Sorry, Mr. President. You don’t get credit for Shinseki resigning

posted at 10:01 am on May 31, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Ed covered the breaking news yesterday, as the compassionate Feeler in Chief accepted the resignation of embattled VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki with considerable regret. But even as I read Ed’s coverage of the breaking news, one point in particular stood out to me.

“We’ve got to deal with Congress,” Obama said to explain that Shinseki would likely be distracted by Congressional demands for his resignation. This is the same Congress that increased the VA budget by 78% over the past six budget cycles. Shinseki was also “offended” that bad news didn’t get to him fast enough, Obama said, and used the passive voice to explain that “the structures didn’t exist” to deliver it. Er, Shinseki was in charge for more than five years. Whose fault was that?

Yes.. whose fault was that, exactly? Ed’s comments brought into focus one of the key quotes from Obama’s remarks. (Emphasis mine)

Speaking after a meeting with Shinseki at the White House, Obama said Shinseki had offered him his resignation.

With considerable regret, I accepted,” Obama said. “We don’t have time for distractions,” he added. “We need to fix the problem.”

More than anything, this reminded me of the opposite of the West Wing episode, “Here Today” when Toby, having been caught betraying the nation, comes to offer his resignation to the president.

TOBY: Sir, I’ve drawn up a letter of resignation.

BARTLET: What is that, the third one? Rip it up.

TOBY: Sir?

BARTLET: I can’t accept your resignation. I have to fire you. For cause.

The one thing that would have improved that scene is if Bartlet had said, “Your ass is fired.”

The President is not without fault in all of this mess because, much like a ship at sea, the Captain is always responsible if they slam into an iceberg whether he’s on the bridge at the time or not. But the direct line of fault lies with Shinseki. Not during his first few months in office, mind you, because you’ve got to let a guy (or gal) get their feet under the table before they can really dig in. But after this much time, the period of forgiveness for not finding and fixing obscene, major problems has long since passed. And if Barack Obama wanted to have any credibility in cleaning up this mess he would not only be actively working on a long term fix for the problem, but he would have taken a page from Bartlet’s book and refused this resignation. He would have fired him in a very public fashion, and well before this.

No, President Obama. You get no credit for this. You allowed yet another villain in this tragic play to slither off into retirement, much as you did with Lois Lerner. And if you only accept their resignation with regret, then that means you wish they were still there. And it only logically follows that if you accept them and wish they hadn’t left, then you accept the full responsibility for the actions of your minions. You didn’t have the spine to put the culpible up against the wall, so now you can stand there in their place. So for the VA scandal, you can – as the cops in The Wire were fond of saying – eat the whole meal yourself.


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He gets credit for the VA being a mess?

Evi L. Bloggerlady on May 31, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Was there an awkward hug with Shinseki too?

Evi L. Bloggerlady on May 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Keep it simple.

No credit for Obama. Ever.

Obama cannot do one thing right.

Obama = Evil.

Ned Pepper on May 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I think what you meant to say was that preznit obreezy doesn’t give himself enough credit for Ric’s resignation, or something to that effect.

cornbred on May 31, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Another point that seems to be missing here is the alleged outreach by Michelle Obama and Doctor Jill – during those visits, do you think any of the military husbands and wives had anything to say about the VA? No? Really?

The Obama’s are nothing but a couple of entitled hucksters and they’re both frauds.

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 10:20 AM

You guys don’t get it.
Oboozeo has drained the swamp of VA!
Peace in Our Time!

Tard on May 31, 2014 at 10:21 AM

The highest military rank is Full Colonel. A General Officer is by act of Congress and and remains an active General with all Pay and entitlements to include personal aids for life, unless he resigns his commission.
For all of VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki incompetence he will have to learn to live on nearly a quarter of a Million dollars a year of pay and entitlements for the rest of his life. Let us not forget that he will also receive free medical care at any VA hospital of his making.
Ain’t our Government grand.

jpcpt03 on May 31, 2014 at 10:27 AM

That’s the end of hearing about the VA mess.

albill on May 31, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Ned Pepper on May 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I think, the word you are looking for is incompetent. You’re welcome.

Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?

Fallon on May 31, 2014 at 10:28 AM

“Mr. President, We the People accept your resignation, without regret…”

vnvet on May 31, 2014 at 10:29 AM

What possible excuse could the president have for not firing him when the depth of this travesty first became known? It’s mind boggling.

scalleywag on May 31, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Keep it simple.

No credit for Obama. Ever.

Obama cannot do one thing right.

Obama = Evil.

Ned Pepper on May 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I’ll play Ned. Just what has your Obamassiah done well? Your Fearless Leader campaigned on the VA mess. He was going to clean it up. As a manager did he ever check back on the progress or lack of it? The Chosen One had no problem blaming Bush. Now King Barack is without sin?

Ned, anyone ever tell you that your full of bullshit?

GarandFan on May 31, 2014 at 10:37 AM

scalleywag on May 31, 2014 at 10:36 AM

I guess the excuse is that THAT is what a LEADER would have done.
He’s not even close.

pambi on May 31, 2014 at 10:41 AM

This is so typical of this incompetent president. He never fires anyone for cause although almost everyone of his cabinet level positions have been incompetent and have failed in their primary mission. Can anyone name one single successful cabinet level post that has been successful besides Robert Gates? And even Gates needs an asterisk after his name for not resigning for cause. This is the Peter principle on steroids! Not only are the incompetent promoted they are then rewarded with accolades after they leave by Mr. Peter himself!

inspectorudy on May 31, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Another one falls on his sword for Obama.
It did/does not matter if Shinseki stayed or left, resigned or got fired.
What DOES matter is that O is never left looking accountable, responsible, culpable, or otherwise having his fingerprints on anything that could make him look accountable,responsible or culpable. Then he deftly insinuates that someone/something else is at fault, in this case, Congress.
The Limbaugh Theory in action.

leftamark on May 31, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Jazz, you are on target with your article but I think you miss Obama’s true intention of his “regret” at accepting someone’s resignation. What he is communicating to the public is that his administration has done nothing wrong, that he himself is not to blame and if it were up to him he would let things play out and fix themselves… except this person has resigned so therefore Obama “regrets” it.

xdwall on May 31, 2014 at 10:51 AM

I’m going to swim against the stream a bit and say two things:

1. He’s a true military hero, seriously injured in Vietnam and one of the few who correctly questioned our boondoggle in Iraq. I don’t begrudge him a generous retirement.

2. I don’t blame Shinseki for the VA debacle. Fixing it would require some things that do not exist in Washington: The will to tear down an entire bureaucratic edifice and culture, to empower leaders in the newly created institution to hire and fire people, and to hold people accountable for results which they actually have the power to alter.

I don’t think the VA can be reformed. It has to be destroyed and replaced.

xNavigator on May 31, 2014 at 10:55 AM

leftamark on May 31, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Well, when BooRock finally becomes president maybe then he can take some action like Cap’n KickAzz(tm)

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 10:57 AM

I don’t think the VA can be reformed. It has to be destroyed and replaced.

xNavigator on May 31, 2014 at 10:55 AM

2008-09, President Obama proposed in his “Obama-Biden” plan to “make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible”

But The One said he was going to do it….
and no one questioned…
‘Cause he was a community organizer….
And that crease in his pants…….just spews leadership…

Electrongod on May 31, 2014 at 11:03 AM

OMG, Really?

/heh

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Well, when BooRock finally becomes president king maybe then he can take some action like Cap’n KickAzz(tm)

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 10:57 AM

leftamark on May 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM

l play Ned. Just what has your Obamassiah done well? Your Fearless Leader campaigned on the VA mess. He was going to clean it up. As a manager did he ever check back on the progress or lack of it? The Chosen One had no problem blaming Bush. Now King Barack is without sin? Ned, anyone ever tell you that your full of bullshit? GarandFan on May 31, 2014 at 10:37 AM

GM is alive,, recalls and all,, and bin laden is dead.

wolly4321 on May 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM

“We need to fix the problem.”

