Sen. Richard Burr decided to use the Friday news dump to snipe at veterans groups for not automatically siding with the GOP in their jihad against VA Secretary Eric Shinsheki. You remember him, don’t you – the guy that tried to tell the Bush administration that they were woefully unprepared for Iraq and got canned for it? The GOP does, and once he was named VA Secretary, it was only a matter of time before the long knives came out. Burr figured that the vets groups would join in the GOPTea dogpile, and when they didn’t, decided to spoil their weekend by spewing a squid cloud of hurt feelings and castigation:
“It became clear at the hearing that most of the other VSOs attending appear to be more interested in defending the status quo within VA, protecting their relationships within the agency, and securing their access to the Secretary and his inner circle. But to what end? What use is their access to senior VA staff, up to and including the Secretary, if they do not use their unprecedented access to a Cabinet Secretary to secure timely access to care for their membership? What hope is there for change within the VA if those closest to the agency don’t use that proximity for the good of veterans across our country?
I believe the national and local commanders of every VSO have the interests of their members at heart, and take seriously their commitment to their members and their organization. Unfortunately, I no longer believe that to be the case within the Washington executive staff of the VSOs that testified. Last week’s hearing made it clear to me that the staff has ignored the constant VA problems expressed by their members and is more interested in their own livelihoods and Washington connections than they are to the needs of their own members.
I fear that change within the VA will not be possible unless and until these organizations also reconsider their role as well as the nature of their relationship with VA.”
Bear in mind that the leadership that Burr is throwing rocks at is in DC and is well aware that the GOP loves some veterans, until they need something that costs taxpayer dollars, or until helping them gives doesn’t make President Obama look like the worst person in the universe. The organizations singled out wasted no time in telling Burr to know his role:
“…will afford you the same amount of respect you showed for the Veterans of Foreign Wars by the monumental cheap-shot and posturing you’ve engaged in by enlisting in an absolutely disgusting ambush style of politics.
Senator, this is clearly one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we’ve witnessed in more than forty years of involvement with the veteran community and breaches the standards of the United States Senate.
I suggest you compare the more than exorbitant number of days off you receive, including virtually the entire month of August…and certainly not a single five-day work week to the often time long, arduous hours they put forth every week of the year…We don’t act in grabbing a headline or securing an interview on cable news; our only agenda is to ensure that the veterans of this nation receive timely and adequate healthcare. If you have issues I suggest you contact one of us directly.”