Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    24 May '14 09:03
    I disagree with him about the IRS and Benghazi, but perhaps he's just thrown in the towel.

    The VA scandal will stick with the Obama administration

    By Michael Gerson, Published: May 22

    Why do some political scandals stick while others fade? The level of media obsession seems to rise and fall as mysteriously as the stock market. On Benghazi, sell. Hold on the IRS audits. On the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, buy, buy, buy.

    In the broader scandal market, fraud or criminality helps. Political intrigue is a plus. Sexual content increases attention but may eventually seem pathetically human and excusable. Conservatives are convinced that the liberal media are harder on Republicans. There is a natural human tendency to attribute good motives to people with whom you agree — and corrupt motives to people with whom you don’t. This is also not unknown in the conservative media.

    But I’d contend that the stickiest scandals are the ones that confirm preexisting suspicions — that draw neon outlines on an existing portrait. The Iran-contra affair confirmed a public impression that Ronald Reagan was disengaged. Bill Clinton’s infidelity was further evidence of indiscipline. More recent, the image of Chris Christie as a bully was reinforced by a staff that engaged in malicious bullying.

    This is precisely why President Obama’s VA scandal is the most serious and damaging of his presidency. It is the Obama administration in sum and in miniature: incompetent management of a health system, defended by crude media manipulation.

    Each of these elements deserves some unpacking. The incompetence comes in the aftermath of HealthCare.gov — the Technicolor failure of technocratic liberalism. Again, the White House is shocked, saddened and angered by the management fiasco of a manager under its direct control. In both cases, a presidential priority was badly mishandled over a period of years, and the president seems to have learned about it on cable news. Obama has defended himself by assuming the role of an outraged bystander — which, when it comes to leadership, is more of a self-indictment than a defense.

    Modern liberalism involves centralized, bureaucratic authority and therefore presupposes administrative competence. But the caliber of technocrats chosen by Obama — including former health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki — throws the entire enterprise into question. Are the best and brightest really this dull?

    The more immediate problem for Obama is that the VA scandal comes in the context of a broader health-care debate. The VA health system is unapologetically socialized medicine, in a way that Obamacare (for all its faults) is not. But for the administration, the scandal is an inconvenient public reminder that the centralization of government power in health care has inherent dangers.

    The VA scandal is not only the result of weak leadership; it is typical of government-managed systems, which often ration care with waiting lists and lines. The demands on the VA have been increasing, with large numbers of returning veterans, some with complicated injuries, receiving recently expanded benefits. At the same time, the Obama administration has pledged to reduce waiting lists. The results? Alleged double-booking of appointments. Overburdened staff. And the gaming of lists to hide waiting times.

    Some liberal economists once referred to the VA system as a model for national health reform. It can’t help the cause of liberalism when the results of rationing, inherent in all government-managed care, are dramatically demonstrated.

    In addition, the VA scandal has revealed the naked essence of the White House media management strategy, stripped of adornments such as credibility and sincerity. In a savage fit of accountability, the administration let go a VA health official — who was already scheduled to retire in less than a month. This, presumably, also saved the cost of the cake at his going-away party.

    Then White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted, nine times, that the American Legion was pleased with this housecleaning. The American Legion, however, had actually pronounced it “business as usual” and called for the immediate replacement of Shinseki. What could possess Carney to make a claim that could be immediately and completely disproved? It indicates a strategy that has dispensed with persuasion: Pick a minor scapegoat, institute an inconsequential reform, claim broad support, then insist, tomorrow, that the whole matter is old news.

    But this approach implies a certain amount of contempt for the journalists who are expected to carry the message. Even the most pliant among them wants some scraps of credibility mixed in their feed.

    In a presidency defined by health-care ambitions and debates, the VA scandal is likely to stick — as a summary and a parody.
  2. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    24 May '14 09:50
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    I disagree with him about the IRS and Benghazi, but perhaps he's just thrown in the towel.

