There's a class structure to huge public and private organizations. One class — usually the leaders of enterprises or departments — might be called the Pontificators. They enunciate broad, often-worthy goals and values.
President Obama (indeed, almost any president) ranks as the Pontificator in Chief. In politics, elected officials and pundits (people like me) are lower down on the Pontificator scale. In business, these people cluster in the executive suites.
But most workers belong to the Plumber class. They're the fix-it folks. They're supposed to put the Pontificators' pronouncements and commands into effect. Never mind that these demands are often impractical, inconsistent or uninformed, because the Pontificators have only a sketchy notion of what the Plumbers do or what the real world requires.
Writes Kingsdale of Obamacare:
"A health insurance exchange is more than a website. It is an insurance store, and to manage it well requires insurance experience, technical know-how, and savvy marketing and sales tactics."
Precisely. Whether the administration recognizes this and still has the time to act on it are crucial and open questions.
(Disclosure: John Kingsdale and I once worked for the same employer and knew each other. But we haven't spoken for many years.)
Samuelson writes for The Washington Post Writers Group.