(Washington DC) – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been in disarray for months, buried in scandal and charged with making veterans wait so long for appointments they actually died waiting.
Who better to clean up this mess than a former executive familiar with cleaning products?
On May 30, facing mounting pressure and outrage over VAgate – the mishandling of medical treatment for veterans at a VA facility in Arizona – Secretary of Veterans Affairs 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.
But now the VA may have a fresh, clean look with President Obama’s (D-IL/Kenya) nominee: Bob McDonald, former chief executive of Procter & Gamble.
“We feel this is bold move President Obama is making today,” said a White House spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “With Bob McDonald’s confirmation, a new day will dawn on the Department of Veterans Affairs. Yes, the tide is definitely turning.”
But Senate confirmation may not be so easy, as Republicans may want to – once again – turn a routine procedure into a circus in order to embarrass and demean Obama.
“Senator McConnell stated many years ago that his priority was to make President Obama a one-term president,” said a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), speaking on condition of anonymity. “Well, that didn’t go so well. So now his priority is to deny any White House nominations to the VA.
“Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me, either.”
Another issue: the Pledge to America.
On September 23, 2010, the Pledge to America was released by Congressional Republicans. The Pledge was a list of legislative priorities Republicans promised to pursue should they win majority rule in Congress in November.
In October 1994, Congressional Republicans released the Contract Upon America, which 16 years earlier promised the same thing as the Pledge. In both cases, the documents worked, as Republicans captured one or both houses of Congress in the respective November elections.
While the Senate will have the job of confirming McDonald, the Pledge to America is the brainchild of the House, enforced by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
So why does the Pledge have any bearing on the McDonald nomination? Three words: Procter and Gamble.
“The President thinks he can undo our Pledge to America by nominating someone from Procter and Gamble,” said a Boehner spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Everyone knows lemon-scented Pledge is made by SC Johnson, a rival of Procter and Gamble’s. Average, ordinary, everyday Americans want someone from SC Johnson appointed to this very important post, and they won’t be fooled by this attempt at slander.”
Critics – including some moderate Republicans – fired back at Boehner’s spokesman’s statement.
“OK, now we’re arguing about furniture polish,” said a moderate Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’ve officially run out of legitimate things to challenge when it comes to the White House.”
“It is our responsibility to safeguard the health of our veterans,” said a White House spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’re not going to let Congressional insanity stand in our way – once again – simply to score political points.
“It’s no secret that Congress has opposed us at every turn, bouncing from one inane issue to another. We hope this obstruction has finally reached its crest. That way, we can stand head and shoulders above politics and actually get some work done.”