In an alternate universe in which the quixotic Republicans had not decided to shut down the government to achieve the unachievable, the national political conversation would likely be dominated by the disastrous rollout of Obamacare. From today’s NYT:

In March, Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace, told industry executives that he was deeply worried about the Web site’s debut. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience,” he told them.

Two weeks after the rollout, few would say his hopes were realized.

For the past 12 days, a system costing more than $400 million and billed as a one-stop click-and-go hub for citizens seeking health insurance has thwarted the efforts of millions to simply log in. The growing national outcry has deeply embarrassed the White House, which has refused to say how many people have enrolled through the federal exchange.

Even some supporters of the Affordable Care Act worry that the flaws in the system, if not quickly fixed, could threaten the fiscal health of the insurance initiative, which depends on throngs of customers to spread the risk and keep prices low.

“These are not glitches,” said an insurance executive who has participated in many conference calls on the federal exchange. Like many people interviewed for this article, the executive spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying he did not wish to alienate the federal officials with whom he works. “The extent of the problems is pretty enormous. At the end of our calls, people say, ‘It’s awful, just awful.’ ”

Read the whole story.  This fiasco was not a surprise. People involved in the planning kept warning that it wasn’t ready, but the White House apparently made a political decision to launch it anyway. The White House is so embarrassed by this that they won’t even release basic information about how well it’s working. What a disaster!

And yet, and yet. That Obama is incredibly fortunate in having the political enemies that he does.