The last 5 years was just spent making it worse?

formwiz on May 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Ned Pepper on May 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Why not? That playbook worked well for you against Bush.

It also has the virtue of being true with Obama, where it wasn’t with Bush.

Buck Farky on May 31, 2014 at 11:12 AM

GM is alive,, recalls and all,, and bin laden is dead.

wolly4321 on May 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Where’s the corpse, man?

/

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 11:13 AM

“We need to fix the problem.”

The last 5 years was just spent making it worse?

formwiz on May 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM

The Obama Doctrine: Let’s blow it all up and then “fix” it.

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 11:14 AM

It won’t be Obama’s fault until something goes right.

Ergo, it will never be Obama’s fault. King Barky the Incompetent has been an outsider with no power during his 5.5 years of his regime. He’d have gotten away with it to if not for those darn dying veterans.

jukin3 on May 31, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Keep it simple.

No credit for Obama. Ever.

Obama cannot do one thing right.

Obama = Evil.

Ned Pepper on May 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I’ll play Ned. Just what has your Obamassiah done well? Your Fearless Leader campaigned on the VA mess. He was going to clean it up. As a manager did he ever check back on the progress or lack of it? The Chosen One had no problem blaming Bush. Now King Barack is without sin?

Ned, anyone ever tell you that your full of bullshit?

GarandFan on May 31, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Wait…aren’t these posts in agreement?
Help a HotAir brother out, please.

22044 on May 31, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Jazz, how dare you malign a veteran like that?

Shinseki served our country heroically, did you?

nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

I don’t think the VA can be reformed. It has to be destroyed and replaced. – xNavigator on May 31, 2014 at 10:55 AM

As satisfying as that might seem to be, not only is that politically impossible, it is also technically/legally impossible – unless you really start from scratch.

Starting from scratch would mean starting with zero records, no one in the beds or examination rooms, no one on payroll, no buildings, contracts, debts, obligations of any sort.

In the meantime, what do you do with the millions of displaced veterans, and what do you do with all of the aforementioned?

The problem is far worse. A foundation that has taken generations to pour and solidify – and that is the rejection of the ol’ Protestant Work Ethic. All of the people in government have jobs not vocations. There is a vast chasm between looking at your occupation as a job or vocation.

When a person views what they do each day as filler between paycheques, that person will always try to minimize the filler and maximize the paycheque.

As a vocation, people are literally “called” to the role, and see fulfilling the role the prime objective in honor to the one that called the person to that role. The compensation package is a reward for a job well done.

Our culture has largely rejected the idea of vocation and will cut whatever corners, cheat whenever its possible to maximize the payout for the absolute minimum amount of honest effort.

Reuben Hick on May 31, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Shinseki only gets fired if Obama had caught him supporting some sort of Republican program or saying nice things about some high-profile conservative. Nothing else he did in connection with the VA scandal would have lit enough of a fire under Obama to get him out of his beta-male personality (i.e. — He was probably madder on Friday that Michael Strahan sacked him with that VA question on live TV than he was over the entire VA scandal).

jon1979 on May 31, 2014 at 11:34 AM

GM is alive,, recalls and all,, and bin laden is dead.

wolly4321 on May 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM

… at the expense of the billions of dollars lost by the tax payers, creditors, stock and bond holders for the former, and the exchange of the actual lives of Seal Team Six for the unsubstantiated rumor that bin Laden is actually dead.

Reuben Hick on May 31, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Why would Obama ‘regret’ the resignation for someone responsible for the negligent murders of 40+ veterans?

faraway on May 31, 2014 at 11:37 AM

one point in particular stood out to me

The point in particular that stood out to me is that nothing resembling a plan, a set of actions, a timetable, or a system of follow-ups was announced by either the White House or the VA. Nor did the media demand any more than to bask in the presence of Obama.

