(Washington, DC) – The onslaught against the Obama administration continued today, as the president sustained two more casualties in his inner circle.
Facing mounting pressure and outrage over VAgate – the mishandling of medical treatment for veterans at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Arizona – Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric Shinseki, a former four-star Army general, resigned.
At the Phoenix facility, at least 40 veterans died while waiting for medical appointments. The average wait time for an appointment: 115 days. Additionally, VA employees – some in upper management positions – covered up the extent of their failures to everyone, including Shinseki.
Many are blaming Republicans for conducting another anti-Obama witch hunt – put simply, whatever Obama supports, Republicans don’t.
But Republican leaders never called for Shinseki to resign.
“It’s pretty clear they [Republican leaders in Congress] wanted Shinseki to stay,” said a Democratic strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The 2014 elections are just around the corner, and they’re running out of ammunition. They know the Affordable Care Act [also known as Obamacare] isn’t going away. They know the country now sees them as the reason for the Federal government shutdown in October. They know the country now sees them as the main obstacle for getting things done in Washington. So they need something they can rally around to oppose – something that doesn’t require 50 useless votes. Shinseki was the ticket.
“It’s funny how today’s members of Congress wanted Shinseki’s head. And they certainly have a point; what’s gone on at the VA is disgusting, reprehensible, and unacceptable. But do you want to know what else is disgusting, reprehensible, and unacceptable? Sending soldiers into combat without the proper gear. That’s what Congress did in 2003 when it agreed to invade Iraq. Humvees without the proper armor. Body armor that wasn’t sufficient. And a shortage of tools that forced soldiers’ relatives to mail packages of screwdrivers, wrenches, and other items so they could maintain their vehicles and equipment. Where’s the investigation and outrage about that?”
Just hours after accepting Shinseki’s resignation, Obama announced that his trusty spokesman, Jay Carney, would leave in the coming weeks.
“Jay had a way of not answering reporters’ questions that was simply poetic,” said an Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “No one could obfuscate like Jay – at least, not since Ari Fleischer [press secretary for George W. Bush]. Hopefully we’ll find someone else who’s almost as good as not telling the full story or the truth.”
These resignations come on the heels of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation earlier this year. The culprit: the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s (also known as Obamacare) Web site in October.
Some Democrats are now privately wondering which Federal agency – or employee – might next find themselves in the center of a media firestorm, necessitating a fight for their political life or a hasty resignation.
“In spite of our best efforts, it looks like this country will be governed by a Kenyan until 2017,” said a Republican strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “So the only recourse is to undo his political appointments. There are over a dozen Cabinet-level secretaries in the Obama administration. For the next 31 months, it should be our goal to unseat each and every one of them. That’s what average, ordinary, everyday Americans really want from Congress.”