Two Democratic Senate candidates call for Shinseki’s ouster

posted at 9:21 am on May 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Gee, I wonder how this will play at the DSCC? Its leadership in the Senate wants Democrats to sit on their hands and do nothing about the VA scandal except issue deep thoughts about addressing it “administratively.” Their hand-picked candidates in Georgia and Kentucky, where the DSCC hopes to steal a march on the GOP this fall, reject that approach and demand that Barack Obama replace Eric Shinseki at the top of the VA:

Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, this morning split with the Obama administration and called for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in response to a growing scandal over delayed treatment and faked records.

“There is growing evidence that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs new leadership in order to reform its badly broken bureaucracy,” Nunn said in a campaign release.

Nunn’s call comes one day after Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, also demanded Shinseki’s head.

Actually, Nunn and Grimes aren’t alone on the Democratic bench calling for Shinseki to step down, either:

Democrat Rick Weiland, who is running for South Dakota’s open Senate seat, also called for Shinseki’s ouster, as did a Democrat running for an open House seat in New Jersey and two Republicans challenging vulnerable Democrats in northern Minnesota House districts.

Take Weiland with a Lot’s-wife-sized grain of salt, though. He also blamed the government shutdown for the VA’s woes, as though a two-week hiatus in October 2013 was what prompted warnings in 2010 and 2012 as well as earlier in 2013 about wait-list fraud and unconscionable wait times. Weiland also might want to familiarize himself with the VA’s history of budget increases over Shinseki’s tenure, too, before shooting off his mouth any further on Republican blame for a Democratic administration’s incompetence.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demands accountability … except at the top, or something:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that “someone has to be accountable” for the growing allegations of misconduct and treatment delays at Veterans Affairs hospitals, but the focus of the investigation should be to “fix the problem” rather than fire embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Speaking to CBS News’ Charlie Rose aboard the USS Oak Hill in New York City, Hagel was asked about reports of misconduct, treatment delays and falsified records at VA facilities nationwide – including allegations that veterans may have died waiting for care at a Phoenix VA hospital.

“Any time there is an issue or a problem or a veteran doesn’t get service – or certainly if a veteran dies because he or she doesn’t get service,” Hagel said, “there’s no higher responsibility our country has than to these people who serve and sacrifice.”

Hagel said that despite the growing scandal, he still supports Shinseki, who promised a crackdown on the Phoenix VA hospital where staff allegedly kept a secret list of patients to hide delays in care. That hospital is among 26 being investigated nationwide, according to the VA inspector general.

Is that how accountability works? The man who allowed the incompetence and fraud to flourish for five-plus years while getting a 78% increase in annual funding is the one man who can fix the problems now that they’ve been exposed? I’m tempted to ask how Hagel defines “accountable,” but I’m afraid the answer will be too depressing.

With Democrats calling for Shinseki’s head on the campaign trail, how long will Senate Democrats continue to hold out for Shinseki and Obama? How long will Obama hold out while taking broadsides from his own side? So far, the conventional wisdom among Democrats in Washington is that this scandal won’t play into the midterms, but at least two of their marquee candidates in this cycle clearly disagree. We’ll see if that calculus changes minds inside the Beltway.


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When Michelle Nunn calls for the impeachment of 0, I might,mind you might consider her.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 9:24 AM

My space bar is not working properly.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Apparently there might be an issue with the comma key as well.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM

There’s that Table Model again….

I’ve seen better legs on a table….

ToddPA on May 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM

My space bar is not working properly.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 9:25 AM

I’m holding you accountable for that by appointing you to investigate it.

Ed Morrissey on May 23, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Without a government pension, of course. Wait…what?

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Two Democratic Senate candidates call for Shinseki’s ouster

I guess it’s a way for them to look like they care.

Lourdes on May 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Ed Morrissey on May 23, 2014 at 9:27 AM

; ) You could fix it, you know. Lolz! P.S. Please add that comma while you’re at it. ; )

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Dems call for Shinseki to resign, then they’ll call for weeks of hearings to confirm his replacement. Who will do the same as Shinseki did.

Lourdes on May 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

How about these Fascist-Democrat candidates hold Harry Reid accountable for blocking a House bipartisan bill. That might get my attention, otherwise, I’m hitting the snooze button.

rbj on May 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Two Democratic Senate candidates call for Shinseki’s ouster

How about they call for the public worker/s union/s to dislodge from affixing themselves to federal employees.

Lourdes on May 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Maybe the Dems have polled this and have decided that the best thing to do is ride this out and do nothing and then blame the GOP for making an issue about it and calling them racists for not enacting a 2,500-page monstrosity enshrining amnesty.

