Joe Scarborough: I know someone who might be able to turn the VA around

posted at 1:21 pm on May 30, 2014 by Allahpundit

Via Breitbart, who better to fix the government’s most notorious bureaucracy than the man who ran for president as an expert turnaround artist? Just one problem: Not in a million years, I’d bet, would Romney accept a task as thanklessly Sisyphean as managing the VA. No one — no one — is going to turn the agency around and he surely knows it. So does Obama, I expect, which is why he’d happily offer a Republican like Romney the job if he thought he’d take it. It would make the next two years of VA failures thoroughly bipartisan, with zero risk that the new manager would embarrass O by succeeding where his Democratic administration had failed.

The reason Romney would turn this down cold isn’t because he doesn’t care or because the agency’s underfunded (on the contrary, funding’s ballooned over the last 15 years), it’s because there’s realistically no way to cut a path through the jungle of regulation and bureaucracy that’s grown up around a national system of socialized medicine. As always, as always, government accepts reform only by addition, never by subtraction.

This is the sort of turnaround that a lot of corporate chief executive officers promise: We’ll handle more customers, but faster! Most of them fail, too. And corporate CEOs have a weapon that the president doesn’t: They can fire most of the staff. When looking at corporate turnarounds for my book on failure, I came across a lot of stories of successful turnarounds, and a lot of them started with just that step…

[W]hen you put reforms in place, you can’t just rip out the stuff that’s not working and do something different. What you’re actually reforming is the process, and because many of the current elements of the process are functionally mandated by other government rules, or court rulings, or bits of legislation that your reform effort didn’t amend, you have to layer your reform on top of the system you wanted to reform, rather than in place of it. Many of your reforms simply stack another layer of bureaucracy on top of the bureaucracy that was already causing problems. This is a problem that CEOs don’t face, unless they’re in some heavily regulated business such as banking or oil refining.

Why would a man who once famously said, for entirely sensible reasons, that he likes being able to fire people take a job where he can’t fire people? And bureaucracy isn’t the only problem: Yuval Levin makes a shrewd point here about potential resistance from powerful veterans’ groups if anyone tried to take a scalpel to the VA. That’s counterintuitive because veterans, when polled, are widely skeptical of the VA; fully 72 percent say that vets returning from combat get worse care there than they do outside the system. The veterans’ lobby would, you might therefore assume, be eager for drastic reforms. But overhauling the VA might also mean scaling the influence of those groups way back, which, from the groups’ perspective, might mean that veterans themselves will have less of a say over their care under the new VA. In other words, veterans’ lobbyists may sincerely believe that the current system, flaws and all, is ultimately more responsive to vets than a new one would be. And neither Mitt Romney nor Colin Powell (another name mentioned by Scarborough) nor anyone else is going to win a political battle with an outfit as sympathetic as them. Even Congress won’t risk it. That’s why there’s so little oversight of the agency within the government.

So no, no Romney. Nice try, though. Exit quotation:


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Just Say No

cmsinaz on May 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Yeah Romney take the job! Give the VA some of that magic sauce you spread on the Utah Winter Olympics.

Do it Romney! Do it! Do it!

coolrepublica on May 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

you guys blame the va problems in large part on ‘socialized medicine’ yet you want mitt romney, the grandfather of socialized medicine in the united states, to clean up the problem?

the mental disconnect is astounding.

although i guess you guys did pick the grandfather of obamacare to run against the father of obamacare, so it kind of makes sense in that light.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Yeah Romney take the job! Give the VA some of that magic sauce you spread on the Utah Winter Olympics.

Do it Romney! Do it! Do it!

coolrepublica on May 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

that magic sauce was taxpayer money.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM

After WWII, they picked Omar Bradley to clean up the VA because he had the clout.

The Romster would only get, “I won”.

formwiz on May 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Via Breitbart, who better to fix the government’s most notorious bureaucracy than the man who ran for president as an expert turnaround artist?

The turnaround expert who could never turn around his own campaign? I’m beginning to think that Scarborough wants to strangle the vets in their beds.

Stoic Patriot on May 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM

ORCA for our veterans… how nice.

Red Widow on May 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Why not Michael Dukakis?

CBWV99 on May 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Right on Allahpundit.