    The VA scandal will stick with the Obama administration

    By Michael Gerson, Published: May 22

    Why do some political scandals stick while others fade? The level of media obsession seems to rise and fall as mysteriously as the stock market. On Benghazi, s ...[text shortened]... ealth-care ambitions and debates, the VA scandal is likely to stick — as a summary and a parody.
    What purpose is served by spreading your argument into a new thread, when it is already well served by the original thread? Presumably just to confuse issues and make it harder and harder to criticise in a coherent way. Keep slinging the mud while running away from debate.

    This is an opinion piece and contains no new information, if it contains any information at all. As such, the hot air is entirely wasted except to sustain the self esteem of those with fixed opinions wanting to escape the unpleasant world of fact checkers.
  3. 24 May '14 10:50 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    What purpose is served by spreading your argument into a new thread, when it is already well served by the original thread? Presumably just to confuse issues and make it harder and harder to criticise in a coherent way. Keep slinging the mud while running away from debate.

    This is an opinion piece and contains no new information, if it contains any info ...[text shortened]... elf esteem of those with fixed opinions wanting to escape the unpleasant world of fact checkers.
    This is an opinion piece and contains no new information, if it contains any information at all. As such, the hot air is entirely wasted except to sustain the self esteem of those with fixed opinions wanting to escape the unpleasant world of fact checkers.

    man i gotta put that in my profile
  4. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    24 May '14 15:38
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    I disagree with him about the IRS and Benghazi, but perhaps he's just thrown in the towel.

    The VA scandal will stick with the Obama administration

    By Michael Gerson, Published: May 22

    Why do some political scandals stick while others fade? The level of media obsession seems to rise and fall as mysteriously as the stock market. On Benghazi, s ...[text shortened]... ealth-care ambitions and debates, the VA scandal is likely to stick — as a summary and a parody.
    America's healthcare system before and during the Obama administrations is, and was, far from perfect. Liberals seem to think a socialized system modeled after those in Europe and Canada is a better plan. Conservatives think a capitalistic system with HMO's and insurance companies as major players is a better system. Both have good and bad points. Socialized medicine provides healthcare for everyone, but places a heavy burden on taxpayers. The Capitalistic model is more efficent from an accounting standpoint but leaves many little or no healthcare coverage, since the main objective of any business is to maximize profit and minimize loss. (A statement repeated dozens of times by my college economics professor).

    I'm beginning to think that America's best hope to end the healthcare fight is for the federal government to set national healthcare standards, then leave it up to each state to develop their own system, as long as federal standards are met. States have far less burearucratric red tape than the federal government and may be in a better position to do this.

    As far as the VA scandal sticking with the Obama administration, unless some new and damaging evidence comes to light soon, this scandal will begin to fade soon after the midterm elections, since the public perception will be that any problems with the VA and Obama will simply disappear with the next general election, just as with all the other presidential scandals.
  5. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    24 May '14 17:35
    Originally posted by bill718
    America's healthcare system before and during the Obama administrations is, and was, far from perfect. Liberals seem to think a socialized system modeled after those in Europe and Canada is a better plan. Conservatives think a capitalistic system with HMO's and insurance companies as major players is a better system. Both have good and bad points. Socialized ...[text shortened]... mply disappear with the next general election, just as with all the other presidential scandals.
    I disagree with your last point.
  6. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    24 May '14 17:37 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    What purpose is served by spreading your argument into a new thread, when it is already well served by the original thread? Presumably just to confuse issues and make it harder and harder to criticise in a coherent way. Keep slinging the mud while running away from debate.

    This is an opinion piece and contains no new information, if it contains any info ...[text shortened]... elf esteem of those with fixed opinions wanting to escape the unpleasant world of fact checkers.
    First of all, it's not my hot air. Second, simply because you disagree with it, and it fails to support your worldview, does not make it untrue or less valuable. On the other hand, it crystallizes the debate.