Maybe, however, the objective is to allow Dem members of the House light their hair on fire in a chamber where they really have no power and their seats are likely very safe (or where being angry helps them in their district), while the Senate puts a wet blanket over anything and hides it under the famous procedural nonsense that enables Reid to do whatever he wants without really getting any blame for it.

This is a phucking disgrace.

BuckeyeSam on May 23, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Take Weiland with a Lot’s-wife-sized grain of salt, though. He also blamed the government shutdown for the VA’s woes, as though a two-week hiatus in October 2013 was what prompted warnings in 2010 and 2012 as well as earlier in 2013 about wait-list fraud and unconscionable wait times.

The VA was not affected in any way by the shutdown due to the way their funding is approved. Not a single VA employee had to take furlough days.

Johnnyreb on May 23, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Every time I see that screen pic I think of a 1940′s era photo of someone standing by their farmhouse with a dusty Model A in the background. Update your look, lady, seriously.

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Chuck Hagel…

I cannot read that name or see his picture without laughing….

‘Hi, I’m Chuck Hagel, and I’m dumber than a bag of hair. Thanks for your support…”

Derp…

BigWyo on May 23, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Your description is near perfect. She is a handsome gal.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Toast is burning…

rhombus on May 23, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Found the problem. I was leery of purchasing a product named iskin.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM

What possible benefit can this refusal to fire or censure Shinseki do for Democrats?

I don’t think his firing will fix anything, unless it is closely followed by the firing of every department head and assistant department head in the entire VA (i.e. institutional terrorism), but in the real world, it is the inevitable result of an f*#k-up this big.

Even rabid lefties can understand this, can’t they?

This really puts me in mind of the Soviet Union’s bureaucratic system of promoting and protecting the incompetent who were loyal Party members or the sons of loyal Party members, and the subsequent dysfunction of their military/industrial/agricultural hybrid model.

Ideological reliability above all, I guess.
How amusing it must be to the ghosts of Marx, Engels and Stalin that after defeating their ideology in the international sphere, America now staggers along to failure by imitating their worst features.

We did indeed sell them the rope.

Dolce Far Niente on May 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

With Democrats calling for Shinseki’s head on the campaign trail, how long will Senate Democrats continue to hold out for Shinseki and Obama?

Only the ones who want to unseat or maintain their position.

Dems run as conservatives when they need to be elected, that’s their pattern.

They pick up “independents” because indies have no idea what is happening to them, how they are manipulated, and the dems snicker because they know once the seat is won, they will revert back to being libs.

The sad truth, Republican’s vote Republican, dems vote dems, and that is pretty evenly split.

It’s the easy to manipulate, the not too bright independents, that need to be wooed.

right2bright on May 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”

-President Abraham Lincoln, 1865. Motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs

This most basic promise of our Nation to those who have been wounded and fallen in defending it’s freedom.

Do these words, uttered by one of the greatest American Presidents in history, mean nothing now?

This Memorial Day, how many families will be placing flowers on the grave of a Veteran because Obama, Secy Shinseki, and the pencil pushers at the Dept of Veterans Affairs failed them in their duty to our veterans? Not just failed, but betrayed them with these waiting lists?

This is why I am furious, this is why people from both sides of the political fence that I know are calling for Shinseki’s termination or resignation.

theflyonthewall on May 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Racists!!!

What do they have against Americans with Asian ancestry?

Racists!!!

patch on May 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

What possible benefit can this refusal to fire or censure Shinseki do for Democrats?

I don’t think his firing will fix anything, unless it is closely followed by the firing of every department head and assistant department head in the entire VA (i.e. institutional terrorism), but in the real world, it is the inevitable result of an f*#k-up this big.

Even rabid lefties can understand this, can’t they?

This really puts me in mind of the Soviet Union’s bureaucratic system of promoting and protecting the incompetent who were loyal Party members or the sons of loyal Party members, and the subsequent dysfunction of their military/industrial/agricultural hybrid model.

Ideological reliability above all, I guess.
How amusing it must be to the ghosts of Marx, Engels and Stalin that after defeating their ideology in the international sphere, America now staggers along to failure by imitating their worst features.

We did indeed sell them the rope.

Dolce Far Niente on May 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

If Obama fires him it means that Obama made a mistake in nominating him. Cant have the Emperor looking bad now can we?

