Carney: Silly press corps, we have now entered the stop-asking-questions phase of the VA scandal

posted at 7:21 pm on May 16, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

In most cases, I have come to realize that the Obama administration is easier to understand if you dispense with the notion that there is some sort of plan other than getting through each day by minimizing immediate political damage to the highest degree possible without regard to long-term goals.

But while I’m not always confident there’s a plan for actual policy, there’s always a plan for avoiding questions and blame on scandals.

On the VA scandal, that plan has been enacted.

Step 1: “We’re just finding out about this ourselves and are as appalled as anyone over these allegations. We vow to get to the bottom of this and, if true, right this wrong swiftly and thoroughly. Nothing less than the honor of our nation and our people is at stake, and that will not come to harm on my watch.”

Step 2: “We are investigating ourselves right now to make sure we get to the bottom of this. It’s important that we get all the facts from ourselves, and in the meantime it would be inappropriate for ourselves to answer questions about the investigation we’re conducting on ourselves.”

Step 3: “Didn’t I just tell you we started an investigation of ourselves? Also, we noted our outrage. I cannot possibly make any statements about the very obvious wrongdoing that occurred on our watch until the investigation we’re conducting of ourselves is completed, printed on paper and in my hands. Anything else would jeopardize the integrity of our investigation of ourselves. Is that what you want?”

Step 3 is where ABC’s Jon Karl found himself today, on the receiving end of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s indignation at the mere asking of questions after the administration has expressed grave concern and started an investigation.

Up next, Step 4: “Only crazy wingers even ask questions about stuff like this. Are you a crazy winger? Do you think it’s a grand conspiracy in which the President of the United States conspired to personally hurt veterans? Do you think that’s an appropriate question to ask?”

Step 5: Wait six months, refer to formerly outrageous scandal as phony.

Step 6: Slow walk investigation and especially the release of requested and possibly incriminating documents for a year or more.

Step 7: “Oh, that ‘scandal’? Dude, that was a year ago. Who’s still talking about that?”

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Nailed it.

myiq2xu on May 16, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Dude, that was like 2 weeks ago.

V7_Sport on May 16, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Hard to believe even more, the fact that so many Americans don’t have a clue, (couldn’t by one if you gave them the $), still think its all not intentional. Just couldn’t be. Who would hate the country so.

Bmore on May 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Step 7: “Oh, that ‘scandal’? Dude, that was a year ago. Who’s still talking about that?”

Not the dead…

Electrongod on May 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM

I’m really starting to despise Jay Carney.

myiq2xu on May 16, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Scandals = everyday occurrences
Just wash, rinse, repeat…
no consequences

31giddyup on May 16, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Protecting our idiots with executive privledge since 2009.

upinak on May 16, 2014 at 7:34 PM

First resignation accomplished, now for number two and three.

leader4hru on May 16, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Why do these so called reporters even bother going to these lie fests?

1sttofight on May 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Why do these so called reporters even bother going to these lie fests?

1sttofight on May 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Jay Corny and the rest have gotten pretty good at stonewalling these scandals. It’s a shame most of the American people don’t see the familiar pattern by now.

TarheelBen on May 16, 2014 at 7:36 PM

I’m really starting to despise Jay Carney.

myiq2xu on May 16, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Starting to? I despised him before the end of his first press conference.

dddave on May 16, 2014 at 7:37 PM

MKH, I learned back in Election Season 2008: If their lips are moving, they’re lying.

Newtie and the Beauty on May 16, 2014 at 7:37 PM

…and Nixon had to resign because the leadership of the GOP got tired of the bad press.

Joseph OHenry on May 16, 2014 at 7:37 PM

Baghdad Bob

The alleged incidents.

No you little freak. It’s not alleged that soldiers died so Obama appointees could get big bonuses by keeping soldiers away from expensive care. It’s a known fact. The only unknown is who is responsible for letting it go on.

HotAirian on May 16, 2014 at 7:39 PM

As a veteran let me say it straight out. We mostly vote conservative, and they are killing us off, through negligent homicide. We may yet see an investment of the Capitol, as in the Bonus March (May-Jul 1932), with tens of thousands of veterans not asking for, but demanding an accounting. Who will be this generation’s General MacArthur, and COLs Patton and Eisenhower?

Gebirgsjager on May 16, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Now, imagine the President is white.

Bigbullets on May 16, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Bigbullets on May 16, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Or *gasp!* Republican…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 16, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Richard Griffin, the department’s acting inspector general, admitted on Thursday that its review could lead to criminal charges.

