all become Christian Scientists and simply forgo anything resembling diagnosis or treatment of our maladies and kill off the surplus population that cannot pay for healthcare out-of-pocket, which is the real Republican healthcare plan.

        “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

        by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:25:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You see my point, then. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jackson L Haveck

          Why enact this piece of shit when you know it won't work? Just to prove it to people?!?

          •  Enacting something is better than (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            letting increasing numbers of Americans go completely without access to any medical care whatsoever. That's where we've been for the last few decades.

            400,000 with access to Medicaid now who had nothing before is a great improvement.

            Yes, keep pushing for single-payer, but don't go backward to where we were before.

            Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

            by coral on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:31:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately most on here either (4+ / 0-)

        have their head in the sand or are whistling past the graveyard.  Many of us were shouted down in 2009-10 when we said that the non-Medicaid part of the law was a political and substantive loser.

        "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

        by Paleo on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:26:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's still fixable... (0+ / 0-)

        It's not the recession.  It's not Hurricane Sandy.  It's not Sandy Hook, or any of the other shootings and the gun control thing.  It's a website that will be fixed, and other things that will be ironed out.  We are a "want it today' culture, and folks won't quit whining until they find something else they want.  

  •  r u saying Rethugs compare Bush/Katrina (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to Obama/ACA? struck me after I posted my initial comment.

    seems to me we are playing the same kind of game here.

    we simply do not have the goods or confidence to let the work or the law or the legislation speak for itself... because in fact, most everything coming out of Washington from either side of the aisle is messy and worse.

    always always on the defense. can't get out from under playing it that way.

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

    by pfiore8 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:54:24 AM PST

  •  I'd sill like to know how (0+ / 0-)

    How Ray Nagin evaded criminal charges.  He could have saved lives but he was criminally inept.

  •  Not a substantive comparison but a political one (0+ / 0-)

    And not totally offbase.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:55:05 AM PST

  •  Good public policy is like building a house. (4+ / 0-)

    If the person implementing or creating the policy (or people) think of it like craftsmen, who understand that a good foundation, quality materials, and sound construction practices -- without cutting corners -- will build a House that lasts - the policy will work.

    If, on the other hand, they are less concerned with the policy working than with how to jam it through Congress, and how it will sell politically, they will cut all kinds of corners and it won't work the way it's intended.

    The latter is exactly what happened with the Affordable Care Act.

    It's supporters got so caught up in protecting Obama's backside from criticism, or preventing a big "loss" that they lost sight of the whole purpose of it.

    They focused on its THEORETICAL benefits, rather than all of the myriad problems that the law's structure would create (many of which were PREDICTED by its critics) does it look now?

    Yes, the GOP, many Red states, and insurance companies (and crappy tech contractors) have gummed it up.

    But, with the exception of medicaid expansion (which was a somewhat unpredictable wrench thrown into it by the Supreme Court) every single one of these problems was 100% predictable and should have been anticipated.

    What made the Obama administration think that Texas, to take one example, which was run by a bunch of rabid rightwingers, and a nutcase Governor who threatened secession, would willingly implement this health care law?

    I mean, c'mon!

    And, even more ridiculously, what made the White House think that INSURANCE companies wouldn't use every trick in the book, and exploit every loophole, to screw their customers and make it look like Obamacare's fault?

    These are not the mistakes a competent policymaker commits.

    It's the law. And, we are stuck with it for now. So, I want to see if it can be made to work, somehow. But, for crying out loud, most of this clusterfuck is self0influicted by the White House and the Congressional Democrats. The latter are, BTW, PREDICTABLY running away like Sir Robin in Monty Python's Hold Grail from this thing. That's what Congressional Democrats do, though!


    •  I wonder if Obama had to do it all over again (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He would defer to Max Baucus.  Somehow, I think not.

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:59:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  While I agree with most of what you say, (0+ / 0-)

      your premise is built upon a utopian political establishment that doesn't include obstructionist Republicans intent on destroying government and Democrats from conservative districts. I think we all lament the political games, but you're attacking the symptoms, not the causes, which are a largely apathetic and uninformed electorate containing a vociferous segment of ideological nut jobs with a misguided axe to grind, and campaign financing that corrupts politicians. Absent those things, our politicians could debate issues and legislation solely on their merits, we wouldn't have these kinds of political games, and we would all be better off.

      It's all too easy to be cynical, but despite the many flaws with the ACA, it still represents a step in the right direction, and for the vast majority an improvement over what we had. Baby steps, Hesiod, baby steps. The reality is that we are sometimes forced to take what we can, imperfect as it may be. However, this small victory should not cause complacency--we'll continue fighting for progress.

