The White House fought on Tuesday to contain the growing political furor over allegations of misconduct at the nation’s veterans hospitals as Republicans, eager to use the issue in the midterm elections, seized on the reports as new evidence that President Obama is unable to govern effectively.
Rob Nabors, the president’s deputy chief of staff, will fly to the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix on Wednesday to assess the most damning reports — that government workers falsified data or created secret waiting lists to hide the long delays veterans faced before seeing doctors.
The president is also sending Denis R. McDonough, his chief of staff, to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to consult with the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont. Lawmakers are working on bipartisan legislation that would give veterans officials greater authority to fire those responsible at the department. The House is expected to vote on Wednesday on a bill, and the Senate is expected to hold hearings on the legislation soon.
Inside the White House, officials said that there was no political panic but that the issue was of serious, substantive concern — unlike, they said, a previous Republican uproar over extra scrutiny given to Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
That was an extraordinarily hacktastic move to get in a dismissal of the IRS targeting “scandal that wasn’t a scandal”.
The tone of the article is that the VA scandal makes it appear as if this administration is a train wreck, not the obvious, “This administration is actually a train wreck.”
In a curious move, the article mentions that Obama is getting grief from his “liberal pop culture allies”:
The incidents have also generated a new round of condemnation from the president’s liberal pop culture allies, an indication that anger about the allegations has moved beyond the halls of Congress. On Monday, Jon Stewart on Comedy Central mocked the president’s top officials, including Mr. Shinseki, for what he called tepid expressions of outrage and anger in recent days.
Reacting to Mr. Shinseki’s declaration that he was “mad as hell” about the allegations, Mr. Stewart said, “Your ‘mad as hell’ face looks a lot like your ‘Oh, we’re out of orange juice’ face.”
They get back on target, finishing up with a warning to Republicans about using this scandal as a “political weapon”.
In summation: the problem isn’t really the problem, the problem is that the Republicans are making the public aware of the problem.