More than 970,000 veterans from those wars have filed disability claims, taking the total enrolled in the VA system to 8.57m by the end of 2012.

At the same time, the healthcare system is dealing with the fact that many of the 6m veterans from the Vietnam era are now reaching the age when they start to require a lot of medical services. In 2010, the administration expanded coverage to exposure from Agent Orange, the chemical used during the war in Vietnam, prompting another surge of claimants.

The result has been a constant struggle to meet new demands, despite big spending increases. The budget for the VA has risen from $73.1bn in 2006 to $153.8bn this year. However, the number of outpatient visits at its facilities has increased from 46.5m in 2002 to 83.6m in 2012. “I am amazed this is still happening, given the big increase in resources that the department has received,” said Phillip Carter, a former army officer who researches veterans’ issues at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.

The VA, which runs 152 hospitals and 817 outpatient clinics, has long suffered from delays and a dysfunctional bureaucracy. In 2010, it introduced a new appointments system which promised a 14-day wait for an appointment with a primary care doctor or a specialist.

So the VA is claiming that the influx, the sheer size of the number of vets dependent on the system for care is overwhelming and the cause of the many failures of the system.

YET, the Obama administration and the LEFT claim that government run healthcare IS the solution to American healthcare needs, and more, that SINGLE PAYER is the ultimate goal and solution to American healthcare.

If the federal government can’t be trusted to administer healthcare for our veterans, how can we trust them to administer healthcare for the entire nation?

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 7:49 PM

HotAirian on May 16, 2014 at 7:39 PM

Fire whoever let it go on.

I want whoever initiated the policy imprisoned.

Newtie and the Beauty on May 16, 2014 at 7:50 PM

myiq2xu on May 16, 2014 at 7:25 PM

2nd that

cmsinaz on May 16, 2014 at 7:50 PM

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 7:49 PM

We don’t.
In fact, I don’t trust the federal government about anything.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 16, 2014 at 7:53 PM

I propose a march on Washington by our vets. A huge one. Until we are given answers by this administration.

HotAirian on May 16, 2014 at 7:53 PM

The political impact of the scandal has been somewhat muted so far, in part because of the respect still enjoyed by the veterans affairs secretary, retired four-star general Eric Shinseki who was himself wounded twice in Vietnam. Appearing before a Senate hearing on Thursday, Mr Shinseki received pointed questioning, but in a tone more respectful than almost any other cabinet member would have encountered. “I am mad as hell,” he told the committee.

However, if Congress concludes that efforts to manipulate waiting lists have become systemic – or if the allegations that patients died while waiting for phantom appointments are proved – Mr Shinseki will face huge pressure from both parties to resign.

Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic senator for Connecticut, said there was “solid evidence of wrongdoing within the VA system”, while his colleague from Washington Patty Murray told Mr Shinseki: “The standard practice at the VA seems to be to hide the truth.”

In a sign of how serious the White House believes the political fallout could become, the president’s deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors has been dispatched to the VA to help manage the fallout.

Good, Shinseki. We’re ‘mad as hell’, too. But there are veterans who aren’t ‘mad as hell’. They’re dead. They’re families are left sorrowing and grieving because of criminal collusion in the VA to doctor the books rather than the patients, their family members, under your watch.

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Step 8:
Why do you RACISTS! keep asking questions about the alleged “VA Scandal”?

GarandFan on May 16, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Now, imagine that the President is a lesbian.

Bigbullets on May 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM

Step 8(alternate): “there’s not even a smidgen of corruption”

warmairfan on May 16, 2014 at 8:03 PM

pambi on May 16, 2014 at 7:59 PM

ROFL. Too true.

lineholder on May 16, 2014 at 8:04 PM

Very funny, and all too true.

rbj on May 16, 2014 at 8:06 PM

This VA scandal, as bad as it is, is just the tip of the iceberg. This has come to light because of the testimony of Dr. Foote, recently retired from the Phoenix VA facility, and a trail that was traceable in the computer systems.

Since the VA was so bold as to send around emails instructing personnel in how to doctor the books to make it appear they were in compliance with the law and regulation regarding appointments, think of all the ways the VA may well have been colluding to cover other, even more serious nefarious activity, like the direct abuse and/or neglect of patients, misappropriation of funds, etc.

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Is there anything that the obama administration has not screwed up and tried to push off as some innocent mistake or the fault os someone else

jaywemm on May 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM

pambi on May 16, 2014 at 7:59 PM

Ain’t DAT Da Troof!

Newtie and the Beauty on May 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM

jaywemm on May 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Lemme think…

Nope! Can’t think of a thing.

