VA Scandal Offers Obama's Critics Yet More Ammunition
by Jules Witcover
The developing furor over waiting times for military veterans needing critical care for war wounds and trauma is a particular political dilemma for President Obama. It comes in the midst of his central effort to shift the nation's agenda of fighting wars away from what he calls a "perpetual wartime footing."
If by the end of his presidency he gets all American forces out of
By circumstance rather than choice, Obama has had to spend much of his presidency re-engaging
Among the many unhappy consequences of that diversion has been a swelling of the ranks of returning war veterans to a home environment unwelcoming to them. That is a reality both in job opportunities and the medical care earned in their military service and in too many cases urgently required.
Coping with that care necessarily has fallen to the
As demands for the secretary's scalp have grown louder, Obama has declined to ask for his resignation or to fire him, choosing to await further investigation into that allegation. His procrastination has fanned more charges of presidential aloofness and weakness among those who see an above-it-all demeanor in his manner and approach.
At the same time, Shinseki's characteristic low-key and dignified manner before the
Wolfowitz, in testimony before
Last week the House voted overwhelmingly to give the secretary more leeway in ousting or demoting career officials engaged in improper treatment of client veterans. But the public and congressional pressure on Obama to take more aggressive action himself continued to mount.
At stake, beyond the plight of neglected clients and the perception among political foes that the president's bark is worse than his bite in this and other matters, is the reputation of government itself as an efficient hands-on instrument.
Unlike Obamacare, which functions through the private health-care system, the VA runs its own medical centers with staff doctors and personnel. Allegations of rank failure only fuel the conservative mantra of bureaucratic inefficiency and waste that is at the heart of today's
With congressional elections looming this fall, the VA fiasco is the last thing Obama, his administration and party need right now if he is to repair his political strength for his last two years in office.
Available at Amazon.com:
More AMERICAN POLITICS ...
- The Six Principles of the New Populism
- Bergdahl Swap A Retro Moment in the New Cold War
- Bowe Bergdahl and Negotiating with Terrorists
- Advice for Presidential GOP Candidates: Do Your Homework
- Obama Defends Tenacious Foreign Policy Moderation
- On Presidential Firings
- 'Obama: Like a Boss' -- Bumper Sticker for a True Chicagoan
- Enough Slaughter
- In Hyperpartisan America, There's No Room for Compassion
- Whatever Happened to Free-Speech Panic?
- Democrats Struggle to Get Voters Interested in Midterm Elections
- Karl Rove Stirs the Pot with Hillary Clinton Inuendo
- Karl Rove's Boneheaded Swipe at Hillary Clinton
- Hillary's Dilemma: How to Distance Herself from Obama
- Why Jeb Bush's Turn May Not Come
- Criminal Wrongdoing and the CIA
- Politics Have Trumped Ethics in the Obama Administration
- VA Scandal Offers Obama's Critics Yet More Ammunition
- Scapegoats Won't Cure VA's Ills
- The VA, the NHS and Choice
- Reading the Republican Primary Leaves
- Midterm Elections May Seal Fate of Obama's Legacy
- Hillary Clinton's Health Matters
- Hillary Clinton's 'Social Gospel' Good Enough for Democrats
- Obama's Immigration Reform in Need of Reforming
- Beating The Dead Horse Called Benghazi
- Don't Tune Out the Newest Benghazi Developments
- Free Speech Not So Free When Discussing Gay Rights
- GOP Hopefuls Seek Inner-City Education
- For D.C. Insiders, Name of the Game is Getting the 'Get'
- Government Waste: Where Has All the Money Gone?
- Obama Defends His Foreign Policy Doctrine
- Why Women -- and Voters -- Prefer Jerks to Fops
- It's Time to Show Our Veterans Some Love
- Justice for All, Except Those Too Big to Jail
- Just Don't Call It 'Reparations'
- John Paul Stevens Proposes New Constitutional Amendments
- Cliven Bundy's Towering Tantrum of Entitlement
- Class Warfare Endures as Preferred Political Strategy
- Harry Reid Has Become McCarthy for Our Time
Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Content Agency
"VA Scandal Offers Obama's Critics Yet More Ammunition"