Hooray, President “I’m Madder Than Hell” Sends Political Aid To Investigate Phoenix VA

If only Obama had some sort of law enforcement agency which is really, really good at investigating stuff at his beck and call

(Washington Post) One of President Obama’s top aides is being dispatched to Phoenix this week to investigate deaths allegedly connected to a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center there, part of the administration’s efforts to contain growing outrage over delays in treatment and accusations of rigged recordkeeping at veterans hospitals.

Rob Nabors, a White House deputy chief of staff, has been assigned to assist top VA officials in probing allegations of wrong:­doing by staffers at the Phoenix facility and elsewhere, the White House said Tuesday. He will be meeting with Arizona hospital officials Thursday after gathering Wednesday with representatives from several veterans groups in Washington, officials said. (big snip)

Veterans Affairs’ inspector general is looking into allegations by a former Phoenix clinic director that up to 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment at a VA hospital while staffers disguised the wait times that patients faced. The inspector general told a Senate hearing last week that his initial probe has found no evidence that delays caused the deaths. Shinseki is conducting his own review with the help of Nabors.

So, we essentially have insiders and political employees investigating what may very well be criminal wrongdoing at the Phoenix VA. There are now (at least) nine VA clinics involved in this growing scandal. Destruction of evidence is a crime. Yet, we still haven’t heard directly from POTUS Obama. We’re told he’ll address it “soon”. For an administration whose campaign messaging was one of the best ever, how can their communications in office be so pitiful? Perhaps this goes back to the notion that Obama likes to Be president, not Do president. Citizens are outraged over this scandal, yet Obama is, as usual, mostly absent. Why not take forceful, meaningful action? This boggles the mind. Ron Christie wrote

What is most shocking to me about the VA tempest is that it repeats a pattern of conduct we’ve seen from the president and his administration. Obama ran for president and asked Americans to hire him for another term based on his leadership skills, temperament, and ability to produce results. Instead, we’ve seen the president and his team evade responsibility (and with a tiresome frequency) for areas in which they are directly responsible, parse words in an attempt to mislead, and otherwise duck long enough for the political storm of the moment to pass over for sunnier days ahead. (snip)

A real leader stands up, accepts responsibility, and moves swiftly to fix management problems. A coward blames others, fails to accept responsibility, and reveals himself as small and not up to the duty and obligation to those he was elected to serve. The American people will discover in short order whether the president steps up to lead our returning heroes in the military to ensure they receive the medical care they have earned or whether he cowers to serve his political ambitions rather than accept responsibility. If he does the former, he will be justly applauded–if he does the latter the American people will be madder than hell at him for failing our veterans when they needed him the most. If Obama’s past actions are any indication of what we can expect he’ll do to resolve the scandalous mismanagement at the VA, I believe his standing with the American people will continue to erode to due to his failure to lead decisively.

Even after watching the Obama admin, and Obama himself, over the past 5+ years, it’s hard to fathom what is going through his mind on this scandal. He could have easily gotten ahead of it, come out with a speech, announced a real investigation, gotten heavily involved, and resolved the issue. That would have earned him some serious brownie points and seen his approval ratings rise. Yet, virtually nothing. He sends a political appointee to investigate. His response, or, rather, lack thereof, just boggles the mind.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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