Donald Lambro

The unraveling of the Barack Obama's dysfunctional presidency started when it became clear his policies were not improving a jobless economy that is still on the Fed's temporary life- support system.

Things went from bad to worse when he won a second term without offering a new agenda. The government was on auto-pilot and remains so today. It is still sinking deeper into debt (two-thirds of a trillion dollars this year), jobs are in short-supply, we've lost the respect of our allies, global terrorism is spreading, but at long last the national news media seems to be turning on him.

His administration was irreparably tarnished by its bungled attempt to cover up the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Lybya, rejecting pleas for security that never came. Then it took a huge hit in its sinister plot to use the IRS to suppress conservative groups opposing his re-election.

Now his health care program, the only major legislative achievement that he hoped would be his legacy, is coming apart at the seams.

Its shaky, under-tested online, sign-up program crashed on the first trial run. It is now clear Obama was not telling the truth when he swore no one would lose health care policies they wanted to keep.

This past week, the White House went to great lengths to deny what the news media was reporting and that the administration's own regulations spelled out in clear detail: If existing private health care policies did not contain the benefits mandated under Obamacare, they wouldn't meet the government's standards.

The West Wing's response from the beginning was that if the insurance companies cancelled any policies, they were to blame, not Obama's health care law.

Valerie Jarrett, Obama's shadowy fixer and political apologist (the only such adviser who's been given Secret Service protection) sent out this tweet Monday, rejecting the news reports on all of the TV networks:

"FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans."

Other administration officials maintained the millions of policy cancellations that have been sent out in the last few months were due to policies that were "substandard" and didn't contain the health care benefits that the government now mandates.

But the Washington Post's highly respected fact checker, Glenn Kessler, rejected Jarett's claim, as well as Obama's repeated insistence that "If you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what."

"The administration is defending this pledge with a rather slim reed -- that there is nothing in the law that makes insurance companies force people out of plans they were enrolled in before the law passed," he writes.

In fact, "The president's statements were sweeping and unequivocal -- and made repeatedly both before and after the bill became law, at least three dozen times," Kessler said.

And he's not buying any of Obama's latest attempts to throw in some new definition of his policy promise.

"Now it turns out the president's promise came with a very large caveat: 'If you like your health-car plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan -- if we deem it to be adequate,'" he added.

Kessler's scoring system for dishonesty is based on the number of long-nose "Pinocchios" he gives his targets. He gives Obama four of them, the maximum failing grade.

But when Obama is caught being dishonest, he doesn't own up to it. Instead, he resorts to demagoguery and goes on the attack.

That's what he did when he went to Boston Wednesday for a stage- crafted, side-show, as his accomplices blamed insurance companies for the cancellation notices that were going out and the higher premiums they were charging for the additional benefits mandated by Obama's law.

"It's no surprise that some of the same folks trying to scare people now are the same folks who've been trying to sink the Affordable Care Act from the beginning," he said.

But the national news media isn't buying his excuses, and neither is a majority of the voters and even Democrats who now talk openly about his inattention to the details of governing.

The Post's political reporter Dan Balz sees much more at stake here than just some temporary "glitches" in the disastrous Obamacare rollout.

"Obama and the Democrats are the advocates for more government, which is why the problems with the rollout of the health-care law potentially loom so large, he says.

"When government doesn't work, it's difficult to convince people that government should do even more," he adds.

But Obama is still peddling bigger government as is his party, even though polls show more Americans now want government to do less.

In November 2008, voter exit polling showed 51 percent wanted government to do more for them. By Election Day 2012, 51 percent said government was doing too much.

On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she alone was the responsible for the problems with the rollout. But a prominent Democrat is suggesting that the law's real problems rest with Obama who doesn't like to dirty his hands with the complicated details of governing.

Obama "doesn't seem to be as relentlessly curious about the processes of government -- whether the legislative process or the implementation process or the administrative...process," says William Galston who was President Bill Clinton's chief domestic policy adviser.

That's when things can go wrong, and then "people start wondering if he's in charge, if he's a strong leader," Galston said.

What's shaping up here is another catastrophic failure of big government trying to do what the private sector can do better for a lot less. And the person responsible for all of this is the bystander who now sits in the Oval Office -- trying to point the finger of blame at everybody else.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.