Why Does Obama Keep Picking Ohio Republicans To Head Veterans Affairs?

24
1220
Head Veterans Affairs

Head Veterans Affairs

Benjamin KrauseSome veterans groups are finding fault in President Obama’s selection of a non-health care expert to help VA reboot its failed veterans benefits programs. This seems like a moot point in tabloid land when compared to the obvious irony in Obama’s preference for two Ohio Republicans (and Romney supporters) to lead the troubled agency in a row.

Just one year after being forced out of the top spot at Procter & Gamble, Robert McDonald was selected to replace former Secretary Eric Shinseki as Veterans Affairs skids into one scandal after another. This West Point alumni is also an Ohio native, much like Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the Cleveland Clinic CEO Obama first eyed to lead the agency last month. But that was not the only commonality between the two individuals. Both Cosgrove and McDonald were donors to Mitt Romney and support the Republican party.

[read about Cosgrove’s support of Romney]

HURT FEELINGS

Yet veteran organizations are more focused on McDonald lack of health care expertise and hurt feelings over the administration’s failure consult with them prior to this recent selection.

In a recent article from Associated Press (AP), various veterans organizations were cited as critics McDonald’s selection. The veterans groups are troubled that the White House selected McDonald without consulting them. American Legion was caught off-guard by the selection, having never heard of McDonald as a potential nominee until after he was selected. Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) also commented, “If the president doesn’t make VA a priority, Superman can’t do this job,” indicating the organization is still reserving judgment, for now.

The organizations are further troubled by McDonald’s lack of health care expertise. Former candidate Dr. Toby Cosgrove was a solid front-runner until reports surfaced that Cleveland Clinic had similar problems as those currently being addressed by VA. In addition, Dr. Cosgrove was openly critical of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which would have raised eyebrows if his position surfaced during confirmation hearings.

THE OHIO REPUBLICAN CEO CONNECTION

What seems curious to me is that no one has caught the unusual connection between the two most recent individuals floated by the administration to head the agency. Why is Obama selecting Republicans from Ohio?

On the skeptical side, the general probability that Obama’s first two candidates for the top spot would be Republicans both from Ohio seems highly unlikely. Or, perhaps Ohio breeds better candidates than any other state in the union? While the coincidence is probably nothing to take seriously, it seemed odd enough to make note of in case some other connections surface during the confirmation hearing.

I have no doubt McDonald’s close ties with VA insiders and Republicans may be the factor that synched his selection after Cosgrove declined the nomination. McDonald is a lifelong friend to Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, another West Point alumni. He is also on friendly terms with House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman, both Republicans from his home state of Ohio.

According to the AP, “McDonald has donated $3,400 to Portman over the past few years, federal election records show.” AP also found that McDonald donated $5,000 to Mitt Romney. Perhaps Romney backers are the best suited to lead the agency, for whatever reason. Or, it is possible this is Obama’s way of mending ties with Congress prior to the coming election. We should all watch the confirmation hearing to see what questions both parties come up with in this instance.

All politics aside, whoever takes the helm at VA needs to have thick skin and a drive to push through the red tape that prevented Secretary Shinseki from reforming the agency during his tenure, be it a Republican or Democrat.

UPDATE, 11:40 AM CST, 7/8/14: Just in, Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland, Ohio.

Read More:

https://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2012/10/no_debate_cleveland_clinic_chi.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/06/05/key-facts-about-potential-va-nominee-delos-cosgrove/

https://www.whdh.com/story/25951517/new-va-secretary-nominee-not-a-health-care-expert

#####

Voc Rehab Survival GuideBenjamin Krause is an award winning investigative reporter, Veterans Benefits Law attorney, and disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. He attended Northwestern University and  the University of Minnesota Law School using VA Vocational Rehabilitation.

While in law school, Benjamin won his decade-long fight for full disability benefits and now helps others do the same with this website and his guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans. Since its first publication in 2011, the guide has helped the veteran community receive millions in untapped benefits through the VA Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program. 

