Could Eric Shinseki be out at the VA as early as today, perhaps in time for a Friday-afternoon news dump on a long weekend meant to honor those who died in military service? A CNN panel hosted by John King certainly thinks it’s a possibility. King wonders how this “fight in the family” will impact Democratic turnout in the midterms, exemplified from calls by Democrats running in November for his ouster — now including Charlie Crist in Florida:
Noah Rothman noted the exchange as well:
CNN anchor John King began by noting that both Republicans and Democrats are coming out and calling for Shinseki to resign. King noted that this “fight in the family” could depress Democratic turnout in the midterm elections.
“If you feel you have to run from your White House in a campaign year, you might have to do it –- tactically and strategically –- but it can’t help you,” King said.
Politico’s Maggie Haberman agreed but noted that it was easier for Democrats who need to create distance from President Barack Obama to use the VA scandal to achieve that rather than the Affordable Care Act.
She later added that she would not be surprised if the White House announced Shinseki’s firing late on Friday so that the news is buried over a holiday weekend.
The White House wanted the personnel story this weekend to be the appointment of Julian Castro to run HUD, not a vigil on Shinseki’s incompetence at the VA. The problem for Barack Obama and the White House is that the outrage over the VA scandal is playing out exactly as it did in 2007-8, when Obama and then Shinseki promised to do something about long wait times and bureaucratic bungling and cover-ups. It’s gone bipartisan, and while we scoff at Charlie Crist as a naked opportunist, the very fact that this naked opportunist has seized on the VA scandal should be a huge red flag at the White House. Crist certainly qualifies as a weathervane in this storm.
According to WMUR, the other problem is that Shinseki’s support even among those sticking with the Obama administration line is hardly enthusiastic:
Will Shinseki go today? The ripe moment was actually on Wednesday, when Obama called a presser to inexplicably give Shinseki a qualified vote of confidence. It’s true, as Haberman says, that a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend would be a propitious opportunity to jettison an embarrassment with as little media scrutiny as possible — but it’s probably too soon after Obama’s embrace of Shinseki 48 hours ago. This albatross will probably hang around Democratic necks for at least another week, if not longer.