The NY Times appraises the impact of the Veterans Administration debacle on Obama:
For a president who came to office hoping to restore public faith in government as a force for good in society, the mess at the Department of Veterans Affairs threatens to undercut his reputation for effectiveness.
"Threatens to undercut his reputation for effectiveness"? What about "Cements his reputation for ineffectiveness", which is really the theme of the rest of the piece:
But [the VA problem] also underscored the more fundamental danger to Mr. Obama as he once again finds himself on the defensive over issues of basic management of the federal government.
And combined with the health care affair, it calls into question Mr. Obama’s mastery of the government he oversees.
“The conclusion that people are drawing now is that he’s inept and can’t govern his way out of a paper bag,” said Peter H. Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush. “If this happened in isolation, that might be different. But the fact that this comes after so many other mistakes just makes it that much harder.”
For Mr. Obama, it raises again a comparison that vexes his aides: Mr. Bush’s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, which did lasting damage to the public’s faith in his effectiveness. Once a perception sets in, it is immensely difficult for a president to change it, especially in the second term, as Mr. Bush found.
Obviously, Katrina didn't happen in a vacuum; by late 2005 the haphazard planning for the post-liberation of Iraq had been revealed as near-criminal. I think Katrina, like the VA, reinforced rather than created an image of ineptitude (Of course, I am setting aside the fact that the VA was in Obama's hands while Katrina required a combined response from Bush, a Democratic governor, and a Democratic mayor.)