Connect with Benjamin on  Google+,  Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

Stay informed on VA news, scandals and benefits. Get our daily newsletter via email.

17343

DisabledVeterans.org

Get our free daily newsletter.

24 Comments

  1. Even with the attention brought to the media if the VA is not accountable to the very VETERANS they serve there will be the same old crap there always was at the VA. All this attention hasn’t changed the systems on which they operate, if anything it has made them even meaner and more disrespectful than ever. These people need to realize who they serve and it seems to me they serve their politics and paychecks without any honor. So, I’ve seen 20+/- years of VA and their bullshit games and when the spotlight goes away lookout VETERANS they’re gonna continue to screw us. We can all thank the Senate for what’s about to come our way. Next vote should be a statement from.all VETERANS!

  2. Trying to make sense of White House appointees has always been troubling with few exceptions. This time, we need to possibly remember that Ohio and it’s electoral votes put Obama over the top to win his 2nd term in the White House. The DNC already has ground roots campaign offices there for the next presidential election.
    I have never seen a president put top priority to veteran care in my 42 yrs of being a veteran. Or at least enough to satisfy me. We have created 3 GI Bills in that time. All of today’s veteran problems are way to similar to my generation of Vietnam vets. In short, they say today’s veterans and Vietnam vets are overwhelming the system. We say “fix it”. It appears that the politicians have not learned from history and “are” repeating it.
    As a retired VA Mental Health professional I can only say the VA’S administrative practices had good intentions but got manipulated by administrators who saw it as a potential way to put $ in their pockets. There are good therapists and administrators in the VA. So, now we are left to sort the good from the bad? That is not right and not our job as veterans. The VA plays with a stacked deck. I do not know the answers but am far to familiar with the problems at VHA (Veterans Healthcare Administration).

  3. Didn’t vote for Romney.

    Don’t like Boehner or Portman, either.

    And neither do most conservative veterans who recognize that these big government politicians are part of the problem to the VA ills, and not the solution.

    All three politicians are corrupt as they act like Democrats and treat the government as their very own ATM at the expense of taxpayers and veterans.

    However, with that being said.

    The one alternative Ben doesn’t mention is that Obama is just being Obama.

    Since it is apparent that Obama could care less about us veterans and the mistreatment we experience at the VA, it should come as no surprise that all he is doing by nominating Democrat-lite political opponents is deflecting future blame to other power-hungry hacks in order to ensure his political legacy.

    You see, in Obama’s world, everybody is expendable, including the people he nominates to lead the VA.

  4. The real question be be why do our presidents keep appointing former CEOs to these federal agencies? Hank Paulson former Goldman Sachs CEO headed the treasury department; former Monsanto CEO Donald Rumsfeld headed the Department of Defense; both epic national embarrassments! So the governments logic is to continue on by appointing the fired CEO of Procter & Gamble to head the VA…?!

  5. MAYBE THE OHIO CONNECTION HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH “HONESTY” AND TRULY TRYING TO “RE-UNITE” THESE INITED STATES.
    WHEN YOU HAVE “EVIL” ALL AROUND, I WAS TAUGHT TO TAKE THE “LESSER” AND PRAY YOU CAN TURN THEM AROUND.
    WE NEED TO WORK “TOGETHER”, THIS PARTY LINE BS IS NOT GOOD FOR OUR COUNTRY. WE ARE ALL “AMERICANS”, LET US DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY AND NOT JUST FOR OUR “PARTY”.

  6. Ben, you know, you just want to see if we do, like a college professor does. Okay, it is simple, and the same reason he kept Shinseki from the Bush Adminisistration. So he can blame the Republican mentality of big business and their general competitive, free market mindset, which is the ultimate enemy to his socialist agenda and ACA.

  7. I must say that I fully supported Obama and had high hopes that this man of intelligence and lofty aspirations for our nation wooed me. I am sorry to say he was the lesser of 2 evils. I firmly believe it just does not matter anymore who is President. Bush was a catastrophe and has left our Nation in a economic decline, war for NO REASON, and a legacy of destroying the Middle-Class, or at least delivering the death blow.

