On Friday, President Obama announced that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki had tendered his resignation.
Shinseki's resignation came after numerous allegations of mismanagement and neglect at our nation's VA hospitals. Over 100 members of Congress, including 43 Democrats, called on Shinseki to resign. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said if Shinseki did not resign voluntarily, President Obama should fire him. McCain also said he found it "bewildering" that President Obama had waited "three or four weeks" before commenting on the scandal.
With all due respect to Sen. McCain, I have a different take on this. I, too, am outraged by the lack of care that many of our veterans have received, but I'm not at all bewildered by it. In fact, I saw it coming for years. Now, I believe the VA scandal proves we need four more years of President Obama! Let me explain why.
John McCain is bewildered that it took President Obama three to four weeks to comment on the VA scandal? Well, I find it bewildering that John McCain is only now finding himself bewildered. The VA scandal has been growing for decades, not weeks. Allegations of neglect and mismanagement are nothing new at VA hospitals. These allegations have been around for 40 years. Heck, we even made a movie about it. It was called Born on the Fourth of July, it came out 25 years ago, and it starred Tom Cruise, back when Tom Cruise was hot and cool and normal, and before he turned into a nutcase who jumps up and down on Oprah's couch and picks beefs with Brook Shields.
For whatever reason, though, Americans never seemed to care about VA hospitals. Actually, if you ask me, we never seemed to care much about anything -- until Barack Obama took office. It's a curious and recurring theme that I've been chronicling since 2008, when Obama was first elected, and the VA scandal is just the latest example.
At this point, we can toss VA hospitals into a growing list of problems, plagues, and scandals that existed well before Obama took office, but never seemed to bother Americans. Let's start with tax hikes. The Tea Party movement -- short for "Taxed Enough Already" -- didn't pick up steam until 2009, despite the fact that President Obama had yet to sign into law a single tax increase of any significance. You know who did sign tax increases into law, on many occasions? Just about every president before him. President Reagan increased taxes in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987. Presidents Bush and Clinton increased taxes after him. None of these tax hikes sparked a national movement. None of them sparked a revolution. Only when Barack Obama took office in 2009 did the revolution begin.
What about debts and deficits? America's debt has been spiraling out of control for 35 years. In fact, in the 30 years before President Obama took office, the national debt grew 93 percent! George W. Bush nearly doubled the national debt, Ronald Reagan nearly tripled it, but still, Americans never seemed to care. As Dick Cheney said himself, "Deficits don't matter." Only in 2009 did debts and deficits matter, when Barack Obama took office.
Same with healthcare mandates. The Heritage Foundation championed the idea 35 years ago. Mitt Romney implemented them in Massachusetts eight years ago. It was never a big deal until President Obama took office. Then, all of a sudden, healthcare mandates became a slippery slope to socialism.
Auto bailouts? Meh. George W. Bush did it in 2008. Wall Street bailouts? Ninety-one Republicans voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), before Obama ever took office. Gun control? Been there, done that. Ronald Reagan took your guns away in 1988, and he supported taking even more away in 1991 and 1994. Embassy attacks and consulate security? It was a disaster before Barack Obama became president, and it was a disaster before he became a senator. When Ronald Reagan was president, three U.S. embassies were attacked by terrorists, leaving 92 people dead. Under President Clinton, two embassies were attacked, leaving 224 dead. It never seemed to matter until 2012, when Barack Obama was president and four Americans died in Benghazi. Then it became a scandal, and Americans couldn't, and wouldn't, let it go.
Drone strikes in the Middle East? Pre-emptive attacks on brutal dictators who kill their own people? Vladimir Putin invading a sovereign nation? It all happened before Barack Obama was ever elected. Oddly, though, it never seemed to matter until he was president.
And so it goes with the VA scandal. For years, even decades, the mismanagement and neglect at many of our VA hospitals has been well documented. The problem goes all the way back to the very inception of the Veterans Administration in 1930. Still, Americans never seemed to care. Even John McCain, himself a war hero, claims to be "bewildered" to this day.
This is why I think we need four more years of Obama. For whatever reason, with Barack Obama in office, Americans finally seem to care about many of the important issues we should have cared about years ago! In my opinion, that's a good thing. It's something we should continue to do. Who knows, with four more years of Obama, we might even figure out why every president since William Howard Taft skipped the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.
Remember that? How every president since William Howard Taft skipped the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address? Don't worry if you don't. It never mattered until Barack Obama was president.
This is why we need four more years of him.