The best report/column written yesterday was by Kim Strassel at the WSJ describing the Government Employee unions in the VA system and how the unions will function as a major obstacle to “accountability” and reform.

Obama’s firing of Shinseki appears to be just more lies.

pilsener on May 31, 2014 at 11:46 AM

…the compassionate Feeler in Chief…

So that’s what was going on during that mega-awkward hug with Carney!

KS Rex on May 31, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Why would Obama ‘regret’ the resignation for someone responsible for the negligent murders of 40+ veterans?

faraway on May 31, 2014 at 11:37 AM

I don’t think the term “negligent” is applicable here. A better term might be malfeasance or criminal negligence since the waiting lists were willingly and knowingly altered.

Shinseki should be jailed along with Obama as CiC

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Shinseki served our country heroically, did you?

nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

By killing his fellow veterans?

/Only in the mind of a liberal, folks… The stupid is thick with this one.

Key West Reader on May 31, 2014 at 12:14 PM

nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

I did, did you?
gfy you racist

dmacleo on May 31, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Jazz, how dare you malign a veteran like that?

Shinseki served our country heroically, did you?

nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

nobody seems to care. he is now the official sacrifical lamb.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 12:48 PM

nobody seems to care. he is now the official sacrifical lamb.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Who sacrificed the lamb?
And for whose sins did this lamb atone?

If you are going to [ab]use the metaphor, at least identify the key roles typified.

Reuben Hick on May 31, 2014 at 1:02 PM

I give Obama some cr4edit. I don’t believe Shinseki would have resigned had he not been pushed out the door, simply because he now leaves a legacy of total failure and of, at least, enabling 40 veteran deaths and of causing thousands more to suffer grief, pain and anguish.Worse yet, he now has no chance to make amends (albeit, I suspect, he lacks the ability to do so.)

MaiDee on May 31, 2014 at 1:04 PM

I imagine the White House gang figures that now the whole thing will go away and they are probably right. People have an attention span of about 5 minutes and if you don’t have a victimized veteran in your family you will just move on. Where are the pickets. There used to be gangs of demonstrators picketing the things they don’t approve of. Now all we see are rent-a-demonstrators paid by marxist groups.

crankyoldlady on May 31, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Jazz: you’ve put a lot of thought & effort into this article & the analysis behind it all. Though Obama seems to like to think that he’s the smartest guy in any room, I doubt seriously that he’s invested this much time, effort, and / or brain power into this incident. Or any other.

Very good article.

majorzot on May 31, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Jazz, how dare you malign a veteran like that?

Shinseki served our country heroically, did you?

nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Benedict Arnold did. To know, going in, the horrific conditions your fellow vets were facing, and then, for 5 years, to do nothing except watch them die is pretty traitorous in itself.

de rigueur on May 31, 2014 at 1:32 PM

so now shinsenki = benedict arnold? awesome.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Shinseki served our country heroically, did you?

nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Adolf Hitler served in the military also.

What is it with the Left? There is this ledger where good deeds are one side and bad deeds are on the other, and if you did enough good deeds, serial homicide is acceptable?

The Left’s Unpardonable Sin: “Being Conservative” = “Eternal Damnation”

Reuben Hick on May 31, 2014 at 1:37 PM

and now shinsenki = hitler? even awesomer.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Jazz, how dare you malign a veteran like that?

Shinseki served our country heroically, did you?

nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM
nobody seems to care. he is now the official sacrifical lamb.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Not surprisingly, you totally misunderstand who was sacrificed here. It was not Shinseki’s blood that was spilled, but that of dozens of innocent veterans. Shinseki won’t lose a damn dime or a day of his splendid retirement.

Those veterans on Shinseki’s wait-lists are dead. D.E.A.D. Not metaphorically but actually, with widows and children left behind to weep.