    President Obama has done nothing during his tenure. I am very political and for the life of me I cannot see or find one thing that his administration has done for this country; it sadden’s me to say. I have given up on this country. My next step is to leave it a relocate in semi-retirement in any other country in the world. I am a Vietnam combat veteran who has been consistenly fucked by the VA, Military Records in St. Louis and the government in general. It sickens me to see the gluttony of wealth and the extreme poverty that “we the people” let exist in this once mighty nation. Now all we do is kill, destroy nation’s and plunder wealth from any and all smaller nation’s. We are the BULLY.

  8. Maybe he picked him in order to appease House Speaker Boehner and to prevent him from suing him or something. I don’t know. One thing I do figure though, is that this guy was picked to go in and start doing a lot of covering up at the VA, you know, the same way a cat does inside of a litter box! Then it will be the same old VA just like it’s always been.

  9. Obama does not give a shit about us veterans. He is only concerned in himself, lining his wallet with our money, taking vacations. He has yet performed duties as a President and has earned the title of the worse President/leader in the world. He has wasted more money then any President in history. I am beyond ashamed and can not bring myself to call him by his unearned title. President is a honorable position that takes on the responsibility of keeping our United States strong and respectful. He has failed beyond I am afraid recoverable. Shame on all that voted him in. A Politicians should be required to have served at least 4 years of military service prior to being elected to any position of government. They should have shown quality and proven leadership abilities. They should know the job inside out and backwards before being placed in the job. They need to be dedicated to our country and failure in this area would be immediate dismissal. They need to be held totally responsibile for holding that position.

  10. Since Obama has shown himself to be lawless and in contempt of the U.S. Constitution, I advocate for us veterans to call for his impeachment.

    His removal from the highest office in the land that he has deliberately disgraced will enable us disabled veterans to move forward with renewed purpose, patriotism, and passion for creating a VA that serves veterans, and not veterans serving the VA.

    We, the disabled veterans of America, can unite as a powerful political force and finally choose a leader that truly represents us!

    IMPEACH OBAMA!

    • The last RNC convention was the epitome of election corruption and fraud.

      Boehner and his thug cronies made a deliberate political play to silence American citizen conservatives, many of them military veterans.

      Boehner refused to honor a voice vote that would have stopped the bought-and-paid for political establishment from continuing their shameful act of disenfranchisement of the grassroots individuals who vote on principle for the U.S. Constitution, the Rule of Law, and our God-given rights to liberty.

      Search on YTube for Ben Swan’s editorial, “Did RNC “Scripted” Rules Change Start A Civil War”.

      The damning indictment of how corrupt the Republican Party is starts at 2:10 in the video.

  11. Agreed oswaldo! when the VA is held accountable by criminal charges and the workers see these low life’s in court facing a possible prison sentence then will we have change and even more whistle blowers coming out. harry ried and his cronies and Obama and his cronies need to be impeached and charged since they are the leaders and most liable for the the actions of those below them. Everyone needs to realize that Obama plans to let bergdahl to get away with desertion and I assure you this thing with berdahl is a scandle like everything else but getting others to listen when I can prove his parents have been communicationg wih him since july 2009 and the fact Obama told the troops on May 1st this year 30 days before the trade that there was a prisoner swap in the works. the news wont listen and all Obama’s cronies are trying to protect his ass.

  12. As horribly as the current administration has done, well, just about everything, I think that it would seem to be a step in the right direction to pick someone from outside the president’s inner circle.

    I’ve held jobs where I supervised technicians who had far greater knowledge than I did about their jobs. The VA needs strong leadership — regardless of the leader’s knowledge of medical issues.

    The question is, will McDonald be the guy to provide this leadership? He did not do a bang-up job at P&G, but Ben’s characterization of him being fired is a bit of an overstatement. I also don’t know why a medical background is something people are shouting bloody murder about. Shinseki was a career soldier — not a doctor.

    Any CEO of a large corporation is making far more money than (s)he would earn in this position, and many of them have no desire to take over a entity where his/her hands are tied like they would be in this job. The point is that the best people for this job most likely will not be interested, and I can’t say I blame them.

