Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The VA hospital scandal: another Obama promise reneged,another Obama lie.

A few days ago as the wait times at VA hospitals became a national scandal with allegations that interminably long wait times to see a doctor resulted in the deaths of 40 veterans, Obama, through his chief of staff, wanted it leaked to the media that he was "mad as hell".

As if invoking the mantra of  anchorman Howard Beale in the movie Network who implored people to shout, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore", Obama made sure everyone knew he was "mad as hell". But true to being Obama, he left out the "I'm not going to take it any more" part. And for good reason. 

Obama began talking about the problems with the VA including the unacceptable wait times as far back as 2007 as candidate for president. He was on the Veterans Affairs Committee as a U.S. senator as the head of Veterans Affairs in the Bush administration pointed out on CNN. He also pointed out that as a senator Obama never attended any of the meetings or hearings. But when it came to making it an issue he could use as a presidential candidate, he spoke up,  criticizing the Bush administration's running of the VA including the wait times. He also, as far back as 2007, made a speech to the VFW criticizing the wait times and promising if he were elected president, he'd put a stop to it.

Like Gitmo, the health care public option, financial reform, a red line for use of chemical weapons, transparency in government, net neutrality, ending Bush era NSA collection of domestic metadata, and on and on into what is the caricature of the Obama presidency, Obama did nothing and put the VA and it's problems in his political bag labeled "Reneged" with all his other campagin promises. 

Obama's feigned disingenuous outrage over the VA wait times scandal can be added to the long list of  everything else he promised to change when he wanted votes only to see him do nothing after being elected. It's been the hallmark of his presidency.

Aside from knowing all about the problems with wait times at VA hospitals as far back as 2007 there is also evidence that he was told about the problems of wait times by the Bush administration during the transition period in 2008 as he was about to take office.

Even more recently, an internal government memo dated June 2010 surfaced showing that the problem with wait times at VA hospitals was getting worse.This is nothing Obama didnt know about. And like every other promise or pledge he has ever made on any subject he has ever talked about,  he did nothing.

Now that its become a national news story, now that there is outrage over the wait times, now that there are investigations both internally in the government and among news outlets digging for more,  now suddenly Obama wants everybody to know that he is "mad as hell". Even though he 's had 6 1/2 years to be mad as hell and do something about it. But in case you didn't get the point,  he issued a second statement saying,  "I will not stand for misconduct at veteran's affairs hospitals". Even though he's stood for it for 6 years.

It is Obama's own misconduct that is the issue. And in a moment of political theater of the absurd, when Jay Carney was confronted at a news briefing with the 2010 internal administration memo about the long wait times proving Obama knew about the problem in 2010, Carney's answer was " let's wait for the inspector general's report and see what that says before commenting".

The White House press corps as usual let this go, afraid it seems,  to stand up and label preposterous anything coming from the White House, but what Carney was saying and left unchallenged was that they needed to wait for an inspector general's report to tell Obama whether or not he knew about the problem in 2010. And he said it with a straight face. 

Which is a little like Obama telling veterans at the VA, "if you like your health plan you can keep your health plan. Even if it's not  working the way it should ".


Marla said...

And yet if you read the comments in the New York Times, Obama's administration is highly praised by the true believers. They consider him cool headed and think that his administration has accomplished so much.

Somehow they fail to remember the budget negotiations in which he gave up more that he received. Yet his lack of movement his blamed on the Republican opposition. Other presidents would have done more to govern. It was a big mistake for him to put health care before fixing the economy. Had the stimulus been bigger and the economy recovered, it would have been easier to pursue his agenda.

The irony is that Hillary is considered by progressives to be such a corporatist, but they don't consider Obama to be one even thought he has not gone after the banks responsible for causing the meltdown.

As the crisis with Ukraine and the Crimea has played out, it's been hard to be patient knowing that we will not have a new president (hopefully Hillary) for nearly 3 years.

Marc Rubin said...

"Somehow they fail to remember the budget negotiations in which he gave up more that he received. Yet his lack of movement his blamed on the Republican opposition.."

What would be comical if it wasnt so pathetic is that Obama apoligists at places like New Republic and other so called "prgressive" web sites,are always blaming Republcian opposition for Obama's ineptitude and why nothing of any importance ever gets done. But they always want to ignore the fact that when he was elected, he had the biggeat congressional majority of any president in 60 years, and still couldnt fullfill a single campaign promises. George W. Bush got more legislation through the senate his first 3 months with a 52 vote majority than Obama did in two years with a 60 vote majority.