Nelson W. Polsby used to be very upset at the cliche about apples and oranges: Of course you can compare them! They're both fruit!
Which is pretty much how I feel about liberal outrage about comparisons between Healthcare.gov and Bush-era fiascos including Iraq and Katrina that have been making the rounds this week -- here's Oliver Willis tweeting a graph showing deaths from the three while saying "why you shouldnt compare obamacare to katrina or iraq, in one chart. cc: all pundits"
Well, no, not really. And not just because, in fact, this is a self-refusing argument; posting the graph is in fact making the comparison -- just that it's basing the comparison on one particular variable. An important one, to be sure, and one where the launch of Healthcare.gov looks good. But a comparison, nonetheless. (And a silly one: was Iraq really a much better policy than WWII? Were Watergate and various Red Scares no big deal?)
Regardless: my real point here is that of course you can and should compare presidential decisions, and government execution of policy, with other presidential decisions and government execution of policy.
Now, there's also a lot of foolish talk among Republicans about how Barack Obama's popularity is going to be destroyed by Healthcare.gov, just as Bush's was destroyed by Iraq and Katrina. That's probably wrong, but it's not a wrong question to ask. Just as it isn't wrong to question whether as policy implementation Healthcare.gov could turn out to be similar to other fiascoes, even if failure in this case won't (directly at least) lead to death.
In other words: yeah, there's a lot of junk out there. But "people died" is no reason to shut down careful thought. For the most part liberals seem to be handling this fairly well, but just remember: The antidote for junk analysis is better analysis. Not more junk.