In October Democratic primary front-runner Hillary Clinton told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that the fallout of the infamous Veterans Affairs scandal is “not as widespread” as Republican ideologues are misleading the public to believe. Even though by now aspects of the V.A. medical system have long been defined by dishonest management, sub-par care, and interminable waiting periods for tens of thousands of veterans, Hillary remains convinced that the real problem is her political enemies who are attempting to “create a downward spiral.”
The day after the interview, The Hill reminded us that “an inspector general’s report last year found that veterans in Phoenix waited 115 days on average for an initial doctor’s appointment, while official data claimed that the average wait was only 24 days. The report also found that 1,700 veterans were intentionally kept off of patient rolls and 40 veterans died waiting for treatment at the Phoenix facility.”
We might chalk Hillary’s trivialization of veterans’ tribulations up to mere campaign tactics, or her pattern of strategically rerouting, hiding, and finally deleting the truth.
But Hillary’s gnostic diagnosis of the V.A.’s real problems transcends tactics and strategy. It flows from the heart (for somewhere in there is a heart) of her extreme liberalism. She doesn’t downplay V.A. woes merely to protect her party, or even to defend the Leviathan government she loves from Republicans wielding gorgon heads. Instead, she downplays the system’s flaws to make sense of them.
Hillary’s messianic government paradigm accommodates two kinds of centrally planned programs: royal successes, and systemic failures. The successes serve most people well and earn told you sos from big-government advocates. The failures fail just about everyone at every level, indicating (i) that the problem here is too big for any one person to deserve blame, and (ii) that the solution is a better government program.
Her same ultra-progressive paradigm cannot accommodate a third, hybrid category: individual Americans suffering personal tragedy unconnected to government. Nor can it process a fourth, hybrid category: a partially failed government system causing suffering and personal tragedy for individuals–a centrally controlled program that has run amok, but which retains some working parts. In such cases, government doesn’t burn human civilians. Instead, statistical anomalies get burned. (Note the passive.)
Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and former SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, murdered in Benghazi? Anomalies. Statistically insignificant. “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Nothing broken here.
Now in reverse: Was there a campus shooting? This could not have been the rogue action of a lawless, mentally ill individual who inflicted unspeakable pain upon scores of other individuals in an isolated, incoherent, senseless rampage. Instead, our system of governing firearms, which includes the Second Amendment, failed, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary in the form of a hundred million peaceful Americans who own guns.
No category for confronting the suffering of individual persons, outside of praising or blaming a government system, exists in Hillary’s House of Horrors. Either a successful program produced a few (or more) irrelevant anomalies, or the existence of a few (or more) isolated sufferers indicates a sweeping epidemic that calls for the government to administer shock therapy.
Unfortunately for men and women who serve our country in uniform, Hillary’s trivialization of the trials thousands of veterans have suffered at the ungloved hands of the V.A. further proves her incapacity for serving them.
If ever there were a government system for everyone on the political stage to blame without fear of recrimination, it were the V.A. So why does Hilary defend the system? The only answer that works in her paradigm is that it isn’t broken enough to be considered broken. Yes, the system ill-serves thousands of veterans–but that same system does technically provide care. Maybe not on time. Maybe not on a level acceptable in the age of modern medicine in the world’s greatest country. Maybe not as well as our veterans (who, by the way, are also taxpayers) deserve. But, by golly, the hospital doors are open, and veterans are still alive–so this system must be doing something right. Why else would the lines be so long?
Americans still pay into Social Security, and the government still writes checks to the elderly, so this system works too. So does our public school system. So does Obamacare.
If Hillary manages to bless Americans with President Obama’s third term, her pattern of dismissing individual suffering at the hands of government will butt up nicely next to Obama’s own. The current administration exhibited the same paradigm when promising Americans, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” under the Affordable Care Act. When it broke that approximately 4 million Americans would be unable to keep their current health care plans, the walkback wasn’t, We got this 99 percent right, so give us props. Instead, there was no walkback: We were 100 percent right, because 4 million Americans, roughly the combined population of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island, not only don’t matter–they don’t even compute.
The tragic irony of ultra-progressivism like Obama’s and Hillary’s is that many of the ordinary Americans who vote for it don’t realize that their vote makes it harder and less likely for government to accomplish what governments actually can–say, the preservation of liberty, the defense of natural rights, or the administration of justice. But the treachery goes a layer deeper. Even if Hillary’s central planning could serve individual Americans (and veterans) well, she isn’t looking to do that. She is looking for cogs.