As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama’s Inspired Choice for the VA

President Obama’s nomination of former Proctor & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs is a deft move that offers hope for our nation’s veterans, too many of whom who have suffered tragically and needlessly at the hands of the Veterans Health Administration.

What the president is trying to do, incredibly for him, is bring a serious dose of the private sector to the public and hope it can prod the VHA in the direction of greater efficiency and efficacy.

The VHA’s dysfunction is probably so great that the only way to truly serve our veterans’s health needs is to privatize their care through some kind of voucher system. But obviously, with this administration, that’s not going to happen. So McDonalds’ appointment is the best that can be expected.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest Monday explained the appointment cogently:

Mr. McDonald was principally chosen because he has the kind of record as a solid manager that will be required of the next Secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department to put in place the reforms that are needed to live up to our covenant that we have made, that our nation has made, with our men and women in uniform.

Those management chops are going to be critical to his success, and they’re going to be critical to ensuring that our country lives up to the commitment that we’ve made to our men and women in uniform.

In choosing for our veterans, Obama opted to ignore that McDonald has contributed to Republicans, including Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Speaker John Boehner, and even, yes, Mitt Romney.

The chief complaints against McDonald include that though himself a former Army captain, he’s not up to speed with Iraq and Afghanistan’s veterans. Well, he’ll get up to speed. The essence of a great executive is that their skills are not only abundant but transferable – that they can be working for Mastercard one day and Coca Cola the next.

McDonald Obama BidenMcDonald, Obama and Biden walk to the White House Monday

McDonald was also ultimately forced out at P&G, but only after climbing the ladder to the top and staying there for four years. The complaints about him seem to be more that he failed to come up with the next great shampoo than that he wasn’t a good manager. And management and restructuring will be at the core of McDonald’s mission at the VA.

He’s a man who understands how to maintain a grasp on a sprawling, unwieldy organization. True, he’ll be bumping up against Catch-22’s daily in government that he could never have imagined in the private sector. But he’s better equipped to deal with them than folks who have been in government too long and adapted to its ways.

He may be the best hope for now our veterans have of getting decent health care, and Obama should be applauded for choosing him

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14 Responses to Obama’s Inspired Choice for the VA

  1. Good luck to him, he’s going to need a lot of it.
    There is a huge difference between a for-profit commercial organization and a money is no object government institution.
    The employees at the VA seemed to have determined that the Treasury money was theirs by way of ‘bonus’ payments if they didn’t spend it on the sick and needy veterans. Changing that attitude isn’t going to be easy, won’t happen for years, and entrenched employees know all the tricks to game the system.
    Good luck, fellow.

    • I agree. If anything, those entrenched union workers and senior management should all be under a microscope, and the Secretary should have the power to sweep house, or demote workers found caught up in this mess (at all levels). Unfortunately his hands will be tied. AFGE is a very powerful union, they are not afraid of this administration, and could create more of a tangled mess if any of their members are “fired” due to willful negligence. There is no accountability. And this is not just in the VA. GSA.. IRS.. pick one.

  2. McDonald will be a strong communicator with the troops and be up to speed in assessment and action in short order.. He has the business acumen so sorely missing with Obama and all of his cabinet. Finally something sensible from out CIC.

    • OT: If we have a national crisis going on at our southern borders, why hasn’t Obama already been there? When is he going? Bush would have been there weeks ago.

      • Are you kidding? Those illegals are smelly, infected with lice and disease, don’t speak English, and aren’t going to vote anytime soon.
        He’s not going there, neither are the rabid Hispanic organizations like laRaza who might be expected to aid these pathetic moochers and child pawns.
        This invasion was programmed and conducted by this administration, and like every move they made in the past, it has turned into a massive SNAFU and FUBAR.

  3. Without the authority to hire and fire, which can be done with the stroke of one of Obama’s pens, he will not be able to effect change.

    For all of those who see this as a bold move, I see it as a Hagel, blame the Republicans, failure waiting to happen.

    That said, I wish him well. Our veterans deserve better.

    • Without the authority to hire and fire,….good point.

      It will depend on the parameters he is allowed to work within.
      If he determines that there is duplicity here or there and tries to cut the fat and is told that you can’t do that, there will be a problem with correcting the obvious need to streamline the agency.

  4. Hopefully, he will appoint some individuals that have experience in this field, preferably some hospital administrators that have been successful in the private sector.
    Only time will tell if he can correct this debacle.

    • the problem is, anyone brought in to fix the mess will have to deal with the union workers. By the time the next administration comes in, it will still be going through change.

  5. Despite learning this guy’s wife’s name at the last minute and taking in a Republican (or would that be putting a Republican in the hot seat?), I predict the pres will now bow out and this this man will get frustrated and foiled.

    • Bergdahl has been joined by another deserter who has returned — after a very long time with the enemy. I forget the details at the moment. You can do a search if you are interested or if I get some time I will track it down. I suspect Bergdahl will get the equivalent of a military slap on the wrist and go home.

      We have no staying power and Obama is chipping away at the military the same way he is tearing the country apart piece by piece. I am surprised even the illegals will want it by the time he has done. But at some point the great experiment will fail — as they all fail — when they run out of other people’s money.

  6. i believe what this cowardly sniveling turd is going to do is blame the Republicans if things don’t turn out right. if he does a good job, he’ll try and take the credit for it.