Johnnyreb on May 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

theflyonthewall on May 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Pffft! Some guy who huddled on a hill in the Ia Drang while artillery was called down on top of his position is really going to compare his mild experience with that of a poor Mexican dude who had to suffer the indignity of scraping his elbow while climbing over a border fence?

Whatever. You obviously have your priorities screwed up. Bigot.

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Is that how accountability works? The man who allowed the incompetence and fraud to flourish for five-plus years while getting a 78% increase in annual funding is the one man who can fix the problems now that they’ve been exposed?

Accountability, apparently, begins with investigating one’s own department to find out if any of the “allegations” being reported in the media are even true! That will take months. Then, of course, is the corrective action which will center on re-training of lower level workers without addressing their superiors who knew full well about the wait lists and other fraud.

My exit question is this……. Do any of the actions taken to date strike you that Shinseki, Obama, or the Dems are “madder than hell” about what has been going on in the VA?

Happy Nomad on May 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

My exit question is this……. Do any of the actions taken to date strike you that Shinseki, Obama, or the Dems are “madder than hell” about what has been going on in the VA?

Happy Nomad on May 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Their mad as hell that it saw the light of day.

Bitter Clinger on May 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Insta has an eye-opening link talking about Gitmo terrorists and American vets differing access to healthcare.

Read it and try not to punch a hole in your wall.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/05/22/al-qaeda-terrorists-at-guantanamo-treated-better-than-our-vets/

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Politicians doing what is politically advantageous.

My exit question is this……. Do any of the actions taken to date strike you that Shinseki, Obama, or the Dems are “madder than hell” about what has been going on in the VA?

Happy Nomad on May 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

No. The Oministration has been attacking Veterans since 2009, and he’s not done yet.

Key West Reader on May 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

We did indeed sell them the rope.

Dolce Far Niente on May 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

And tied the noose, and placed it around our own necks, while snapping selfies of ourselves in our new accessory (complemented by our Che t-shirts), and ooohing and aaahhhing about how cool we were for choosing a hip, citizen-of-the-world black guy over a couple of stuffy old white dudes.

AZCoyote on May 23, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Methinks these Dem candidates speak with forked tongue.

If elected, they would declare, after appropriate coaching from Reid, that Shinseki is the man for the job to clean up the mess.

Typical demorat snakes.

txdoc on May 23, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Hay. Isn’t Chuckles a little late to this scandal?

The guy looks like a stone cold drunkard.

Key West Reader on May 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Remember, the Dems and mainstream Media HATE the Benghazi and IRS investigations because both of those lead to the White House. The VA is a scandal of the first order, but it won’t touch the White House.

AcronisF on May 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

theflyonthewall on May 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Pffft! Some guy who huddled on a hill in the Ia Drang while artillery was called down on top of his position is really going to compare his mild experience with that of a poor Mexican dude who had to suffer the indignity of scraping his elbow while climbing over a border fence?

Whatever. You obviously have your priorities screwed up. Bigot.

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Next time, pay closer attention to who you are quoting, because that was not even remotely what I posted, which was quoting Lincoln’s words that is now the motto of the VA.

theflyonthewall on May 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

The VA was not affected in any way by the shutdown due to the way their funding is approved. Not a single VA employee had to take furlough days.

Johnnyreb on May 23, 2014

But probably as good union aholes, they walked out in sympathy with their bros.

txdoc on May 23, 2014 at 10:07 AM

When you think Muskie lures think “Muskie Marabou”, the best-smelling Muskie lure in the world.

Brought to you by the good people at Mepps, available online and wherever fine lures are sold.

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Abolish public sector unions – ALL OF THEM. Take whatever pension money an employee has and roll it into a 401k like the rest of us.

There is no place or reason for a Public Sector Union of any kind. These are our employees – they do not need protection FROM us.

Key West Reader on May 23, 2014 at 10:13 AM

When were GOP reps doing this against Bush during his regime. HotAir keeps posting links of Democrats criticizing Obama…and then claiming that the left never openly disagrees. Girl, bye.

libfreeordie on May 21, 2014 at 5:26 PM

NotCoach on May 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Even rabid lefties can understand this, can’t they?

Dolce Far Niente on May 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

That was rhetorical, right?

lynncgb on May 23, 2014 at 10:17 AM

the Democrats can criticize all day, what are they going to do about it, same as before nothing.

Does anyone think this gal would get the time of day from anyone, if she wasn’t the daughter of a big Democrat, like Nancy P.

RonK on May 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Forgot something, what are the Republicans going to do, again same as before nothing, this has been going on for a long time, no real change. Maybe time for a special prosecutor to look into it, not like they didn’t have time already.

