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Three Reasons Why Obama Didn’t Dump Shinseki

President Obama’s decision not to fire VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is less mysterious than it seems. Here’s why he’s keeping him on:

  1. Obama is Shinseki, and Shinseki is Obama. Eric Shinseki assumed office the day after Obama did in 2009. For Obama to fire Shinseki at this point is to admit his own inadequacy and to reveal what I assume to be true: that Obama was not paying personal attention to the VA and not cracking the whip.
     
    You see, when the White House, and the president in particular, shows an interest in an agency or an issue, people get very nervous, and what is normally a cumbersome, immovable bureaucracy starts to creak to life.

    If Obama ever met with Shinseki one-on-one or even held a phone call with him, I’d be surprised.

  2. What happens once you fire Shinseki? Well, as the Julie Pace of the Associated Press points out in the video below, you have to replace him.

    And unless Obama replaces him with John McCain, that would mean weeks of heated discussion about the nominee, a heightened focus on the issue, and dramatic Senate hearings – all as we approach Election Day 2014. Not good for Obama and the Democrats.

    But Obama’s executive incompetence is showing. What the White House should do is sack Shinseki now, nominate a replacement next week, and insist Congress hold hearings immediately because of the urgent need to get someone to work on the problems. Then Obama might get the issue behind him well before summer is out.

  3. I think Obama feels bad for Shinseki. I really do. Everyone seems to agree that Shinseki, who had part of his foot blown off in Vietnam and served his country in the army for nearly 40 years, is a patriot and a decent man who cares about veterans. And he has made some progress with some of the VA’s system problems
     
    But caring is not enough. The issue is too big.
     
    Again, Obama does not know how operate as a chief executive. You have to fire people, even good people. There’s not a single major private company in America where Shinseki would be kept on after a fiasco such as this.

    The health of our veterans is more important than Eric Shinseki’s feelings.

Here are a couple of reporters I respect, Associated Press White House reporter Julie Pace and National Journal’s Ron Fournier, himself a former AP White House reporter, discussing Shinseki.

Fournier, who is tough but not prone to hyperbole, calls the White House “pathetic.”

What did (Obama) do? Like he did with a lot of other things – he didn’t pay attention, he didn’t govern. Now he’s holding nobody accountable.

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21 Responses to Three Reasons Why Obama Didn’t Dump Shinseki

  1. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that 16.6 million dollars in bonuses were given at the Edward Hines VA Hospital in Chicago since 2011.

    But they don’t have money to treat our vets??

    • Carol,
      Replying here to you to see if this comment gets through as a reply. My comment is currently stuck in “your comment is awaiting moderation” for some reason.

      Article II, Section 4, the United States Constitution:
      The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

      “High” crimes when in context of the framer’s time was not what we think of today as more severe criminality but as crimes committed by people holding “high” office. A “higher” level of trust and behavior expected.

      There is not one ounce of doubt in my mind, that if Obama was put before the framers of the Constitution he would have been impeached and tossed out long ago.

      Fast and Furious, NSA, Obamacare exemptions, IRS, and now the VA.

  2. Article II, Section 4, the United States Constitution:
    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    “High” crimes when in context of the framer’s time was not what we think of today as more severe criminality but as crimes committed by people holding “high” office. A “higher” level of trust and behavior expected.

    There is not one ounce of doubt in my mind, that if Obama was put before the framers of the Constitution he would have been impeached and tossed out long ago.

    Fast and Furious, NSA, Obamacare exemptions, IRS, and now the VA.

  3. With all due respect to Fournier, the President did point out, and did state that there were people that were accountable during his speech. As you pointed out yesterday Keith, it is the AMERICA PEOPLE that are accountable for the disaster that is the VA.

    It’s not Shinseki, or a lack of leadership, or a lack of fundamentally understanding how to manage and run a huge organization. It is not the president’s fault for all the problems at the VA, after all, he inherited them from his predecessors. It is these unpatriotic Americans who under appreciate Obama and his leadership and vision.

    The simplest cure for the problems at the VA is for Obama to start another war, mobilize 300K troops, send them half way around the world with ROE that say they cannot shoot unless they are taking severe fire from an enemy, and only after the troops have tried to build good will between themselves and the enemy. This will almost guarantee that there will be less vets coming home needing treatment at the VA. It will however cause a shortage of plots at Arlington and other cemeteries.

    • Oooo–I love it when you get all sarcastic! Saying Shinseki is also disabled is interesting, but hardly has any bearing and I am sick of it. Did he demand and get status reports every morning on 100 things being changed? Did he weed dead wood? Did he circulate, visiting hosps unannounced? Not that I know of. This morning I learned at some hosps patients were assigned to doctors no longer there…and yesterday I said some places if you were not 15 mins early, your appt was just cancelled. This is all…what is that word again…unacceptable.

  4. No’s 4,5,6, and all the rest:
    The ex-military are not HIS people, they’re not normally the voters he believes are on his side.
    Everything, from life (unborn children) to death(ex-military) is a matter of politics for this administration.

    All we have to do is put a photo of his scowling concerned face he wore at this press conference next to the gleeful happy face he wore a few hours later when he got to hobnob wiht some football players to see how phony, how insincere and self-centered this guy really is.

  5. Everything is always about the political elite, not the good of our country or its citizens.

    Our president has never been a leader nor will he become one in the next two years. Unfortunately, we just have to wait him out and hope there still IS a country in two years.

  6. I’m surprised to admit that I am saying this but, John McCain had a GOOD idea when he sugested that each qualified vet get an medical Photo ID card and be allowed to seek treatment anywhere. A realplus side to this action would be that the Vet Affairs get dissolved. Yeah!

    • I don’t really understand why there is separate medical hospitals and coverage for veterans. It is simply a waste of money for the federal government to be in the healthcare business anyways.

      Oops, I guess I forgot that the feds are now in the healthcare business.

      But, seriously, why do we have an entire separate entity that just deals with vets?

    • It’s just like school vouchers. It has nothing to do with the well being of the vets (or kids) but everything to do with protecting the bureaucracy.

  7. This will never be properly addressed to the point where we are moving to a solution. In order to act you have to be concerned, committed to solving the problem. Obama has one concern and one concern only and that is his himself. Whatever works for him is what he will do. All else be damned.

    He will not fire Shinseki not because he cares about him, or feels badly or empathetic but because it would require that he considers, for one fleeting second that he is not a god and that he might have made a mistake. And Barack Obama is congenitally incapable of that. There is nothing or no one that matters more to Barack Obama than Barack Obama and his own personal glory. Not 4 dead Americans, not millions of Americans who had their personal healthcare rights ripped from them and certainly not some old veterans about whom he cares nothing.

    This man is all show.

  8. He has consistently performed subpar as Chief Executive. His mind was in getting elected to the presidency, appoint cronies and let these folks run the country…to the ground.

  9. Dr. Ben Carson and Herman Cain should be put in charge of the VA. Carson offers the medical experience and Cain knows how to budget and run an efficient operation.

    The result: Our veterans would see their care improve and wait times would be reduced dramatically. The American taxpayer would benefit as taxpayer dollars would not be wasted on un-deserved bonuses.

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