Conservatives like to make wry observations about the lifecycle of an Obama administration scandal. The lifecycle, wryly deconstructed, is:
- President hears about scandal on the news
- President is outraged, but notes a) scandal is because of rogue bureaucrats in the field b) scandal started under Bush
- Scandal is slow walked for a couple months, at which point it becomes a “phoney scandal”. This is done with some assistance of sycophantic lefty media, who take cues from the Whitehouse to argue a) Republicans are misconstruing scandal facts because they are dumb b) Republicans are misconstruing scandal facts because they are racists
- Scandal is slow walked for a couple years, at which point it becomes ‘old news”.
With the VA, we’re still at the early stages. The President is still finding out about it on the news that all these regional VAs have eerily / ironically similar patterns of misbehavior. How weird!
Conservatives also like to complain that the Obama Administration never fires anyone for incompetence or malfeasance. Truly I have mixed feelings on this.
On one hand, I know it’s fair and wise that the Administration doesn’t overreact to conservative hysteria, and that they should have an instinct to keep faithfully executing their duties / platform. And as a conscientious but hysterical conservative, I’m mindful that with a cabinet secretary termination I should want something more than a bloodlust for ideological schadenfreude. Things need to be fact based.
On the other hand…. Holder / Sebelius / Clapper are / were incompetent / duplicitous, and could have been justifiably fired for cause at any point after 2010. That they remained so long lends credence to the observation that the President won’t ever fire anyone lest any critique be affirmed and the myth of Obama Administration hyper-competence be jeopardized. Mind you, this is a myth that only the most partisan of Democrat’s believe anyway, but as a weird pander to the base it’s apparently got to be zealously protected, along with an assertion of competence for the President himself. There’s also some racial and gender dynamics in there where people get a very long leash…
Anyway, inasmuch as wanting an Administration head to roll is a binary proposition, ie, its either warranted by the facts or is rather the bloodlust of conservative hysteria…its clearer here than in those other examples that a demand for Shinseki’s firing is completely appropriate. He’s earned it.
And it’s not opaque. Thus it’s its enormously dispiriting that we have to go through the lifecycle again, where the President’s obliviousness and the obnoxious douchebaggery of Jay Carney and the blogging sycophants are the method by which VA is slow walked to irrelevance..
Thing is, I don’t think it’s going to work. There’s not an obvious narrative here that Chait / Vox / TNR can carry without being absurd. So they might as well fire Shinseki now.