The core problem here isn’t mismanagement – it’s the nature of bureaucracies.

gwelf on May 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

you guys blame the va problems in large part on ‘socialized medicine’ yet you want mitt romney, the grandfather of socialized medicine in the united states, to clean up the problem?

the mental disconnect is astounding.

Did you read AP’s post? I don’t know that anyone other than your bobo coolrepublica favors Romney taking on the task. And I don’t suspect Joe Scarborough speaks for too many people on this board.

Man, we need better trolls.

Mr. D on May 30, 2014 at 1:33 PM

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

I don’t see anyone here wanting Romney to take over.

I think the idiot suggesting this is Scarborough.

Barred on May 30, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Does Michelle have experience at a medical facility?
Let her do it.

vityas on May 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM

…government accepts reform only by addition, never by subtraction.

No kidding:

Dems to push funding for more VA hospitals

Oy.

rcpjr on May 30, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Obama ran on fixing this. It’s his responsibility and he ain’t gonna find a naive Republican to unload it onto. Even an idiot like Hagel would be wise enough to turn it down.

Doughboy on May 30, 2014 at 1:37 PM

The VA could be fixed in 3 years.

But it would require everyone in the Obama administration, and every congress critter, to subject themselves to it . . . including wait times, regulations, paperwork, union requirements, etc.

BLOC on May 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

I also know somebody who may or may not have killed their intern.

reddevil on May 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Last time he oversaw a medical company billing the Federal government fraud went up significantly.

Mitt Romney’s profiting from Medicare fraud perpetrated by Damon Corporation during the time that Romney was on its board of directors, representing Bain Capital’s majority stake in the company.

Not really the kind of guy you want in charge of these things. Fraud just seems to easily slip through his grasp.

astonerii on May 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Yes, the same person that could have fixed the country but they wanted Obama the Incompetent.

leader4hru on May 30, 2014 at 1:40 PM

ThisIsYourBrainOnSomethingOnlyFvckingIdiotFringiesAndDementiaReidCareAbout…

Bernie Sanders Blames The Koch Brothers For Pressure To Force VA Chief Shinseki Out…

Of course.

Resist We Much on May 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM

you guys blame the va problems in large part on ‘socialized medicine’ yet you want mitt romney, the grandfather of socialized medicine in the united states, to clean up the problem?

the mental disconnect is astounding.

although i guess you guys did pick the grandfather of obamacare to run against the father of obamacare, so it kind of makes sense in that light.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Shows you how incompetent Obama is, don’t it?

Chuck Schick on May 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM

OT: Why are the hot air trolls so dumb? There must be some smart liberals out there who want to jump into the comments and mix it up. If this is the best the dems have, we truly do live in idiocracy.

Timin203 on May 30, 2014 at 1:42 PM

It would make the next two years of VA failures thoroughly bipartisan, with zero risk that the new manager would embarrass O by succeeding where his Democratic administration had failed.

Paging Jeff Huntsman. Steve Huntsman. Please pickup the white courtesy phone.

dreadnought62 on May 30, 2014 at 1:44 PM

you guys blame the va problems in large part on ‘socialized medicine’ yet you want mitt romney, the grandfather of socialized medicine in the united states, to clean up the problem?

the mental disconnect is astounding.

although i guess you guys did pick the grandfather of obamacare to run against the father of obamacare, so it kind of makes sense in that light.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Reading (comprehension) is fundamental!

‘You’ =/= All or even the majority of us.

Joe ‘Don’t ask me about Lori Klausutis’ Scarborough is suggesting Romney and he doesn’t speak for the overwhelming majority of libertarians, conservatives, Republicans and independents.

Resist We Much on May 30, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Would someone explain to me, seriously – no kidding – just exactly how We the People allow some of our fellow citizens to have cushy jobs with high salaries, do really poor work, embezzle, lie, and cheat – but they can never be terminated/fired? How did that actually happen?

HomeoftheBrave on May 30, 2014 at 1:50 PM

OT: Why are the hot air trolls so dumb?

They simply can’t help it.

There must be some smart liberals out there who want to jump into the comments and mix it up.

No. There aren’t. Not any.

If this is the best the dems have, we truly do live in idiocracy.

Timin203 on May 30, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Yes. Yes, we do.

Midas on May 30, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Actually this is not a task for just one person.

To fix the VA, the rat-eared wonder should appoint a commission with the ability to hire and fire, refer individuals to the DoJ for criminal prosecution, and otherwise run the VA like a board of governors. The individuals would have to be knowledgeable in running large health systems and dealing with the bureaucracy that comes from a civil service and union workforce.