  •  The RW TGOP are evil & don't care; they make (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Little Lulu

    crap up so that stupid bigoted people will vote for them.

    The evil RWMSM is one of their tools because they are puppets of the evil 1%. Once they sold the rotten Iraq war lie, I stopped watching the lies. All the "news" is is a long commercial selling a product to make evil rich people even richer.

    Evil in America is winning because it owns the media.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 06:58:14 AM PST

  •  Isn't this disingenuous? (4+ / 0-)

    When Katrina comparisons are being made, they are essentially about whether this is a turning point for the Obama administration in terms of the trust and confidence of the public in their government to fulfill it's obligations with basic competence.

    This is no small deal. The stench of incompetence is what brought down the public's perception of both Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, so it's a bi-partisan pitfall.

    In pure public relations terms, the ACA roll-out is a debacle that can be compared to the failure of the Carter Iranian hostage rescue mission and Katrina, which both eroded the confidence of the public in the administration's ability to function and perform. If anything, building a website on the surface seems like a much more easily accomplished task, making the failure that much more inexplicable.

    But yes, it's true that we can comfort ourselves with "at least people aren't dying" due to our incompetence for the moment; but if the ACA is repealed or delayed or diminished as a result of this execution failure, we could lose that comfort in the future.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:00:25 AM PST

    •  You totally overlook the simple fact (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Little Lulu

      That if comprehensive healthcare reform were easy, it would have been done decades ago.
      We have many precedents for all the other scenarios you mention- foreign misadventures, domestic natural disasters - but none for the one at hand
      Unless you count the experience of one state, Massachusetts. And their plan took months before it ran smoothly. They did have the advantage that there was no significant political opposition rooting for failure and doing everything they could to make it happen. They only had 123 sign ups the first month. Now look at them! The Massachusetts program is running great

      •  I don't think anyone said implementing (0+ / 0-)

        comprehensive healthcare INSURANCE reform was going to be easy, but quite honestly, I would think that designing a functional shopping and enrollment website would have been the easiest part.

        It seems like it should be one part Amazon or any other major shopping site to find and compare plans and one part  Turbo Tax for applying and enrollment.

        And actually, why did they combine the two in the first place? Seems like it would have been more effective to have one site to examine prices and select the plan and then once you had made your decision, move over to the other site to enroll. The only information you would have needed to get to the plans to shop is age and zip code, so their would have been no privacy issues in splitting them out.

        It's like no one in the White House or government ever made an online purchase before.

        “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

        by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 08:43:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Bush WH refused Al Naomi's desperate pleas (6+ / 0-)

    to strengthen the SELA levees years before the storm because, of course, their elective war was taking too much of the Pentagon budget.

    For ACA rollout to be "Obama's Katrina," he'd have to have run the health insurance industry first.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:00:44 AM PST

  •  Obama's the luckiest politician in the past 100yrs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    His GOP opponents are so batshit nuts and ridiculous that literal political death blows to his administration just glance off him because they are so incompetent.

    If the GOP was not completely insane, they'd decimate the Obama administration and the Democratic party.

    Can you imagine if these idiots hadn't shut down the Government to create a public opinion cushion with which to absorb the Obamacare clusterfuck?

    And, now they're comparing it to Katrina!


    This will make them look even dumber.

    No. This isn't Katrina. It's Deep Water Horizon. Which, frankly, isn't a good thing.

  •  ACA> Iraq? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, coral

    Why is it that the same demented cult worshiping Republicans that are going spindizzy crackers over this said not thing one about Iraq?

    Because they were in charge, which is really all they care about.



    by Johnny Wendell on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:02:34 AM PST

  •  "Lack of attention to detail" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jackson L Haveck

    Bodies in flooded streets are never the same as a smashingly crapped up website, but both manifest the same problem:

    "Lack of attention to detail."

    And, in the case of the present Administration, regarding the implementation of what the President, his staff, and his supporters have trumpeted as the greatest thing ever.

    When the Administration pays more attention to crushing whistleblowers than implementing its greatest policy achievements, one has to wonder about its real priorities.

    And it's not ad hominem to say so.

    "Goodness and karma bat last." - Anne Lamott

    by Superskepticalman on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:04:02 AM PST

  •  This, folks, is wit. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, stagemom, Fury, FiredUpInCA, coral
    Whereas if the rollout had gone smoothly, House Republicans would be passing comprehensive immigration reform right this minute.

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:09:52 AM PST

  •  THIS IS WEBSITE (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Fury, coral, Little Lulu

    problem nothing else. This will get fixed and people will sign up. Frankly I was surprised that many people signed up inspite the constant drumbeat of negativity. People need this and they will do whatever is necessary to sign up. A lot of people do not have the luxury of this thing failing it is a matter of life and death.

