In my undergraduate days at Rice University, I was a history major. One particular lecture has always stood out in my memory. The professor said, “A president is two things. He is the leader of his country, and he is the leader of his party. Any president who isn’t both is neither.” That is a lesson Barack Obama should take to heart.

He is on the verge of becoming a complete failure as president. His signature initiative is in ruins and for one reason only: sheer incompetence on a massive scale. That is not his only problem. He said, “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.” That statement was clear, unequivocal and, well, false. As for leading his party, Democratic congressmen are going to start running away from Obama and Obamacare as fast as they can. Obama hasn’t led his party. He is in the process of destroying it.

The advantage gained by Democrats in the shutdown has melted away. I did vote for Obama in 2008, mainly because the Republicans had made such a mess of things. In retrospect, Obama won not because the voters liked him more, but because they liked George W. Bush less. I wish it had been otherwise. I think things started to go badly when Obama allowed himself to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, followed by lobbying for the Olympic games to be held in Chicago. We began to see a cult of personality emerge in the White House. But it is not enough to be able to deliver a good speech. Politics is about delivering tangible benefits to the American people. That is what the Affordable Care Act was supposed to do, and it didn’t do it, and the Democrats are going to pay dearly for their leader’s failure. For Obama, there is no recovery from this catastrophe, just as there was no recovery for Lyndon Johnson from his credibility gap. This situation reminds me about a ditty that was said about the foibiles of a British politician: “Count not his broken promises as a crime./ He meant them, oh, how he meant them, at the time.”