In short, the fix is declaring “martial law” and breaking down the systemic problems.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Would someone explain to me, seriously – no kidding – just exactly how We the People allow some of our fellow citizens to have cushy jobs with high salaries, do really poor work, embezzle, lie, and cheat – but they can never be terminated/fired? How did that actually happen?

HomeoftheBrave on May 30, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Ten weeks after Wagner’s victory, Kennedy looked to mobilize public-sector workers as a new source of Democratic Party political support. In mid-January 1962, he issued Executive Order 10988, which gave federal workers the right to organize in unions.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703909904576052150177439350

Newtie and the Beauty on May 30, 2014 at 1:55 PM

O/T: And Baghdad Bob Jr is leaving the WH podium…

Breaking on Fox…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Does Michelle have experience at a medical facility?
Let her do it.

vityas on May 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Yes, she does – but it’s not a history she probably wants brought up in the conversation.

Midas on May 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

From Ace’s:

Nancy Pelosi, Ten Years Apart

Interesting comparison of Pelosi’s reaction to two different scandals, only one of which actually has a body count.

Nancy Pelosi on May 4, 2004:

“The revelation of grotesque behavior by soldiers in Iraq is not only disgraceful and damaging to the interests of the United States, it also endangers our men and women in uniform, the vast majority of whom are courageously performing their duties. The shameful mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq is unacceptable and must be investigated thoroughly.

“Among the questions that must be answered are: Was this an isolated incident? Were personnel trained adequately to do the jobs to which they were assigned? When did senior leadership of the Department of Defense learn of these allegations? Was their response timely and did it reflect the seriousness of this situation?

“We must have a full investigation to get to the bottom of this outrage.”

Nancy Pelosi on May 28, 2014:

Well, I think any time that our men and women in uniform are not served in the manner in which they deserve, you could perhaps call it a scandal because it’s scandalous that they’re not. Whether it is a scandal with intention and the rest of that, the evidence remains to be seen. But the fact is that they haven’t been served worthy of their sacrifice or their role in our country.

Just lovely.

Resist We Much on May 30, 2014 at 1:58 PM

O/T: And Baghdad Bob Jr is leaving the WH podium…

Breaking on Fox…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Rats leaving a sinking ship.

Chuck Schick on May 30, 2014 at 1:58 PM

O/T: And Baghdad Bob Jr is leaving the WH podium…

Breaking on Fox…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Leaving so he can spend more quality time with his communist propaganda art, no doubt. Maybe he’ll accidentally/on purpose throw himself in front of a subway on the way home.

Midas on May 30, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Would someone explain to me, seriously – no kidding – just exactly how We the People allow some of our fellow citizens to have cushy jobs with high salaries, do really poor work, embezzle, lie, and cheat – but they can never be terminated/fired? How did that actually happen?

HomeoftheBrave on May 30, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Great question. Probably happened about the same time that we decided taking money from one person to give to another was “social justice.” About the same time that we decided that not hiring someone because of his skin color was unjust, so the remedy was to not hire a different person because of his skin color. About the same time we decided that those who carry the burden of working, raising children or defending the republic were moral aberrants. About the same time we decided that sexual congress between perverts carried the same societal value as heterosexuality.

Feel free to add to the list. We’ll call it the Catalog of Civilizational Decay.

dreadnought62 on May 30, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Just lovely.

Resist We Much on May 30, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Tweetied you. ; )

Bmore on May 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM

O/T: And Baghdad Bob Jr is leaving the WH podium…

Breaking on Fox…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Finally.

climbnjump on May 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Coffee guy. If Mitt were to wade into that swamp. What brand wader would you recommend?

Bmore on May 30, 2014 at 2:01 PM

you guys blame the va problems in large part on ‘socialized medicine’ yet you want mitt romney, the grandfather of socialized medicine in the united states, to clean up the problem?

the mental disconnect is astounding.

although i guess you guys did pick the grandfather of obamacare to run against the father of obamacare, so it kind of makes sense in that light.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

You should have picked this week to stop sniffing airplane glue.

HumpBot Salvation on May 30, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Drudge has it as well. Clean House.