  •  unless . . . . (0+ / 0-)
    It's not like there aren't ways to say "the Obama administration screwed up"
    . . .  one is posting at DKos.

    Say that, and the howling dog packs of hippie-hunters will be on ya in an instant.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:18:55 AM PST

  •  Glossing over important realities (0+ / 0-)

    Katrina was a massive and unprecedented act of nature that happened on its own time, without planning.

    We hope -- maybe naively -- that some planning was involved in the rollout.

    Which makes the failure, if not the consequences, worse than that of Katrina.

    Whether any response humanly possible would have reduced the Katrina body count is certainly open to debate.  By the same token,  Republicans have been accused of murder here at DK for kicking people off Medicaid and for doing everything they could to obstruct the ACA.  If that's the case, it implies an ACA screw up could end up with a body count of its own.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:24:48 AM PST

  •  Highly inaccurate comparison (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A closer comparison would be to compare the ACA rollout to the Hubble Space Telescope.

    My parents made me a Democrat. Scott Walker made me a progressive.

    by DownstateDemocrat on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:24:50 AM PST

  •  Obama's Pearl Harbor? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Fury, Little Lulu

    Obama's Hiroshima? Surely the Republicans can find better comparisons (by which I mean more odious comparisons) than Katrina.

    It's pretty clear the Republicans have been sabotaging the ACA, especially through the Repub governors who have refused to accept Medicaid money. I think their sabotage should be called out. Republicans should be labeled as Fifth Columnists. The Tea Party should be called for its treasonous statements.

    It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. Mark Twain

    by lynneinfla on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:24:54 AM PST

  •  I disagree- this is bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You know what - I'll disagree here-

    Do you know how many liberals work in silicon valley and in Seattle?  Do you know how many sympathetic companies would have been thrilled to take this on and make it succeed?

    So we
    1) Contract to a Canadian company (way to keep those jobs in the U.S.)
    2) Cut ourselves off from the people who could actually get this thing working - our own software people

    It was a dumb dumb dumb move

  •  ACA rollout is merely embarrassing for such a (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, stagemom, Fury, orlbucfan, lurkyloo

    tech-savvy (supposedly) administration.
    Yes, the Repugs do hyperbole much, and the MSM follows suit.

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:26:20 AM PST

  •  Don't really remember Republicans comparing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    anything Obama does to 911. Is it possible they want us to forget that now--it was only useful into the lead up to war.

  •  My fiance saw the effects of Katrina firsthand. (6+ / 0-)

    If he was alive today, he would so deeply angered and insulted.
    That's all I have to say. I am too shocked to say anything else.

  •  "Heckuva Job, Sibelius-y"...... (0+ / 0-)

    For me, Obama's praise for Secretary Sibelius was the high point of yesterdays presser.


  •  denying the political cost of the ACA screwups (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jackson L Haveck

    is short-sighted.  The screwups - plural - the essentially unworkable web site and the President's repeated "inaccurate" reassurances that if-you-like-your-health-plan-you-can-keep-your-current-plan have been platinum political gifts to the GOP.

    Democrats in Congress (and Hillary Clinton) are wise to put distance between their overall support of the ACA and the disastrously inept rollout.  It may save a few of their seats if they can separate themselves from the screwed up rollout.

    Even ethically-challenged Charlie Rangel is openly critical.  

    •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

      Although I think the problems go beyond the roll out.

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:41:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet, (0+ / 0-)

        still nothing like the negligence or death surrounding Katrina.

        Katrina was truly a disaster of epic proportions in which Bush played a major role of neglect.

        A glitchy website, naive trust that insurance companies would be players in good faith given the present handed them, and poor PR for the ACA... mmmm, not so much.

        The hyperbole surrounding the comparison of the ACA rollout to Katrina is simply insane, kind of like Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS). I hope the sufferers of ODS get some access to mental health care once the website is functional, cause god knows they need it.

  •  Obama's Sandy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, Little Lulu, orlbucfan, lurkyloo

    Obama had his Katrina: Hurricane Sandy. Devastating storm, very competent government response. Minimal lives lost, maximal Federal/state cooperation, even with the opposing party governor taking the most damage, which was instrumental in reelecting him and keeping him the frontrunner for 2016 nomination.

    Comparing apples to apples, Obama's apples weren't a disaster upon a disaster. Not to mention Obama's done far more (if not enough) to slow the escalation of these superstorms and the degradation of our cities in their path.

