5 reasons why the VA scandal could be the Democrats’ biggest nightmare in 2014

That loud rumbling sound you hear is Democrats heading for the hills. Most of them realize the Veterans Administration scandal could damage them badly in what already looks like a bleak November election, and many are scrambling to express their outrage.

But that may not help. Here’s five reasons why:

1. The scandal will not be over in five months. A political party’s first action item when faced with a scandal is to get it off the front pages. The Obama administration has been successful in doing that with Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, the Government Services Administration scandal (millions of dollars on parties, favors and videos), the “red line” for Syria’s chemical weapons, Iran’s nuclear weapon development, and so on.

That’s why Obama said he would delay action until he investigated. Investigations allow officials to appear to be doing something without doing anything, while they hope the media lose interest.

But remember the old adage: if it bleeds it leads. And that, sadly, is especially true in this instance. With only five months till November and news outlets scrambling for scoops, whistleblowers and tragic stories, there’s a good chance the VA will be on the front page at least through the summer, and so on voters’ minds November 4.

2. Obama will try to blame Bush and Republicans, but it won’t work. Obama has already started trying to blame George W. Bush, a tactic that usually works. But so far the press isn’t buying it, and rightly so. Numerous campaign speeches where Obama highlighted the problems and said he would fix them have come back to bite him for once.

3. Obama’s apathy for the military makes him even more vulnerable. If this scandal were to have emerged during a John McCain presidency, no one would think it was because of a lack of interest or commitment from McCain; Obama doesn’t get that benefit of the doubt. His downsizing of the military, even if appropriate, feeds into the narrative that the military just isn’t his thing. And that makes him, and the Democrats, more vulnerable on this issue.

4. There are too many parallels between the VA and Obamacare. Perhaps Obama’s biggest challenge is that he and the Democrats own the healthcare issue. They tried to convince the public that big government can do a better job providing good healthcare at a lower cost than the private sector—something the polls show the public never believed.

Obama prefers a single-payer system, and that’s what the VA is. Obama wanted a healthcare central planner. He had that with exiting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and with current Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, but both look incompetent, uninformed and out of touch.

The continuing saga that is Obamacare will cross pollinate the VA scandal and vice versa. Each narrative reinforces the other. And Democrats’ outrage and denunciation of government-run healthcare for veterans will convince no one because everyone knows they support government-run healthcare.

5. No one can dismiss the veterans. And the biggest problem may be that few people in American society today get and deserve more sympathy and respect than our veterans. Harming them is just like insulting momma: no one likes it. The Democrats can dismiss four dead Americans in a troubled country, or bureaucrats getting a little overzealous in targeting conservative groups, but they can’t dismiss veterans.

That’s a scandal that will stick.


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