Bmore on May 30, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Actually, I agree with Joe on this one. Romney is a very good businessman and I think he could clean up the VA mess. But he won’t be offered and I don’t know if he would take it. My problems with Romney had nothing to do with his business skills, but rather his timidness when it came to taking on Obama. If Romney had gone after Obama like he did his republican primary opponents, he might be President today.

fight like a girl on May 30, 2014 at 2:03 PM

No, firings should not require a commission.

blink on May 30, 2014 at 1:59 PM

My point was that the commission put in charge of the VA needs to be given real authority. Not a sham commission like the 9/11 commission.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM

No, firings should not require a commission.

blink on May 30, 2014 at 1:59 PM

What we need is a blue ribbon commission of experts to advise us on how to create a new federal agency devoted to holding the bureaucracy accountable.

/sarc

gwelf on May 30, 2014 at 2:06 PM

O/T: And Baghdad Bob Jr is leaving the WH podium…

Breaking on Fox…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Did you see this comment from the rat-eared wonder?

“Today the flak jacket is officially passed to a new generation,”

As if this adoring media has been throwing grenades at Comrade Jay.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Mitt would want to privatize it.

rubberneck on May 30, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Midas on May 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Rush should start a “draft Michelle” campaign Similar to operation chaos and really drag her medical facility administration experience into the sunlight. I mean she’s doing such a bang up job with the school lunch program isn’t she?

Harbingeing on May 30, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Did you see this comment from the rat-eared wonder?

“Today the flak jacket is officially passed to a new generation,”

As if this adoring media has been throwing grenades at Comrade Jay.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Poor Baghdad Bob III Chili Con Carney Jay…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 30, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Rush should start a “draft Michelle” campaign Similar to operation chaos and really drag her medical facility administration experience into the sunlight. I mean she’s doing such a bang up job with the school lunch program isn’t she?

Harbingeing on May 30, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Well, she did institute that patient dumping thing for the hospital in Chicago, so she’s got hospital administrative experience.

Ward Cleaver on May 30, 2014 at 2:35 PM

The VA has a history of corruption and inefficiency that predates its birth!

The original agency, the “Veterans’ Bureau” after WWI, was so corrupt we just killed it off after a few years. But the new VA was almost doomed from the start when the first administrator brought in to run it was the last guy from the VB.

Even General Omar Bradley couldn’t straighten it out.

With all the doctors and nurses from the war, perhaps it made sense to set up a separate system at the time, but it was never going to be efficient.

And it is run by managers so corrupt that they falsify vets’ wait times so they can steal millions of dollars in bonuses they did not earn. These people don’t just need to be fired, they must be JAILED.

Close the VA, give vets fed employee insurance, and pay all their deductibles and co-pays. It will be easier and cheaper than the VA and vets will get better care from the doctors and hospitals of their choice, not from a substandard parallel system.

Adjoran on May 30, 2014 at 2:39 PM

First requirement for anyone to take the job, -the ability to fire people. Democratics will never give in on that, so the VA can’t be fixed.

slickwillie2001 on May 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Close the VA, give vets fed employee insurance, and pay all their deductibles and co-pays. It will be easier and cheaper than the VA and vets will get better care from the doctors and hospitals of their choice, not from a substandard parallel system.

Adjoran on May 30, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Probably the way to go, with the exception of keeping open some key recovery centers for traumatic injury.

talkingpoints on May 30, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Would someone explain to me, seriously – no kidding – just exactly how We the People allow some of our fellow citizens to have cushy jobs with high salaries, do really poor work, embezzle, lie, and cheat – but they can never be terminated/fired? How did that actually happen?

HomeoftheBrave on May 30, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Started with Civil Service, to protect lower-level government employees from being fired just for being members of the “wrong” political party, when the top-level appointees changed from one administration to another and set out to put their cronies in government jobs, many of which were sinecures, but some were actually essential.
I think the Post Office was one of the primary instigators and beneficiaries, as it really was inefficient to change Post Masters every couple of years in every town in America. (Probably more accurate info in Wikipedia, but I haven’t looked.)

Like all well-intentioned regulations, there were not any safeguards for deterioration and corruption, because the legislators seldom envision any circumstances except the ones they are looking directly at as a “problem to be solved” and just can’t imagine anyone would want to twist a regulation to do something other than that which it was clearly intended for!

And instituting public sector unions didn’t help.

AesopFan on May 30, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Actually, I think we should give Government Employees a choice: they can work under Civil Service regs, or under Union contracts, BUT NOT BOTH.

AesopFan on May 30, 2014 at 3:33 PM

sick to death of seeing this cultist considered for any public service.

Murphy9 on May 30, 2014 at 3:53 PM

OT: Why are the hot air trolls so dumb? There must be some smart liberals out there who want to jump into the comments and mix it up. If this is the best the dems have, we truly do live in idiocracy.

Timin203 on May 30, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Isn’t that the truth. Coolrunnings and Kochhead have to be the least intelligent I’ve seen in at least 5 years on here…and there have been some real winners.

But to be fair, Coolrunnings is showing typical liberal responses to situations…”magic sauce” was taxpayer money. Ergo, spend more money…’cause that’ll fix it!

USNCVN on May 30, 2014 at 4:08 PM

you guys blame the va problems in large part on ‘socialized medicine’ yet you want mitt romney, the grandfather of socialized medicine in the united states, to clean up the problem?

the mental disconnect is astounding.

although i guess you guys did pick the grandfather of obamacare to run against the father of obamacare, so it kind of makes sense in that light.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

You can stop offering proof that you’re an idiot. I was convinced long ago.

“You guys” consist of one man – Scarborough, a man certainly entitled to his opinion, but it certainly isn’t mine… or the majority of posters here, as far as I can tell from the comments.

307wolverine on May 30, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Yeah Romney take the job! Give the VA some of that magic sauce you spread on the Utah Winter Olympics.

Do it Romney! Do it! Do it!

coolrepublica on May 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Yet another pearl of retarded wisdom from coolpubica, sombebody start collecting them already.

jimver on May 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM

We are definitely in idiocracy just lpok at dome of the dumb conservative trolls on dailykos…and you see the syupid has pentrated the soul of this country on all sides

redyoshii on May 30, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Better idea for getting Romney to help Obama:

1) Obama fires Biden, and names Romney his VP
2) Obama resigns

VastRightWingConspirator on May 30, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Get Hillary to fix the VA.

Hillary claimed to be qualified to reform the entire U.S. healthcare system in the 1990′s. Let’s put her expertise to the test.

What? You don’t think she could do it? Then why the heck would she be qualified for an even bigger job, like the Presidency?

wren on May 30, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Yuval Levin makes a shrewd point here about potential resistance from powerful veterans’ groups if anyone tried to take a scalpel to the VA. That’s counterintuitive because veterans, when polled, are widely skeptical of the VA; fully 72 percent say that vets returning from combat get worse care there than they do outside the system.

[Yuval Levin makes a shrewd point here about potential resistance from powerful labor unions if anyone tried to take a scalpel to the NLRB. That’s counterintuitive because blue collar workers, when polled, are widely skeptical of the unions; fully 72 percent say that workers in mandatory union states get worse treatment there than they do in right-to-work states.]

Eh?

jbspry on May 30, 2014 at 6:19 PM

besides

I heard 80% of these employees are union

nothing will help

ploome on May 30, 2014 at 7:40 PM

There is no DemocRAT more like Obama in America. Perhaps he could correct his voter registration first.

Steveangell on May 31, 2014 at 12:20 AM

I had very little faith in Romney’s ability to turn America around and yet that was the basis on which his candidacy was sold.

If he can’t fix the VA – with a bipartisan mandate to do exactly that – then what hope is there for any Republican, anywhere, to turn the entire country around?

hamiltmc on May 31, 2014 at 12:42 AM

Romney, Powell, or anyone else will not be able to fix the VA like they would a private business. To so this you have to have the power to fire people on the spot and to have evidence of criminal activity aggressively prosecuted. You can’t fire a federal employee without months (year?) of administrative process. And don’t hold your breath for Holder to prosecute some other crooked Obama appointee.

The only way to clean things up is to turn the VA medical services over to the active military. I have seen how wonderful the military does with medical care. Use active duty and reserve personnel to staff the hospitals and clinics. Or just draft current VA personnel into the military and let them sort out what real accountability means.

bartbeast on May 31, 2014 at 9:48 AM

foolrepubica on May 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

ThisIsMyBrainOnMeth on May 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Damn, the bed-wetting trolls are all over this thread. I can almost smell the urine-soaked mattress aura wafting through my screen!

cableguy615 on May 31, 2014 at 3:45 PM