    Journalists like Michael Shear are stupid liars. But we're always going to have stupid liars ready to write for the NY Times. The greatest disaster is what the NY Times and its editors have become. They're worse than Katrina, and even Sandy literally flooding their doorsteps (in Manhattan and the Hamptons) doesn't register enough for them to do their job that keeps them pampered in undeserved privilege.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 07:51:03 AM PST

  •  this is obama's "medicare part D." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, lurkyloo

    nothing more.
    market based solution where the capitalists suck at the teat of the federal trough.

    I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

    by stagemom on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 08:00:55 AM PST

  •  and i wish POTUS and OTHER dems would ask (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, HCKAD

    outloud all day long on the tele/radio/tubes, "why do the republicans want ppl with pre-existing conditions to be turned down for healthcare?  why do the republicans want ppl to have a junk plan?  AND why, when the law was written by and for the INSURANCE CO'S are they turning their conniving backs on this bill?"

    I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

    by stagemom on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 08:09:48 AM PST

  •  Agreed, but (0+ / 0-)

    on the other hand, there might be a fair comparison to be made.

    The glitches in the ACA rollout have inconvenienced dozens.

    Katrina killed many, and made thousands homeless.

    So in sense of scale ... this is to Obama what Katrina was to W.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 08:27:58 AM PST

  •  TALKING POINTS (0+ / 0-)

    In a pseudo-2-party system, whatever the 2nd-party says is presumed to be 'equal & opposite' to what the 1st-party says, falsely dignified by its merely being opposite. Cynical Republicans comfortably take advantage of this obvious media loophole.

    Bill Costley, Valley Village 4-4D, 390 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara CA 95040, 1-408-247-1943

    by costleybill7 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 08:31:42 AM PST

  •  Mr Shear, as a Katrina survivor I just want to say (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarthMeow504, coral, Little Lulu, lurkyloo

    F¥€K you, dumbass.

  •  A better more direct comparison (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, HCKAD, lurkyloo

    would be the rollout of Medicare D.

    Does everyone remember the breathless coverage of Medicare D by the New York Times and the rest of the media?

    Yep, neither do I.

    It's seems a whole bunch of people on the Left and Right need to be reminded what an actual an actual disaster is.

    Millions of Americans, across the country and age spans getting more ill or dying because they lack affordable health coverage, even though they live one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

    There status quo prior to Obamacare was a disaster so widespread and ongoing, and maiming and killing with Katrina-like numbers annually, that people don't even think of it as a disaster.

    But a crappy website and a policy that doesn't let you keep crappy insurance... My God When Will Democrats See This Is An Apocalypse That Never Should Have Happened.

    No "disaster" associated with Obamacare will ever come close to the status quo prior to the Affordable Care Act.

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 08:34:57 AM PST

  •  Marc Gold (0+ / 0-)

    A researcher in special education, suggested that the more competence a person has, the more deviance will be tolerated. This is why Clinton never lost his popularity. Never heard the right come after him on implementation. Until now, the right's efforts to come after Obama on competence did not resonate. Teleprompter? Benghazi just sounded like a witch hunt.

    But health insurance confuses most people. The reason they want to keep their insurance is they dread the mind numbing process of choosing a policy. By making the exchanges sound easy, an expectation of competence was triggered. Although this is probably a blip, for Obama, who is already seen as "other", this is a serious blow

  •  Four years a cliché (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, Little Lulu, Matt Z, lurkyloo

    I looked up "Obama's Katrina" on The Google and found this chestnut from the NYT, dated November 30, 2009:

    As Mr. Obama endured his first hurricane season in office (it ended Monday), political forecasters were inflicting a deluge of “Katrinas” on the weather-beaten commander-in-chief, making the term “Obama’s Katrina” a Category 5 cliché.
    Obama's first 10 months in office had already brought the headlines “Will unemployment be Barack Obama’s Katrina?” and “Will Swine Flu be Obama’s Katrina?” Mark Leibovich concluded:
    As is often the case with punditry, much of the speculation about a Katrina for Mr. Obama may be pre-mature. “President Obama has all sorts of problems,” said the media critic and author, Bob Garfield, co-host of NPR’s “On the Media.” “But so far he has not quite produced the perfect storm, so to speak, of incompetence and negligence to earn the Katrina label on anything.”
    And that speaks to the key difference between Obama's latest "Obama's Katrina" and Bush's actual "Bush's Katrina." (Aside from hundreds of deaths and a city underwater, that is.) There was undeniably a degree of incompetence in the rollout of the ACA website; but negligence? I think not. Trying to help millions of uninsured Americans gain access to health care is the opposite of negligence.
    •  That crazy headline is the NY Times's "Katrina" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      You should write for the NY Times...or be an editor of their FP. Thanks for doing some actual research!

