Obama brought us another killer quote this past week, this one from the kneepad interview conducted by Chris Matthews at American University on December 5. A Wall Street Journal editorial memorializes it:
On Thursday, Mr. Obama dropped by American University for a heart to heart with Chris Matthews, and the MSNBC host wondered who in the executive branch is responsible for the botched health-care rollout. Mr. Obama listed a few impersonal culprits including “cynicism,” “Washington gridlock” and “the management of government,” but he then drifted into another classic.
“The challenge, I think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization,” he said. “It actually has to do with what I referred to earlier, which is we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly. . . . The White House is just a tiny part of what is a huge, widespread organization with increasingly complex tasks in a complex world.”
So after five years, Mr. Obama has discovered government is inefficient and wasteful, or at least it is when he needs a political alibi.
Built-in incompetence and bureaucratic inertia are two of the reasons that some of us opposed handing the feds power over, oh, say, one-seventh of the economy. But there’s a special irony here for Mr. Obama, given that the cardinal political project of his Presidency is to rehabilitate the public’s confidence in large activist government.