Many presidents face scandals that undermine their second terms. But, as Mitt Romney notes, the Obamacare rollout debacle is a problem of the president's own making.
Presidential second terms are a tough business. Ronald Reagan had the Iran-Contra scandal. Bill Clinton had the House of Representatives impeach him over the Monica Lewinsky affair. And George W. Bush saw his approval rating drop from 45 to 28 percent as the economy crashed and the war in Iraq lingered.
So President Obama was facing a tough task anyway.
Then came the Obamacare rollout.
With ill-disguised glee, Mr. Obama's opponent in the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that the Obamacare debacle "has undermined the foundation of [Obama's] second term."
Specifically, Mr. Romney was referring to the promises made by Obama that Americans who liked their current policy could keep it – something that is proving untrue for 7 million to 10 million people. And Romney's insinuation is clear: I wouldn't have done things this way.
Still, there is perhaps a bit too much truth in Romney's statement for Obama's liking.
Immigration reform? New federal stimulus to create jobs? No one is talking about those now. In fact, no one is talking about anything that Mr. Obama wants to talk about now because America is gripped by uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act that is the centerpiece of his presidential legacy.
How many people will be driven off their plans? Will health-insurance premiums rise or fall for most Americans? Will the health exchange website where people can shop for new insurance plans be accessible by the end of November as the White House promises? What happens if it isn't?
And so on.
At this point, we're not even quite sure what Obama's broader goals for a second term agenda are, aside from getting his eponymous health care law to a state approaching functionality.