    Here’s my main issue — it doesn’t matter a lick who heads the VA if (s)he doesn’t have the authority to take on the unions that have made the bureaucracy impenetrable. The president has the authority (and probably the support of the opposition House) to hold ALL the people at the VA accountable for piss poor performance. He is so beholden to unions, though, that we really have no chance to make see any meaningful reform at the VA as long as he’s in office.

  13. There is a lot of blame being thrown around here directed at our current president. However, this issue has been ongoing long before he got into office. I work at the WLA VA during the Bush Admin and trust me they really could care less, punishing those who work hard to give us Vets our benefits. One high ranking Director was put out to pasture early because of his success in getting claims adjudicated. The system is filled with career people who make the decisions and clearly they need to retire. Obama has asked for more funding for Vets than any president before him. The Bohrner congress has squashed many of his requests. If you want to cast blame just look up the bills which have been table or vote down in the congress. who started the war which has overwhelmed the VA system and did not and would not write into the budget the required resources for the Veterans care???

    • YOU ARE, OH, SO WRONG.

      Obama is not and will not fix the VA.

      I will prove it to you right now.

      Right now, there is evidence that his intent is to overload the federal agencies with crisis situations similar to what the VA is experiencing.

      With the federal agencies unable to maintain the civil infrastructure of our country, Obama will then crack down on dissent and further restrict civil liberties, all in order to further his political legacy as an authoritarian politician who craves centralized control over how you live your life.

      With the mass invasion of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens into our southern states, the front-line workers of the DHS and the Border Patrol are now being told to stand down and let these lawless criminals into our towns and cities.

      In fact, one Border Patrol supervisor just today stated in the National Review, “I’ve been in this agency for 20 years and this is the worst I’ve seen it. It’s similar to the VA.

      In addition, Obama has instituted a gag-order preventing any federal employees from talking with the media about the human onslaught of foreign criminals who are entering our country to rape and pillage our bankrupt national treasury.

      If you have ever lived on the border like I have, you will know that the inevitable result is the total bankruptcy of our livelihoods and neighborhoods as foreign slave wage labor is chosen over American citizens, especially unemployed wounded warriors.

      And most certainly, you will personally witness these foreign invaders refusing to assimilate as they form secular criminal gangs identified by tattoos on their back in Old English ink by the street they live on.

      I dare you to drive through an established ‘barrio’ while flying the American flag from your radio antennae.

      The illegal criminals living there will not welcome you with open arms, but instead will openly display ‘armas’ in defiance to your unauthorized transgression.

      If you continue to choose to support a lawless President, you will soon find that your hope-and-change messiah has sacrificed you for a group of criminals.

      How’s that for nope-and-chains?

  14. I think whoever accepts the position of Secretary, an Ohioan or not, should insist before he/she does that the VA will have to be completely transparent to veterans and veterans should have a large say-so in what goes on there. This is easier said than done, because Shinseki vowed to make the VA transparent to us, but did not give us any say in their matters. If we had direct input to voice ourselves and vote on changes here on out, the government would not be the ones in control. It’s all about control. I do not believe the VA is going to make any meaningful changes in the way it handles itself. All the current issues will be swept under the rug shortly after they convince the population that they are “on-the-ball” in working with the “service organizations” like American Legion or DAV to get veterans appointments quicker. They are doing just that right now with Amer Legion, and thsy are making sure the word is out via radio blurbs I’ve been hearing..
    These VSO”s suck — where the fuck were they before all of this hit the fan? It’s all one caboodle of horse sxxx, and it will stay the same unless we, the vets, have direct input and can get direct results to make the VA serve us for real. The VA will have to become a non-beurocracy then, and that’s not how this government works.
    As far as chosing republicans, I guess the current administration knows the VA’s problems are never going to straighten out, so let’s put in a Republican and let’s point to him when it doesn’t work out

