So far during the Obama years, the serial scandals have fallen into a familiar pattern:
1). Wrongdoing is revealed.
2). The president insists he had no idea about the scandal.
3). The president expresses outrage.
4). The media moves on.
From the IRS cracking down on Conservatives to the Justice Department tracking the phone calls made by reporters to the NSA data mining everyone’s e-mail to the “Fast and Furious” gun running story, each event has followed that pattern. But don’t expect the festering Veteran’s Administration scandal to do so.
Because the real scandal is that there is no VA scandal. In a perverted sense, the VA was working.
Let’s begin at the beginning. The Veteran’s Administration stretches back to the Civil War. It was founded, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” That’s actually written on the outside of VA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“President Lincoln affirmed the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war and to provide for the families of those who perished on the battlefield,” the agency’s Web site explains. That’s a noble goal. But it doesn’t seem to be the agency’s mission anymore.
Rather than providing care for vets, the VA somehow switched its mission to seeming to provide care for vets. There’s a big difference.
As your grandfather probably told you, “you get what you pay for.” Well, look what the VA was paying its employees to do: make it seem as if they were providing health care to vets, whether they really did or not.
Until last fall, the VA was actively congratulating itself on a job well done. More than three quarters “of VA senior managers qualified for extra pay or other compensation in fiscal year 2013 by receiving ratings of ‘outstanding’ or ‘exceeds fully successful,’” CNN reports. “All 470 of them got ratings of ‘fully successful’ or better.”
Every single senior leader was fully successful. Even in Phoenix, where the VA had two lists: one for vets who were getting care, another for vets waiting (unofficially) to get care. The head of the Phoenix medical center took home an $8,500 bonus last year (it’s since been rescinded) and she is still earning a salary even though she’s on administrative leave.