The Veterans Affairs policy fiasco is magnified by an insulting-public relations strategy.
By Ron Fournier, The National Journal
News quiz: President Obama and his communications team hope that Americans are: 1) Dumb; 2) Distracted; 3) Numb to government inefficiency; 4) All of above.
Answer: 4, all of the above.
That answer along with utter incompetence are the best explanations for why the White House thought it could get away with claiming that the departure of Veterans Affairs official Robert Petzel was a step toward accountability for its scandalous treatment of war veterans.
Fact is, the department announced in 2013 that Dr. Petzel would retire this year.
"Well, Secretary Shinseki accepted Dr. Petzel's resignation this afternoon. He was due to retire early next month, and obviously there has been a nomination made for his replacement," White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough told CBS's Major Garrett last week. "I leave to Rick the explanation of his decision, but there is no question that this is a termination of his job there before he was planning to go."
No. This was neither a termination nor a housecleaning. It was a scapegoating. For all of its 21st-century savvy in the field of campaign technology, the Obama White House has repeatedly proven that its communications philosophy is stuck in the 20th century. Before the Internet gave voters instantaneous access to information, including every public utterance of the president and his team, White House strategists could hope to wear out the truth: If you said a lie enough, people might believe it.
It's harder to BS the public these days. White House press secretary Jay Carney still tries. On Monday, he repeatedly suggested that the American Legion had praised the move.