Skip to main content

Why Dems better hope Obama's lying

By S.E. Cupp
November 16, 2013 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • S.E. Cupp: Repeated snafus in health exchange rollouts make it seem Obama's playing it by ear
  • Cupp: He's either lying about not knowing exchange website not ready, or he's incompetent
  • She says lying would be better it's politically survivable. Incompetence is more damaging
  • Cupp: Dems tout ability to make government solve problems. Botched rollout hurts their brand

Editor's note: S.E. Cupp is co-host of the new "Crossfire," which airs weekdays at 6:30 p.m. ET on CNN. She is also the author of "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity," co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right," a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck's "The Blaze."

(CNN) -- As the fallout from the botched launch of Affordable Care Act's exchanges continues, it grows ever clearer that website glitches are only a small part of the problem with the cumbersome -- and increasingly unworkable -- law. One has to ask: Is President Barack Obama making this up as he goes?

It's hard to imagine that the President and the team charged with implementing Obamacare couldn't have foreseen the problems that have continually popped up. Yet, here we are, bringing in "tech surges" to examine the website problems, security experts to mitigate privacy concerns, insurance executives to "brainstorm" ways to actually insure people. And all the while the President has implied he was the last to know that storm clouds were on the immediate horizon.

There are two possible scenarios here:

S.E. Cupp
S.E. Cupp

One, the President is lying, and quite effectively. If he knew that the website wouldn't be up to snuff, or that millions of Americans would not, in fact, be able to keep their insurance plans if they liked them, then he simply made a calculation that many politicians make: Lies aren't necessarily fatal. Except when they are. Just ask Richard "I'm not a crook" Nixon, George "Read my lips" Bush, or George "WMD" Bush.

Or two, Obama is hopelessly out of the loop. Whether it was the IRS scandal, the NSA spying program or these ACA collapses, no one in his immediate circle appears to have felt it necessary to inform the President of looming problems that he might have to answer for, let alone solve.

Dean and Gergen on the Obamacare mess
Democrats defect, back GOP Obamacare fix

If I were a Democrat like Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, who recently told the New York Daily News, "Saying you're sorry doesn't help me worth a damn at the polls," I might be hoping it's the former. Politicians who lie are hardly exotic. Chicanery is often merely the price of successful political salesmanship.

Incompetence, on the other hand, is far more damaging to the Democratic brand. Whereas the left and much of the narrative in the popular culture have already written Republicans off as impolitic and inept, liberals, on the other hand, assert their intellectual superiority and tout their "willingness to govern" and get things done as party mantra.

Not only is the left smarter and more sophisticated, they insist, they're also supposed to prove that government can solve problems. More pointedly, that big, unwieldy bureaucracies like the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS can solve massive problems, like healthcare.

Whether he was uninformed of or simply incurious about the potential failures, Obama's lack of preparedness and competence in implementing his signature piece of legislation not only diminishes his credibility as a problem-solver, but it jeopardizes the faith in government that liberals rely on. When government looks hapless, private-sector innovators are empowered and emboldened. For liberals, that's bad for business. Better they hope he was merely being dishonest.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of S.E. Cupp.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 2047 GMT (0447 HKT)
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery support the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1817 GMT (0217 HKT)
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1752 GMT (0152 HKT)
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1250 GMT (2050 HKT)
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1845 GMT (0245 HKT)
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Steve Israel is right: Some Republicans encourage anti-Latino prejudice. But that kind of bias is not limited to the GOP.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2323 GMT (0723 HKT)
Peggy Drexler counts the ways Phyllis Schlafly's argument that lower pay for women helps them nab a husband is ridiculous.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
ADVERTISEMENT