  15. I will disagree greatly to allow someone with “NO MEDICAL EXPERIENVE, KNOWLEDGE OR BACKGROUND TO LEAD MEDICAL FACILITIES FOR THE VA HOSPITAL AND CLINICS.” I am medical, and just the treatment I have had, as well as the fact reviewing my records speaks volumes of mismanaged care. You see, it works like this when you are “supposedly a professional” and decided let’s spin the wheel for a diagnosis to coincide with a test you wish to have done. Simple coding, the codes must match the diagnosis to have that test. And when one “decides” that a lie shall work best? Who pays? Why you will that is who! It takes a person who has run a major hospital to find those who are abusing the system and understanding why so many Veterans wait, especially when misdiagnosed as in my own case, and still have yet to be dealt with in a proper fashion. Think of it this way. I am medical, I worked at Naval Regional Medical Center in Orlando, FL. My daughter was born in that hospital that I do have a “plank ownership” of. It takes a leader, usually a Captain, to make sure every department runs as it should, no allowances for mistakes, and if you blew it, military, your reduced, civilian, say goodbye. I state this for the obvious reasons, medical knowledge is extremely important to “run a tight ship” but also remember that patients deserve only the best of care, not mediocre care, fraudulent care, fill in the blanks that the patient was never asked care. This IS FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE OF THE SYSTEM THAT GEE. QUITE OBVIOUSLY NO ONE HAS HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE AT ALL WHEN IT COMES TO MEDICAL LINGO, CODING, OR THE ICD-9, which the VA still uses. To run expensive tests, and damn lie about it, ( oh yes I do have that verbal lies!) and the ICD-10, HAS BEEN OUT, MEDICAL HAS EITHER TRANSFERRED OVER TO OR IN THE PROCESS. WHEN A COUNTRY STATES “SECOND TO NONE?” I THINK “IN YOUR DREAMS!” BECAUSE OTHER COUNTRIES SEE ONE GREAT BIG “CLUSTER F–K AND NOTICES THE USA CANT EVEN PROVIDE FOR ITS OWN BY USING A PERSON WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE AND TRAINING IT TAKES TO CORRECTLY RUN A SYSTEM. 7 MONTHS, MY CONDITION HAS WORSENED. PAIN MANAGEMENT MY ASS, LITERALLY, MY ASS! IT TAKES A KNOWLEDGABLE PERSON WHO KNOWS THE CORRECT TESTING TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON WHEN YOU HAVE HAD THREE BACK SURGERIES. “BUT THANKS TO ONE HELL OF AN IDIOT SOCIAL WORKER,” THE VERY REAL DIAGNOSIS THAT I DO HAVE BY REAL PROFESSIONALS, PLACED MY FAILED BACK SYNDROME CHRONIC PAIN WHICH INCLUDES MY NERVE DAMAGED LEG AS AN MST EVENT. YOU KNOW, MY OWN DOCTOR WONDERED HOW SHE CAME UP WITH THAT ONE!
