President Obama praising Kathleen Sebelius for her work on the disastrous Obamacare website rollout (she "turned the corner, got it fixed and got the job done.") was an eerie echo chamber bounce from President Bush praising FEMA director Michael Brown during his disastrous Katrina Hurricane response ("Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.")
Yes the situations were different but that's beside the point, which is that honest people don't praise failure; only politicians praise failure.
Politicians who recognize the failure of others around them know that failure reflects directly back into their own faces; cf Chris Christie and the idiotically but predictably labeled "Bridgegate" (the "gate" suffix is another never-ending echo chamber reverberation.)
This is projection in action.
Psychological projection, we are told, is an act of ego defense; it's an attempt to deny negative traits in oneself by falsely attributing those traits to someone else and then attacking that person for those traits. In everyday life an example would be a rude person accusing others of being rude.
Applied to the political world it would be one reason why people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who are obsessed with racism call others racist; why people like Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein who push extremist collectivist ideologies call their opponents extremists; why those like Harry Reid who verbally terrorize their political foes call their political foes terrorists; why mean-spirited liberals call conservatives mean-spirited; and why both liberals and conservatives with wackadoodle ideas about the proper role of government call libertarians wackadoodles.
(Another reason is that it works politically, and they will keep doing it as long as it keeps working. Notice that hardly anyone name-calls "Commie" or "Pinko" or "McCarthyism" any more.)
But what if projection applies to positive traits as well? What if projection is also an attempt to implant underserved positive traits in oneself by falsely attributing positive traits to someone else and then praising that person for those nonexistent traits?
That would explain why people such as Bush and Obama who crave approval dish out false approval to others. And they do crave approval. Bush was called a "fratboy who wanted everybody to like him" in Michael Brown's book, and Obama's hunger for media attention was noted by a conservative website that wrote "Obama has made multiple appearances on shows like David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, the View, and Jimmy Fallon. He has sat on Oprah’s couch and even picked basketball brackets on ESPN."
On the other hand this could all be yet another echo chamber effect from the 1970s, known as "psychobabble."