Newtie and the Beauty on May 16, 2014 at 8:09 PM

Dear Leader read about it in the paper…

d1carter on May 16, 2014 at 8:12 PM

I think the WH press should just stop asking him questions.
He’ll come out and read the programmed lies, and everyone just sits there staring at him.
Just a single day – one day – and the message will be very strong.

But NOOOooooooooooo!!!

Tard on May 16, 2014 at 8:24 PM

MKH, that cliff notes version is so scathingly accurate that I can’t even laugh at it. As an American I am appalled by the lack of outrage by our citizenry. Any other president would have been impeached years ago,

KMC1 on May 16, 2014 at 8:33 PM

Carney, and the Administration he serves, are a pile of crap.

oldennis on May 16, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Nice piece MKH. You really got it right.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 8:38 PM

This is the kind of care that the rest of us will have to accept when Obamacare is in full swing. Death-panels by proxy.

bigGwillie on May 16, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Step 9: Blame Bush!

bigGwillie on May 16, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Two words: Death panels.

UnderstandingisPower on May 16, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Brutal, but true.

John the Libertarian on May 16, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Uhhhh…. VA is that like near LA?

rodguy911 on May 16, 2014 at 8:55 PM

this vet wants him to not be alive anymore.
not saying he needs to be killed, just saying he needs to not be alive.

dmacleo on May 16, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Moving aggressively on this?

The only thing the Administration for Administrative Affairs moves aggressively on is trying to surreptitiously squash the first amendment rights of the Chosen One’s opposition.

RockinRickOwen on May 16, 2014 at 9:03 PM

The sad part is that Team Obama does this with everything, even when it’s an issue that shouldn’t be heavily political, and one where forceful, quick action would make Obama look good. It’s like they just can’t help themselves.

Also, they can’t help being lazy, and putting yapping over action.

William Teach on May 16, 2014 at 9:09 PM

Clown Carney:
I don’t have to take this $hit from you. You know who I am?
In the field of local-live-home entertainment, I’m a god!

Tard on May 16, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Carney: Silly press corps, we have now entered the stop-asking-questions phase of the VA scandal

It’s not a scandal until the White House, the LSM, and the Libtard blogosphere says it is…like everything Reagan and both Bush’s ever did.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 16, 2014 at 10:08 PM

How does a self-respecting human being take a job communicating with the press and the American people when he knows full well that his actual job is to obfuscate? I mean, this guy has to look in a mirror at some point during the day, right?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on May 16, 2014 at 10:22 PM

How does a self-respecting human being take a job communicating with the press and the American people when he knows full well that his actual job is to obfuscate? I mean, this guy has to look in a mirror at some point during the day, right?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on May 16, 2014 at 10:22 PM

I had to scroll back up to the headline to see what this story was about because your comment applies to so many in Barry’s admin.

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2014 at 10:31 PM

During the 2016 primary season…

Hillary: “At this point, what difference does it make!”

ThePainfulTruth on May 16, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Finally one reporte asks questions. The rest don’t seem to give two hoots about any of this.

neyney on May 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM

I propose a march on Washington by our vets. A huge one. Until we are given answers by this administration.

HotAirian on May 16, 2014 at 7:53 PM

They tried it, this morning. Operation American Spring barely got an article in the WashTimes.

Who is John Galt on May 16, 2014 at 11:42 PM

…it’s hard to use the excuse “the first we heard about it…was what we read in the papers…just like you!”……….when most of the time….reporters don’t bother writing anything!….Carney can’t even handle a stacked deck!

KOOLAID2 on May 16, 2014 at 11:55 PM

How does a self-respecting human being take a job communicating with the press and the American people when he knows full well that his actual job is to obfuscate? I mean, this guy has to look in a mirror at some point during the day, right?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on May 16, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Good point sir. However, I would add this. It is very telling that not one of those journalists calls bs on Carney and gets up and walks off. Look that smarmy little mfkr right in the eye and ask, “really, that’s all you got?”

arnold ziffel on May 17, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Since the VA was so bold as to send around emails instructing personnel in how to doctor the books to make it appear they were in compliance with the law and regulation regarding appointments, think of all the ways the VA may well have been colluding to cover other, even more serious nefarious activity, like the direct abuse and/or neglect of patients, misappropriation of funds, etc.

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Well I’m hoping this sorry episode will tip the scales and serve to inform the broader liv crowd of the perils of single payer. Politicize it? Hell yes!!!

