A lot of pundits compare President Obama to FDR, but I think there’s another Democratic celebrity of the 1930s that he has more in common with. It was the great comedian Will Rogers, who used to joke, “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.”

Over the past few weeks, as reporters have started digging into the scandal involving lethally long waits at VA hospitals, they’ve been unearthing references to Obama’s knowledge of the problem that date back earlier and earlier. NBC obtained an internal VA memo showing that the Phoenix false waiting list situation was known back in March of 2013. During the 2012 campaign, Obama told the VFW that long waits for VA care were “unacceptable.” It was revealed that his transition team was briefed on the problem when he first took office in 2008. Way back during the 2008 campaign, he blasted George W. Bush for allowing long waiting times for veterans’ care. And during his speech Wednesday, he mentioned being concerned when he was on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in 2007 (to be fair, he might not have learned much about it then, considering he missed 19 of the committee’s 37 meetings during his Senate term. He couldn’t even vote “present”).

I suspect that eventually, someone will discover a cave painting that depicts Obama watching veterans spear mastodons as they wait in long lines at the VA. And yet, White House spokesman Jay Carney still claims that the first Obama heard of the problems at the Phoenix VA was from news media reports. How is that possible? Does he get his news by storing up Daily Shows on the DVR and watching them seven years later?

Every President is supposed to receive regular briefings from his staff on all important matters. Was Obama skipping the meetings or not paying attention? Or did his staff simply not think this was important enough to mention? Some more conspiracy-minded conservatives believe it was deliberately ignored because calling attention to the VA's long waits, corruption and patients dying while waiting for care would have created negative press for government-run health care and prevented the passage of Obamacare. I’d like to think that nobody could be cynical enough to care more about a piece of big government Progressive legislation than the lives of veterans. I’d like to think that, but I’ve spent too much time watching MSNBC.

That leaves us with the new official excuse: that while Obama has spent at least six years expressing outrage at long waits for VA treatment, not only has the problem not been solved, but he didn’t even realize it was that big a problem until he saw the Phoenix story in the news.

This is not the first time Obama has claimed to have just now learned about scandals in his own Administration from the news. I guess the big difference between Obama and Will Rogers is that when Rogers claimed all he knew is what he read in the newspapers, he actually intended to make us crack up laughing.

Comments 1-5 of 5

  • Mark Kline

    07/28/2014 10:38 AM

    You comment that President Obama's policy in the mid-east is embarrassing is a little off target. What is embarrassing is Mike Huckabee. You are a loser and a sore loser at that. Critical commentary is fine and needed in this country but comments like you made are un-patriotic and you should be ashamed of your self. What about emboldening our enemies. I am Jewish and take offense at your supposed support for Israel. Your support is political not genuine. I guess your best friend is "Jewish."

  • Belinda Woerlein

    06/08/2014 11:24 PM

    Impeach the president that wants to see this contry destroyed!!!

  • CATHY

    06/06/2014 03:03 PM

    if everyone in washington is so ignorant...we pay them six figures and benefits for life...why????

  • William M Robinson

    06/01/2014 08:18 PM

    The comment was made about having a fee-basis option for veterans to be treated at a local hospital. We already have that option as totally-disabled veterans. The PROBLEM is with the new rules under Obamacare! We used to have to give three reasons why the VA should pick up the tab. Under the NEW rules, there are FIVE that are IMPOSSIBLE to get any action from the VA!

  • Robert Moser

    05/25/2014 08:25 PM

    As a retired veteran I have to say that my experience with the V.A. has been all that it should be. I go to the V.A. hospital in Fayetteville, NC, and have received only the best and timely care. If I have an appointment for 1:15 PM the doctor sees me within 10 minutes of that time. Not once have I felt that the staff was hesitant to do all that was required to provide whatever treatment was needed. The only problem I have seen there is a need for more parking areas.
    I do hope that in the midst of all this bad news someone will give a big "Thank You" to those who are doing their job in an honorable manner.
    P.S. hook up with Jeb Bush for President and Vice-President.

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