Quotes of the day

posted at 8:01 pm on May 30, 2014 by Allahpundit

There’s a well-worn Obama playbook: Let conservative critics burn hot, put off decisions during a fact-finding mission, quietly set up a procedure that starts to tackle the problems. Count on his allies on the Hill to have his back. And definitely, definitely don’t appear to be cowed into firing people.

Not this time.

This week saw Democrats, faced with evidence of the misconduct at VA health facilities and the political radioactivity of a scandal involving injured veterans, start rushing to get ahead of even Republicans calling for Shinseki to go, leaving the White House struggling to explain what the president was waiting for

For a White House used to dismissing scandals as partisan slime-slinging, this is new territory.

***

It was clear Eric Shinseki had to resign, oh… two weeks ago, wasn’t it? All the mitigating realities—that GOP congresses cut funding for Veterans Affairs, that the VA always has big problems, that it did other good things on his watch, and so on—may be true. But they don’t change the bottom-line fact that the scandal was real and horrible, and it was happening in the agency he ran.

I yearn for an America where people in positions of leadership actually take actual responsibility for their actual failures. This applies to Shinseki in the current case but also to our entire litigious ass-covering culture, both public and private sectors (the private sector is in fact far, far worse in this way; half the gonefs who sent the country into near-Depression are still making billions). Shinseki is an honorable patriot who’s been smeared unjustly in the past (more on that later). But here, he should have just stood up two weeks ago and said: “Yep, I did a bad job running the VA. I’m really sorry. It’s time for me to leave.”

And, of course, President Obama should have acted sooner. The only thing that the delay of the inevitable accomplished was to give Republicans two weeks in which to repeat and repeat and repeat the criticisms that he’s aloof and out of touch and that he doesn’t care about the military.

***

Despite long-running problems, the VA has fired a grand total of three senior executives for performance in the last five years—one-fourth the federal average for terminations. Last year, the Office of Personnel Management disclosed that about 0.47 percent of the federal workforce was terminated for cause, considerably below the 3 percent fired in the private sector. In 2011, USA Today reported that in at least 15 federal agencies, employees were more likely to die of natural causes than be terminated in any given year. It’s not uncommon for federal agencies that employ thousands of people to go an entire year without firing a single employee. Meanwhile, the average federal employee made $126,141 in pay and benefits in 2012, more than double the private sector average.

On an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 390-33, the House of Representatives passed legislation last week that would give the VA greater authority to fire or demote senior executives for performance. The additional firing flexibility would apply only to the top 360 supervisors out of more than 340,000 employees at the VA. Even so, the bill has been blocked in the Senate by Vermont’s Bernie Sanders. “Some of us are old-fashioned enough to know that maybe folks in the Senate might want to know what is in the bill before we voted on it,” he said. It’s much more likely that Sanders and allied Democrats are so influenced by donations from powerful federal employee unions that, even in face of fatal negligence, they are going to the mat for a few hundred employees out of a federal workforce of more than two million.

***

“This is a core competency question for the White House,” Cantor, the House majority leader, said in an interview with POLITICO Thursday. “And, as I have said before, this president seems to be in many areas in over his head. There are lots of issues of competency that are being raised right now about what’s going on in this government.”…

“I want to hear what the president has to say,” an irate Cantor said on Thursday. “This is a huge problem. One resignation — as I said before — 100 resignations may not solve the problem that we’re trying to get to for the millions of veterans. Where is the president? The buck stops at the president. Clearly Shinseki is not doing a good job, OK? It’s unacceptable what’s going on at the VA. Where’s the president on this? Why isn’t he taking ownership?”…

This isn’t all about politics. The House Republican leadership says they believe the problems at the VA are broad — one aide said they don’t know where their probe should even begin.

***

“I wish that the President had been more aggressive since minute one to go in and fix it himself, because what’s happened there is a disgrace,” Christie said in a brief interview on Friday, hours after Shinseki met with the President and stepped down from his post…

“More importantly than the resignation, he should be in rolling up his sleeves and trying to put a stop to it,” Christie said. “That’s more than just saying you’re angry and getting resignations.”

***

But the president is an executive, and executives manage. They set a tone, establish accountability, light fires, remind those to whom authority is delegated who’s boss. They set expectations and standards. “If you can’t cut it, you’re out.”

Mr. Obama has never seemed that interested in the management of government. It is completely believable that he read about the VA scandal in the newspapers, where he has learned of other administration scandals. It is believable he had no idea what was going on in a major, problem-plagued agency.

Making sure that things work doesn’t seem to be his conception of his job. Words are his job. He argues for a bill, the bill becomes a program, and someone else will make it work. He talks about health care for three years, it debuts with a terrible crash, and he’s shocked. Why didn’t it work? He told it to! His background was one of some privation, but as an executive he acts like a man who grew up with 10 maids. Let them do it, I’m too busy thinking.

Mr. Obama said, when he first ran for president in 2008, that the VA system was a mess and he’d clean it up. It has gotten worse under his watch. He must be shocked. He told it to get better! He said the words!

***

It is no surprise that, the day before he resigned, the VA’s General Shinseki conceded simultaneously that the problems at the Veterans Administration were national and systemic but that the best way to address them was to fire officials in the places that have made the news. That, after all, is the Obama way. If something goes wrong, it’s always the fault of a low-level official in a faraway town; of recalcitrant Republican legislators; or, more often than not, of unhinged ire based upon “phony” claims. Explaining to Chris Matthews what went wrong with the rollout of his health-care legislation, Obama suggested that the trouble was “not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization” but that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.” “Frankly,” the president continued, “there are a lot of members of Congress who are chairmen of a particular committee. And they don’t want necessarily consolidations where they would lose jurisdiction over certain aspects of certain policies.”

Even when he is attempting to apologize, Obama cannot help but to talk out of both sides of his mouth. “This is my administration,” he informed the press corps Friday. “I always take responsibility for whatever happens.” Then he immediately blamed others for what happened, noting acidly that the problem with the VA “predates my presidency.” One wonders at what point Obama expects to be judged. He expressly ran on a promise to fix the VA. He is now in the sixth year of his presidency. When might we look for the results?

The simple answer, it seems, is never. As he has from the very beginning, the president continues to conduct himself like a man standing outside the gates.

***

It’s certainly true that Obama is a poor manager. He isn’t interested in the nuts and bolts of policy implementation. He prefers to strike poses. He makes pronouncements such as this: “If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it. Period.” (You’d think by now he’d avoid the intensifier “period.”) As with his comments about the IRS scandal, and “If you like your doctor . . . ,” and Benghazi, and the Justice Department’s targeting of journalists, the important thing is to get the affect right, not to solve problems or take responsibility. It’s unacceptable and a disgrace and no one is angrier than he . . . and what’s on Game of Thrones tonight? Maybe he should pose for a photo holding a sign saying “#Manage Our Government.”

Even if Obama were the best manager in the world, the problems with efficient service delivery by government would continue — because the government is too large, too unwieldy, and too lacking in incentives for efficiency to yield much, if at all, to management. A business that fails to deliver services will be crushed by its competitors. Government can never go out of business.

***

Via the Corner.

***

Via the Free Beacon.

***

***


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 9 10 11

davidk on May 31, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Good’n.

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 6:35 PM

It’s scary here.

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 6:28 PM

steady old boy…steady…
and perhaps some ear buds and tunes…

going2mars on May 31, 2014 at 6:38 PM

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Do I have to choose.

and perhaps some ear buds and tunes…

going2mars on May 31, 2014 at 6:38 PM

They laughed at my big old Koss headphones and Foghat 8-tracks.

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 6:49 PM

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 6:49 PM

soon they will be looking for a Museum to send us to..
darn ankle biters..

do you keep a bottle in your shop?..
there is always liquid adult attitude adjustment..

going2mars on May 31, 2014 at 6:59 PM

do you keep a bottle in your shop?..

going2mars on May 31, 2014 at 6:59 PM

What a silly question. But mrs. cozmo won the coin toss.

The thing that bothers me most is that its Saturday and I have to… wear pants.

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 7:02 PM

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 7:02 PM

not the dreaded pantalones..??
the world is just not right sometimes..

going2mars on May 31, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Why monkey around with opening yourself up to it whether in jest or on purpose?

Murphy9 on May 31, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I would not deny that a potential for danger exists. But none of us opened ourselves up, besides the friend I mentioned. And he easily rid himself of the spirit a few hours later, through prayer.

That a friend actually INVITED a spirit to enter him is majorly bad news, especially for a Christian.
That the Bible specifically warns against it means that is serious stuff.
If/when the ouija board is utilized for that purpose, you can expect that unclean spirits are awaiting for those invitations, and will gleefully grant those requests.
I suspect the friend encountered such a reality.

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 3:17 PM

I agree that certain, but not all, utilizations of Ouija boards are unwise. Christians are told to test the spirits. I don’t believe Christians can ever be spiritually afflicted by such entities. My friend was never in danger from harm that way. But physically or emotionally? Yes, I believe a Christian could have trouble.

I’ll add that I don’t believe the spirit my friend invited in was unclean. He said she said she had died, was clinging to this realm, and was afraid to enter the light. He helped her over. I don’t pretend to understand all that took place. I am only reporting what I saw happen.

He looked and acted very strange for those few hours. For example, he answered every question I asked him in a bipolar fashion. I asked him how he felt. He said, “Cold, and hot,” “Tired, and awake,” “Hungry, and not hungry,” etc. He looked like he was in a trance, and had a half-smile. It really was bizarre lol

non-nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 7:08 PM

I’ll add that I don’t believe the spirit my friend invited in was unclean. He said she said she had died, was clinging to this realm, and was afraid to enter the light. He helped her over. I don’t pretend to understand all that took place.
non-nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 7:08 PM

So that’s how the friend described what that spirit was up to, then ?
Is that what you mean ?

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 7:15 PM

So that’s how the friend described what that spirit was up to, then ?
Is that what you mean ?

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Yes. When he prayed about it, he said he saw her “enter the light,” and then he returned to normal. That happened a few hours after he invited her in.

Before that, the entity, who called herself Mary, said via the Ouija board she didn’t want to leave him, that she loved him. It was at that point my friend started getting nervous about what was going on.

non-nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 7:27 PM

non-nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Ok, thanks.
Since I can’t find a single scripture to support the concept of having ‘helped her over, or entering the light’
it’s obvious that any spirit who’d entered him is to be considered unclean… Consider his behavior.
Consider it ‘white witchcraft’ if necessary (well known as ‘benevolent’, non-threatening) .. But still witchcraft.
Not cool.
Hopefully fully delivered.
Perhaps he’ll use the experience to warn others.

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Another:

I know many people who thought Ouija boards were harmless fun and got more than they bargained for. In my experience, dabbling in such phenomena seems to open a doorway to all sorts of experiences, even alleged alien abductions as I showed in my book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection (AI). Also read Aliens, evolution and the occult. I don’t accept that fallen angels can have future knowledge. In AI I showed how alleged aliens make tons of future predictions with many of them being biblically based. That way they have a good chance of getting some correct because obviously God is the only one who can know the future. I’ve found that like Nostradamus, they can make a basket-load of predictions and human nature will tend to be impressed on the one or two that might come true and forget about the many that did not come true. Remember that these entities (fallen angels) obviously interact in our realm with us and others, and therefore can interfere and affect our world and the individuals in it—the Bible is full of examples of this. A simply analogy might be “I am going to predict that Fred trips over in the next 30 minutes.” So I wait for an opportunity to conspire and develop a mechanism to go and trip Fred up and my prediction comes true. It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy. I have a colleague who’s extended family had some interaction with entities they thought were deceased ghostly spirits. They received a prediction that my colleague would die in a car accident in their teens as another relative had done. This did not happen because my colleague is alive and well and a grown adult. But as one can imagine, such an horrific prediction—speaking over one’s life in such a manner—would be awful and potentially affect the way one might live your life. Fortunately, my colleague became a Christian and dismissed this prophecy as their understanding of the demonic source grew.

ibid.

davidk on May 31, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Okay y’all, enough with the dang Ouija boards. Smart people know they are fake.

If you want to debate the real stuff:

Sasquatch are watchdogs for space aliens visiting earth looking for tasty things to eat. Their spaceships look like Nessie.

I could go on, but I’ve given enough away already.

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 7:53 PM

A word for a cryptid gets moderated, really?

Okay y’all, enough with the dang Ouija boards. Smart people know they are fake.

If you want to debate the real stuff:

S________ (ape-like creatures) are watchdogs for space aliens visiting earth looking for tasty things to eat. Their spaceships look like Nessie.

I could go on, but I’ve given enough away already.

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 7:55 PM

S________ (ape-like creatures) are watchdogs for space aliens visiting earth looking for tasty things to eat. Their spaceships look like Nessie.

I could go on, but I’ve given enough away already.

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 7:55 PM

HA commenter Alien will be by later to explain.

***********

Vidoe: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/05/31/Sarah-Palin-No-More-Fundamental-Transformation-Time-For-Fundamental-Restoration

davidk on May 31, 2014 at 7:59 PM

going2mars on May 31, 2014 at 5:53 PM

The aerospace guys who stuck around here got into electronic games and digital visual effects for film and tv. And then there was SpaceX.

going2mars on May 31, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Yup, CA-33. Funny, I always think of his district as Beverly Hills, but that’s merely the rump of his domain. Money, money, money.

de rigueur on May 31, 2014 at 8:01 PM

Bazinga:

“It’s not a dichotomy — it’s not like black and white between having boots on the ground versus doing nothing,” Hirsi Ali said. “Remember apartheid — we stopped it through writing books, writing, through songs, through trade boycotts, through diplomacy. We were united as a — just not America but the West and all moral countries to say it is unacceptable to divide humanity to blacks and whites and what are we seeing with Sharia? We’re seeing it in Brunei. We’re seeing it in Sudan. We know it in our lives, Saudi Arabia and others. On grounds of, you know … we are not taking the positions, the moral positions that we need to and we’re not fighting that moral positions with the tools we have.”

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/05/31/Ayaan-Hirsi-Ali-Questions-Why-America-the-West-Can-Unite-Against-Apartheid-But-Not-Sharia

davidk on May 31, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Ok, thanks.
Since I can’t find a single scripture to support the concept of having ‘helped her over, or entering the light’
it’s obvious that any spirit who’d entered him is to be considered unclean… Consider his behavior.
Consider it ‘white witchcraft’ if necessary (well known as ‘benevolent’, non-threatening) .. But still witchcraft.
Not cool.
Hopefully fully delivered.
Perhaps he’ll use the experience to warn others.

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 7:35 PM

My friend immediately returned to normal after he prayed. We never used the Ouija board after that. He, not I, lost interest lol

I don’t know the spirit world enough to understand all that goes on there. I’m pretty convinced that no one else on Earth does either. I know it exists, having had more than one experience with it which has significantly affected my life. More, much more, is going on around us than people who are doggedly stuck in their expectations realize. =)

non-nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 8:15 PM

I don’t know the spirit world enough to understand all that goes on there.
non-nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Helpful hint, stay away from tequila. That is a very evil spirit.

cozmo on May 31, 2014 at 8:17 PM

…just got in from St. Augustine, Florida.
….guess I should apologize for using the term “b!tch”…guess I should have used the term “boob?”…nothing else was un-toward…or untruthful.
There!

KOOLAID2 on June 1, 2014 at 4:53 AM

Please, let’s all try to be kinder to one another. Kinder at least to people who appear to be commenting sincerely.

bluegill on May 31, 2014 at 2:19 AM

.
…shud-up you brain-less (expletive)/scaly sanctimonious (redacted)…!!!…go hold your breath until you pass out!

KOOLAID2 on May 31, 2014 at 6:33 AM
.

Have my disagreements with bluegill as well, but WOW…

listens2glenn on May 31, 2014 at 7:39 AM

.
That comment was un-called for!

annoyinglittletwerp on May 31, 2014 at 8:01 AM
.

…she rolled several people under the bus here a week or so ago…she is like JugEars…says one thing…and does another most of the time…because it has a normal brain phart or the meds are working chemically correct on rare occasions…doesn’t mean the truth is not …un-called for!

KOOLAID2 on May 31, 2014 at 8:18 AM

.
…just got in from St. Augustine, Florida.
….guess I should apologize for using the term (expletive)…guess I should have used the term “boob?”…nothing else was un-toward…or untruthful.

There!

KOOLAID2 on June 1, 2014 at 4:53 AM

.
I’d settle for; “Hey, fishy ! . . . . . Can you stop being so contrary, for five minutes? Is that asking too much?”

Or maybe; “Hey bass-food ! . . . . . try practicing what yer preachin’, there.”

listens2glenn on June 1, 2014 at 9:50 AM

listens2glenn on June 1, 2014 at 9:50 AM

…have tried before l2g…she doesn’t understand English…have to speak in freak fish language.

KOOLAID2 on June 1, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Comment pages: 1 9 10 11