Harbingeing on May 17, 2014 at 12:11 AM

You forgot Step 8, which is where we’re at with Benghazi –

Get the media juiceboxers and leftist bloggers to start flooding social media with sick, tasteless jokes demeaning the veterans who died on these secret waiting lists while VA bureaucrats raked in huge bonuses.

Gator Country on May 17, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Every time I see Carney speak, I think of this article.

iwasbornwithit on May 17, 2014 at 12:43 AM

Every time I see Carney speak, I think of this article.

iwasbornwithit on May 17, 2014 at 12:43 AM

Now I’m confused. I thought the Onion only did parody. When did they start reporting facts?

Freelancer on May 17, 2014 at 1:50 AM

From earlier today:

If it takes a Democratic president to get Republicans to give two shirts about veterans services, then so be it. I suppose those who care about how we care for military workers better hope a Democrat wins in 2016, otherwise these types of questions and public hearings will return to their status as “comfort to the enemy.”

libfreeordie on May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Step 3 is where ABC’s Jon Karl found himself today, on the receiving end of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s indignation at the mere asking of questions after the administration has expressed grave concern and started an investigation.

YCMTSU

AesopFan on May 17, 2014 at 1:52 AM

Anyone that believes that these many *scandals* are individual government failures and not actual White House policy are crazy. This administration packed government agencies with like-minded directors from the start, so none of them are local f-ups, these are carved in granite, White House policy being administered as stated and protected by the DOJ.
When exposed, they’re ridiculed, slow-walked and denied, but continue unabated…as they were designed.

AppraisHer on May 17, 2014 at 1:55 AM

The guy who resigned was scheduled to retire June 1. That has to be one of the Steps as I believe that also happened in the IRS scandal and possibly Fast and Furious. Its been so long on that one that I have forgotten the details. Which is I guess the point of all the delay in the first place.

txmomof6 on May 17, 2014 at 6:21 AM

MKH is clearly looking to take over Carney’s position when he leaves. She’s the only one who has a full understanding of how it’s done.

ButterflyDragon on May 17, 2014 at 6:41 AM

Veterans should be able to get the best care anywhere they choose to go.
I think its time for the private sector to take over services as important as healthcare and K-12 education.

kregg on May 17, 2014 at 7:25 AM

I love Carney’s name. He truly is a clown. At this point it’s a benefit he doesn’t resign because the press pool does.not.like to be dissed. And he clearly holds them in contempt.

and just btw: Bigbullets, go on, admit you’re a sock to drive up comments. The attempts at incendiary cracks are hilarious. Well done.

Eviva on May 17, 2014 at 8:32 AM

If the White House press corps simply accedes to the step-by-step plan as MKH has spelled out, the it can truly be asked of them “Did they ever get out of journalism school?”

But, alas, it seems the kind of pressure that will be brought to bear against Jake Tapper for asking tough questions about this will not be brought to bear on the White House press corps for not asking tough questions.

cranbone on May 17, 2014 at 9:12 AM

“look, we are in too many scandals at the moment to keep track of what investigations are turning up, so just shut up and wait until we figure out an appropriate lie for this one.”

Mbiddle on May 17, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Weer there any blacks or gheys murdered by the VA?

If so maybe we could get Commissar Holder and the Department of Injustice to appoint a special prosecutor. If only old angry white guys then not so much.

jukin3 on May 17, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Speaking as a veteran, let me just say to Mr. Carney that he should not rest assured thinking this is something that will either eventually be labelled a phony scandal or be forgotten, because neither will happen as long as vets like myself have a say in the matter! And right now, we are getting very angry, and this administration will NOT like us when we are angry!

pilamaye on May 17, 2014 at 9:45 AM

I’m really starting to despise Jay Carney.

myiq2xu on May 16, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Just now?

Starting to?

Midas on May 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM

I seem to remember a phrase or is it a song lyric that says ‘ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.’ Sort of fits here, no?

platypus on May 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

“It shocks me in my heart that we are treating vets like this. But it is not a surprise.” -Patty Murray D-WA

Akzed on May 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Step10, What difference does it make.

newportmike on May 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Our Vets are left without care while this happens?

I’m guessing there’s plenty more comparisons to be made, too.
Wish we had some Repubs with the guts to do it!

lineholder on May 17, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Who needs Alinsky when you have the Obama playbook?

HellCat on May 17, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Why are these people still in power?

conservativecaveman on May 17, 2014 at 10:00 PM

We have investigated ourselves and found ourselves innocent.

Why are these people still in power?

conservativecaveman on May 17, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Maybe because too many conservative voters didn’t think Romney was conservative enough and stayed home in 2012?

Steve Z on May 19, 2014 at 10:22 AM