On his show Sunday Chris Matthews turned the tables on his guests a bit by asking them to name Obama’s biggest mistake during his first two-and-a-half years in office.
A couple of the answers echoed the lament of some liberals and were not all that surprising. Jamie Tarabay, the managing editor of the National Journal, cited the war in Afghanistan and Kimberly Dozier, an intelligence and counterterrorism reporter for the AP, mentioned Obama’s promise to close the prison in Guantanamo without having a plan on how to do it.
But it was the answers from both Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post and David Ignatius of The Washington Post that seemed to have caught Matthews by surprise.
Fineman: His decision to spend all of his political capital and a year-and-a-half of his time on the health care reform law, I think, was his biggest political mistake.
Ignatius: The idea of watching a major change in social legislation without having a consensus in the country and in Congress about what that should look like was a mistake. That’s just not how the president makes good policy.
Fineman and Ignatius aren’t saying they thought Obamacare was a mistake, but that the time and methods employed by Obama to get the law passed cost his party and his presidency dearly.
Even though the health care law passed, it has been roundly vilified by a significant majority and helped lead to the heavy losses the Democrats suffered in last years election. And it continues to be a campaign issue for 2012 with the leading GOP presidential hopefuls all saying that they would work to repeal Obamacare if elected president.
That two of the panelists actually agreed that Obamacare was the President’s biggest mistake thus far is rather remarkable considering they had so many to choose from.