Had Shinseki closed his eyes and driven a tank over these poor guys, they would be just as dead, Shinseki would be just as culpable and you probably wouldn’t be bleating “how dare you?”

Dolce Far Niente on May 31, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Jazz, how dare you malign a veteran like that? Shinseki served our country heroically, did you?
nonpartisan on May 31, 2014 at 11:31 AM

nobody seems to care. he is now the official sacrifical lamb.
ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 12:48 PM

How dare two non vets call him a hero when they don’t even understand the term

Nobrains and Cokebrain,

Name one heroic thing that he did?

Now name one good thing that he ever did to leave the army in better shape than he found it?

Contrast the above with one good thing he did for the va. Getting a 78% increase in budget under his term is nothing compared to the 2000% increase in wait time and abuses of vets under his ter.

We’ll wait for a response to any of the above but not holding our breath. Pissant.

AH_C on May 31, 2014 at 1:52 PM

and now shinsenki = hitler? even awesomer.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 1:40 PM

While I know that you don’t have the intellectual firepower to recognize that the reference was a Reductio ad absurdum argument that military service isn’t a permanent get-out-of-jail free card, I should have known that the few active synapses firing in your head can only associate Hitler with George W Bush.

Reuben Hick on May 31, 2014 at 1:58 PM

While I know that you don’t have the intellectual firepower to recognize that the reference was a Reductio ad absurdum argument that military service isn’t a permanent get-out-of-jail free card, I should have known that the few active synapses firing in your head can only associate Hitler with George W Bush.

Reuben Hick on May 31, 2014 at 1:58 PM

“Heh, you said Hitler. I win!”

KochForBrains

Dolce Far Niente on May 31, 2014 at 2:03 PM

so now shinsenki = benedict arnold? awesome.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on May 31, 2014 at 1:33 PM

You should hear what the families of the dead for whom he is directly responsible call him. But let’s not quibble: uncaring, unresponsive, affectless, deceitful, incompetent, and betrayer of his trust will do. That’s his legacy, and it’s all going to stick. Awesome.

de rigueur on May 31, 2014 at 2:07 PM

1920: Comrade, our people are starving. The Orgburo is failing.
Well Comrade, fire the secretariat and send him to Gulag.

1940: Comrade, our people are starving. The Orgburo is failing.
Well Comrade, fire the secretariat and send him to Gulag.

1960: Comrade, our people are starving. The Orgburo is failing.
Well Comrade, fire the secretariat and send him to Gulag.

1980: Comrade, our people are starving. The Orgburo is failing.
Well Comrade, fire the secretariat and send him to Gulag.

2014 America:

Sir, our veterans are dying. The VA is failing.
Well Comrade, fire the Secretary and send him out to pasture.

swamp_yankee on May 31, 2014 at 2:55 PM

At this very moment, is Obama rolling up his sleeves, meeting with his staff, trying to figure out where to begin to fix this fiasco?

Or is he on the golf course or headed to a fund raiser?

Americans are very, very angry over this.

MichaelGabriel on May 31, 2014 at 3:25 PM

I expect Shinseki will get another award for service, but this time from the DNC, for killing off a hundred or so likely Republican voters.

slickwillie2001 on May 31, 2014 at 3:59 PM

TO BE FAIR:
If OBOZO gets “credit” for VET-KILLER shinseki’s resignation, then he should ALSO get credit every time I FLUSH MY TOILET.

MicahStone on May 31, 2014 at 4:16 PM

The real question following the Shinseki resignation is this:

Will President Obama Be Able to Mend Fences With Veterans?

The graphic will make you laugh (or cry).

PunditPete on June 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I’m going to swim against the stream a bit and say two things:
xNavigator on May 31, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Thanks for the lesson. You are correct. His service in the military is one thing and should be kept separate from the problems in the VA. Bringing up the other point of view and swimming against the stream is what Hot Air is all about.

jpcpt03 on June 1, 2014 at 12:22 PM