    IF YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND YOUR VA RECORDS, ESPECIALLY ONE LIKE MINE THAT GEE, HAS INTELLECT AND BRINGS A WITNESS TO THE EVENTS CALLED “APPOINTMENTS,” OR WHEN THE OUTSIDE RECORD HAS BEEN SCANNED IN, ( which FYI, now how in the hell did the idiot all up in my urine test, the doctor not believing any proof of surgeries, miss the x-ray I requested, could read, but told “ain’t nothing wrong with you,” after a shot, no one observed, I was there for twenty minutes! But that doctor had to do a “cover thy ass and stated I left before x-ray results read which, as stated, I could read and see myself, YUP, abnormal!) I THINK WHEN WE WENT IN AFTER MYSELF ENLISTING THE ASSISTANCE OF A PERSON, WE HAD THAT WONDERFUL NURSE WHO STATED THIS EACH TIME INCLUDING THE FIRST TIME I MET HER, “WHY ARE YOU HERE AGAIN?” NOW UNDERSTAND A GUY WHO WAS AND AS THEY SAY A MARINE AND DOESNT MISS A BEAT NOR A WORD SPOKEN, ANSWERED HER QUESTION, “THOSE RECORDS YOU WANTED SHE HAD HELP TO GET THEM IN OKAY!”
    TELL ME, DO YOU THINK IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE THAT THIS TYPE OF VERBAL EXCHANGE IS CONSIDERED PROFESSIONAL? I SURE IN THE HELL DON’T! AND AS THE SAYING GOES, “SHIT RUNS DOWNHILL,” WELL THERE YOU HAVE IT. CASE AND POINT MADE. TRUST ME, SHE IS ONE OF MANY I HAVE ENCOUNTERED! MYSELF, JUST ONE BUT MY MIND STATES HOW MANY MORE DEAL WITH THESE MORONS?
    YES, I SAW OBAMA ALLOWING FEDERAL DOLLARS OF CHILDREN CROSSING THE BORDER, BUT THEY ARE NOT ALL FROM MEXICO, GET THAT FACT RIGHT, AND TO VICTIMIZE THEM AS CRIMINALS THAT IS A STRETCH. BUT WHY SO MUCH MONEY TO HELP THOSE YET IGNORE YOUR VETERANS AND CHOICE TO LEAD ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOTHING TO REALLY OFFER? MY BULL SHIT BAROMETER GOES OFF! AND I JUST LOVE THE FACT THAT HE HAS SIGNED THAT EXECUTIVE ORDER “ANY MST VICTIM SEXUAL HISTORY MAYBE INVESTIGATED.” SUCH BULLSHIT LIKE THAT MEANS, “DO NOT COME FORTH BECAUSE WE HAVE SUCH A SCREWED UP SYSTEM OF TREATMENT AND GEE, WE WISH TO PUT YOU ON TRIAL FOR BEING A VICTIM!”
    I HELPED TO ELECT HIM THIS SECOND GO ROUND, AND YOU CAN BE ASSURED I EMAILED MY THOUGHTS! BUT LIVING IN A CORUPTED STATE LIKE TEXAS, I SPOKE WITH A GUY FROM MY HOME STATE, HE HAPPENED TO BE AFRICAN AMERICAN AND STATED “I VOTED OBAMA THE FIRST TIME, BUT THE SECOND HELL NO!” BOTH HE AND I AGREE, WE MISS OUR HOME STATE FOR A BIG REASON.
    IF YOU BELIEVE SOME LOSER WHO HAS NO JOB BUT GEE WORKED AT P&G IS THE BEST CHOICE, I SAY THIS TO YOU—-“THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND REALLY LOOK HARD LONG AND DEEP WHY CHOICES OF THIS NATURE IS ALL SCREWED UP IEAOLOGIES THAT WILL NOT IMPROVE THE VA SYSTEMS OF CARE ONE BIT.”
    THERE IS ONE THING I DO WELL, AND I SHALL GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE, MY YOUNGEST WHOM I CALL YOUNG ALPHA GEEK AND I CONSTANTLY ASKED QUESTIONS STATED THIS TO ME, “MOM, WHATEVER THE TOPIC IS JUST “GOOGLE IT.” IF YOU WANT A SIMPLE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION YOU WILL FIND IT. IF YOU WANT TO DIG EVEN DEEPER, AGAIN “GOOGLE IT,” FOR THAT WAY TOO YOU SHALL REMOVE THE LAYERS ( LIKE AN OINION) AND FIND THE ANSWERS AND DON’T BE SURPRISED HOW PISSED OFF YOU MAY BECOME WHEN YOU DO!”
    “GOOGLE IT!”
    THAT MY FRIENDS IS HOW TO SEE WHAT THE DIFFERENCE IS BETWEEN BULLSHIT FOR HIRE OR HEY THE REAL DEAL AND REASONS OF A MEDICAL ADMINISTRATOR WHO KNOWS ALL THE INFORMATION AND TRAINING THAT IS EXPECTED TO STOP THE “TRICKLE DOWN EFFECT” OF B. S. GOING DOWNHILL !” GOOD LUCK!

Comments are closed.