Democrats only care about dying veterans when their jobs are in danger

Eric Shinseki

**After this story was written news broke that Eric Shinseki officially resigned today as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and that wait times at VA facilities may be related to employee bonuses. No word yet as to what an official investigation into the matter may look like, but Congress has called for an inquiry.

In yet another entry in the annals of weird and conflicting policy ideas from the Democrat side of the aisle, Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki is taking a beating from left-leaning politicians looking to hang onto their seats on the Hill in the wake of the abhorrent stories of veterans dying and committing suicide while awaiting treatment in VA facilities around the country.

There really is no excuse for what’s been going on because we’re not talking about annoying bureaucratic realities where you don’t get a tax return in a timely fashion. People who served their country were treated as secondary to a system that clearly couldn’t handle the demand.

But hiding that inefficiency came first in the form of secret waiting lists, while treatment of veterans took a back seat. And Shinseki is no doubt responsible for his agency’s negligence. But the calls for his head, as CNN points out, may be more about political savvy than concern for ailing vets.

Thos calls began after a damning VA Inspector General’s report indicating that “1,700 military veterans waiting to see a doctor were never scheduled for an appointment and were never placed on a wait list at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix.” But, also as CNN points out perhaps a bit more cynically, those on the Hill lighting torches have something in common:

Udall was soon joined by other members of the chamber, including John Walsh of Montana, an appointee, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Al Franken of Minnesota and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

What all have in common is that they’re running this November for six more years in Washington, and other than Franken, they all face challenging contests in an already difficult midterm climate for Democrats.

For its part, the White House has issued what amounts to — sigh — another red line (this time the rhetoric is “systemic”) and, as Ed Morrissey points out at Hot Air, is employing “the Faber College model of leadership” by placing Shinseki on probation:

So, it’s safe to say that “systemic” was an Obama red line. Perhaps he’ll opt for double secret probation now that the IG has confirmed that fraud is systemic in Eric Shinseki’s VA.

And, of course, all this looks very familiar from an administration — and, frankly, a progressive ideology shared by so many of the modern Democrats — that can, for example, simultaneously sell a foreign policy that is at once “interventionist and internationalist, but not isolationist or unilateral” while asking, as the President did a month prior to his speech Wednesday at West Point, ‘Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs?”

If those two statements seem at odds to you, you’re not alone. And it’s very likely that this kind of cross-purpose strategic policy is what went wrong at the VA. After all, if a leader sets the tone from the top that what matters is how things look, not how things actually are, you will end up with low-level bureaucrats creating shadow waiting lists for appearances’ sake, and contradictory appeals to both hawks and doves about foreign policy direction so that everybody feels their interests are represented, even if they aren’t; and Democratic Congressmen and women who only care about dying veterans when their jobs are in danger.

This kind of leadership style is horrific at the VA, and downright frightening on the international stage. And it may be time, as U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said Tuesday, to bring in some independent investigators to start assessing just what went wrong with Veterans Affairs and to offer solutions to see it never happens again. On the world stage, we’ll just have to wait for the elections.


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