The PJ Tatler

Democrats Divided Over Whether the VA Scandal Should Cost Eric Shinseki His Job

There just might be a pattern here.

Fresh revelations about the ghastly VA scandal have sparked new calls for VA Administrator Eric Shinseki to resign. Most of the calls are coming from Republicans, and so far no Republican is defending Shinseki or suggesting that he ought to stay in the job.

Democrat calls for Shinseki to leave have come from Sen. Mark Udall (CO), Sen. John Walsh (MT) and Sen. Kay Hagan (NC), so far. That would be a vulnerable Dem in a purple state, a vulnerable Dem in a red state, and another vulnerable Dem in a red state. We haven’t heard from Sen. Mark Begich (AK) or Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA) yet. But they’re both vulnerable Democrats in red states. They’re likely to call for Shinseki to resign or be fired. Both are set to give statements at some point today.

The most we’re getting out of President Obama so far is that he is “extremely troubled” about the new revelations. But that’s a step down from being “madder than hell” last week. Thus far, he isn’t sufficiently troubled to take any concrete action.

Other less vulnerable leftists are taking less of a hard line on the scandal. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) wants Shinseki to allow yet another study to be conducted of the VA. Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist – VT), who last week blamed the scandal on the Koch brothers, is now asking Shinseki to come up with a wish-list for what he thinks the VA will need to fulfill its 14-day wait list promise. Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD), the Democrats’ #2 in the House, is warning Republicans not to “politicize” the scandal — which Barack Obama himself politicized six years ago when he was running for president and promising to fix the problems in the VA that were already known at the time. Hoyer is clearly running interference for Obama, without regard for the plight of the veterans and their families.

So if we’re looking for a pattern in the Democrats’ responses, the less vulnerable a Democrat is in this year’s mid-terms, the more likely they are to not be bothered enough by the VA scandal to call for Shinseki’s resignation. Vulnerable Democrats want him gone, to remove an election issue out of an environment that already endangers them.