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Bridget Johnson


June 30, 2014 - 5:51 am

President Obama will announce this afternoon that he’ll nominate the retired chairman, CEO and president of Procter & Gamble to fill the vacancy at the top of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki stepped down in the wake of the scandal over veterans allegedly dying on secret waitlists while waiting for care.

Robert McDonald, who retired from P&G a year ago, is a graduate of West Point and served as a captain in the Army for five years.

His political donations over the past year have all gone to Republicans: $1,000 each to Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and $500 to Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is challenging appointed Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) for the seat once held by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was noncommittal to McDonald on Sunday night as word of the nomination got out.

“The VA needs significantly improved transparency and accountability and it needs an increased number of doctors, nurses and other medical staff so that all eligible veterans get high-quality health care in a timely manner,” Sanders said. “I look forward to meeting with Mr. McDonald next week in order to ascertain his views on these important issues.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who sits on the committee, said the panel “must ask tough questions to assure this nominee has the management experience and expertise necessary to drastically overhaul the VA.”

“We  need to be fully satisfied that he’ll vigorously demand and impose a new culture, with rigorous accountability, and first class services to veterans, our nation’s heroes,” Blumenthal said. “Our nation’s veterans deserve no less – management that achieves reform and results.”

Boehner called McDonald “a good man, a veteran, and a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector.”

“With those traits, he’s the kind of person who is capable of implementing the kind of dramatic systemic change that is badly needed and long overdue at the VA,” Boehner added. “But the next VA secretary can only succeed in implementing that type of change if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Trouble is, he'll have zero support. The administration doesn't want him to succeed, just keep it afloat and under the radar. If he fixes things, it will make the admin look bad (they covered it up first, then a Republican businessman came in and fixed it), if he is ineffectual, they can say "See, the GOP doesn't care about vets!".

I wish him the best - the VA is in need of a good CEO to clean house.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
If it was fixable that easily they'd stick a party hack in the chair.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I never used to be quite this cynical but now I'm inclined to agree. I'm sure Obama would love to take the credit for fixing the VA and would gladly do so if it were easy to fix. I think they realize it is a nearly intractable mess and would cost huge amounts of money which they'd just as soon spend on their base, not on veterans. After all, veterans are all just baby killers anyway (in the Far left mindset) so why make much effort to keep them alive?

So they concoct this subterfuge of appointing a Republican with military service under his belt to show that they really mean to fix the VA, so much so that they actually go bi-partisan to do it. They get a small bump in the poll numbers and then everyone backs away to let the new man do his job. Soon, everyone forgets about the story as other things come up. The new head of the VA soon discovers that he's been handed a problem which can only be solved by either massive amounts of new money which can't be found or by sacking thousands of staff, which the unions won't tolerate. He hits an impasse and nothing improves at the VA but the matter is off the front pages, which is all Obama really wants in the first place.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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