Friday, November 15, 2013

Backpedaling Bam is fumbling and bumbling

(NYP) On Thursday, President Obama conducted the “Springtime for Hitler” of press conferences. He came out at noon and proceeded to blather his way through an hour of self-justifications and evasions and apologies and complaints.

And as he went on, you could almost see America reacting as the audience in “The Producers” did to the happy-talk number about Adolf romping at his retreat in Berchtesgaden — with gaped-mouth astonishment.

First, he said he had not been “informed directly that the Web site would not be working.” What on earth does that mean? Was he somehow informed indirectly? In an affronted tone, the president said he wouldn’t have been so stupid as to have promised a great Web site if he’d known it was lousy.

Which makes you wonder: Did he ask?

Oh, and how about that now-infamous lie The New York Times hilariously dubbed an “incorrect promise” the other day? Here the president squirmed: “With respect to the pledge I made that ‘If you like your plan, you can keep it,’ I think — you know, and I’ve said in interviews — that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate.”

So he wouldn’t say he lied, which is understandable. He did say — three times — that the ball was “fumbled,” and that he’s been doing some “Monday-morning quarterbacking” on himself.

The only problem is that if he gets benched, Joe Biden has to come in from the sidelines, and nobody wants that.

But look, he went on to say, this Web-site thing isn’t easy! See, it has programs and things in it. “The Web site itself is doing a lot of stuff,” he explained, because, you know, other Web sites don’t do a lot of stuff. “There’s just a — a bunch of pieces to it that made it challenging.”

Yes, so challenging, they spent 1,100 days and $600 million on it, and it still couldn’t serve more than six people at a time!

Your average porn star has a Web site more functional than that. She’d have to, you see, because she’s in the private market and is out of business if her site goes down.

And you know what else is hard? “What we’re also discovering,” said the man who has completely overhauled the insurance industry, “is that insurance is complicated to buy.” That this might have come as a surprise to him is mind-boggling.

“And another mistake that we made, I think, was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options with a lot of costs and lot of different benefits and plans.” Really? People do that with airline tickets every day. The only difference there is that those Web sites work.

The president then ruminated on this point: “Since I know that the federal government has not been good at this stuff in the past, two years ago, as we were thinking about this, you know, we might have done more to make sure that we were breaking the mold on how we were going to be setting this up.”

Good thinking. Because, you know, when you’re taking effective control of one-sixth of the economy, you might consider the fact that you might have to pay attention.

He talked and talked and talked, and his garrulous incoherence was deeply painful to watch. The only comparable squirm-inducing moment I can remember in politics came in 2011 when Texas Gov. Rick Perry went silent for 53 seconds during a Republican presidential debate trying to think of the name of a government agency . . . and then said, “Oops.”

Rick Perry, we now know, was doped up on pain meds for a bad back. What’s Obama’s excuse?

He has none. You’re only as good as your material, they say in showbiz, and Obama’s material is his health-care plan.

And if his press conference was like “Springtime for Hitler,” ObamaCare is the “Heaven’s Gate” of big-government programs — the one that’s such a flop, it calls into question any and every potential project remotely like it.

OK, I’ll stop now before I mention “Gigli.”