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:41:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Katrina /= New Orleans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wish people would not reduce the scope of the disaster to merely New Orleans alone. That storm was MASSIVE, not just intense, and laid down a swath of destruction hundreds of miles wide across multiple states. In fact, the brunt of the storm hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast with vastly more power than it did New Orleans, causing devastation that was of atomic bomb proportions.

    I love New Orleans as much as anyone (that's what the 504 in my name means), but it's not fair to all the other victims across the entire Gulf Coast region to forget them.

    "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

    by DarthMeow504 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:00:48 AM PST

  •  Their Katrina talking point was "State and local!" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not Bush or Brownie's fault - it was the mayor and the governor who screwed up Katrina response. Obama and the Dems might consider, in response to the comparison, the same "state and local" finger point: state governors and legislators not setting up exchanges, or not expanding medicaid to help the ACA work as it should, and the Rethug Congress relentlessly voting to gut and repeal. PS The Rethugs have also used ex hero Nixon among other unfavorable flip flop comparisons.

  •  Yesterday, I was outraged and posted a rant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    about this, but today I see it in a different light.  I think there are many millions of Americans who take great offense when this president is denigrated unfairly on a regular basis and they react by getting fired up and ready to go when it comes time to vote.  I know I am.  And I'm sick and tired of the constant drumbeat that Americans hate this guy and his failed policies.  Just the opposite.  Every single person I know who hears this Katrina comparison explodes with anger and disbelief.  You have to be either really, really stoopid to believe this absurd comparison or you're grabbing at any flotsam that floats by to save yourself from admiring this man.

    Mark my words, the more shit that gets thrown at him, the stronger and more powerful he appears after brushing it off.  Keep flinging this poo, NY Times.  The joke's on you.

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 09:55:02 AM PST

  •  I used the federal web site and 800-#s. (0+ / 0-)

    did dental.

    Took 30 minutes.

    WTF are you folks talking about ???????

    I did go to 800-# for the comparisons. But that's not a biggie.

  •  dying on my couch, i had to watch Netflix (0+ / 0-)

    for a week or two until the login mechanism got fixed.

    It's not quite the same as this person.

  •  Republicans overuse "disaster" to immunize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    themselves from splash-back from future Republican fiascoes. Once they've successfully degraded the definition of "disaster" in common use, it won't hurt them so much when their future failures to respond appropriately to REAL catastrophes result in anybody saying the Republican response was a "disaster".

    Face it, no President or political party in the White House will ever be immune from actual fallout from some true deadly disaster; but wisely, if not actually intended, the constant spewing of the term "disaster" will make most of the "public" less apt to believe the term even when applied appropriately.

    It's kinda like how, a decade or so ago, to say "Fuck" in public discourse was bad. Now, it's simply "free speech". I foresee "disaster" becoming a term that means anything and everything that goes wrong, no matter how trivial or localized. And, it will largely be due to Republicans and "conservatives" deliberately overusing the term to devalue it's impact.

    Okay, that's sort of my opinion... the biggest "disaster" about this whole affair is that the Republicans have nothing better to offer--at least as far as I know. Put up or shut up!

  •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

    This reporter is developing a reputation for this type of Republican talking points reporting.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 12:30:27 PM PST

  •  Obamacare is Romneycare on steroids (0+ / 0-)

    People complain that Republicans don't have a healthcare plan. That is not true. They do. It's called Obamacare. They're fighting against their own plan while (people who think they are) progressives are fighting for the most regressive healthcare non-reform legislation on the planet. Obamacare has turned American politics on its head. It used to be just backwards. Now it's upside-down and backwards.

  •  Someone should have shut off Cheney's mic (0+ / 0-)

    Allowing him to make the claim that this was anything like Katrina , that the war crimes he and Bush committed, or bankrupting the nation, allowing 9/11 to happen, and their administration watching 1900 people die is gross neglect bordering on intentional murder! Not that Cheney ever had any decency in him before these things happened. Someone needs to take back that heart and give it to someone who can use it. My fingers would be raw typing all of the Bush Cheney crimes.

  •  NIXON (0+ / 0-)

    Here's another hilarious Party of Hate tactic. Conflating the Benghazi tragedy to a scandalous cover-up (of what, I haven't been able to discern) on the scale of Watergate. Are they simply unaware that Nixon was the ONLY president to resign to avoid prison for getting caught lying, cheating, and stealing. If I was a conservative, That is the last thing I would compare ANYBODY to.  Better left unsaid. Them folks are really really really blinded by envy, lust for power, and racism.

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