RonK on May 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Michelle Malkin: Comparing/Contrasting Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans:

http://townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/2014/05/23/how-america-treats-illegal-aliens-vs-veterans-n1842227?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl

Illegal Aliens have become a privileged class … veterans, not so much.

bw222 on May 23, 2014 at 10:28 AM

What clout does Nunn have at this point to call for ouster of anyone? She’s like a little girl playing dress-up. Same goes for gorgeous Grimes. Who cares what she has to say?

MisterElephant on May 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Every time I see that screen pic I think of a 1940′s era photo of someone standing by their farmhouse with a dusty Model A in the background. Update your look, lady, seriously.

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

To be painfully honest, Ms. Nunn doesn’t have a whole lot to work with.

bw222 on May 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM

This is negligent homicide at best, manslaughter at worst. They denied treatment to vets resulting in deaths. And they did it for money.

Why isn’t anyone in these states where this is happening indicting people for state level crimes? Is there not a single red state attorney general willing to do the right thing anymore???

I won’t even bother asking about the blue state attorneys general. I don’t like to appear that naive.

runawayyyy on May 23, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Next time, pay closer attention to who you are quoting, because that was not even remotely what I posted, which was quoting Lincoln’s words that is now the motto of the VA.

theflyonthewall on May 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Wow….fished in.

And it was actually from Bishop….

*snicker*

BigWyo on May 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

…I’m not going to comment…….about her looks……..or her brain!

KOOLAID2 on May 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

TRICK QUESTION: What is the difference between a paid vacation and a suspension with full pay?

The Phoenix VA managers are suspended with full pay. I suspect that the suspension won’t even subtract from their accrued paid vacation time. Odds of them being fired – near zero.

The odds of anyone except Shinseki being fired – near zero. The odds of meaningful reform coming to the VA soon – ABSOLUTE ZERO. The odds of a budget increase for the VA – 100%

The VA scandal has become just a part of the Beltway soap opera. Hopefully it will hurt incumbent Democrats and Obamacare, but I’m not sure that it will.

pilsener on May 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM

…I’m not going to comment…….about her looks……..or her brain!

KOOLAID2 on May 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

I hear ya…but damn…

This broad just Screams PROG……

She sweats concern…..

BigWyo on May 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

…I’m not going to comment…….about her looks……..or her brain!

KOOLAID2 on May 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Me neither. Not saying one word.

MisterElephant on May 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Clearly, this time people are paying attention.

So the Demos must feign outrage.

formwiz on May 23, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Pelosi said “we have to pass obama’care’ to find out what’s in it”, all 2000+ pages of it, but yesterday the socialist senator stopped the “firing the inept VA thugs” because he didn’t have time to read 2 1/2 pages.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:49 PM

…I’m not going to comment…….about her looks……..or her brain!

KOOLAID2 on May 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

She is quite lovely and vivacious in a zombie kind of way.

celtic warrior on May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Insta has an eye-opening link talking about Gitmo terrorists and American vets differing access to healthcare.

Read it and try not to punch a hole in your wall.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/05/22/al-qaeda-terrorists-at-guantanamo-treated-better-than-our-vets/

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

This sort of thing is not new.
It became especially galling during the Middle East wars.
Whenever I saw a story about criminals complaining their prison didn’t have enough humane amenities, I compared their situation to that of our soldiers in the deserts and other front-line situations.
If the prisoners had it better than the warriors, they didn’t get my sympathy.

In this case, however, Gitmo is a high-profile prison with a tetchy constituency outside the walls, so it gets a lot of attention; the VA snafu is just that — “situation normal” for any government-run, politician-controlled operation, and just too big for adequate oversight.

That said, my response is “Fire them all” top to bottom, starting with Shinseki and working down to every clerk who knowingly his the real wait times; maybe they were afraid not to go along, but it was wrong and they knew it.

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 2:24 PM

“his” <= "hid"

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Maybe the problem isn’t Shinseki but is the tools Shikseki has to work with.

It’s notoriously difficult to really fire a government employee. So there is no real downside to hide patient treatment delays OR to hide partisan applications of IRS regulations. What is really needed is a serious downside for illegal activities for any public employee. It’s your job AND retirement if you break the law in your office as a part of your day to day work effort. But, you get half your retirement back if you can successfully finger the person who gave you the orders and that person is fired.

{^_^}

herself on May 24, 2014 at 2:39 AM

Two Democratic Senate candidates call for Shinseki’s ouster

Maybe if they say it only once, nobody will notice it– until they have to remind us that they really did say it.

ricoliv on May 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM