Hall: Chris, did the President do a good job of explaining not accepting the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius, and not of Shinseki?
Matthews: No, it was not a clear distinction and I think this has an echo unfortunately for the president of his own behavior. He was not alert of the problem of the rollout on his major piece of legislation the Affordable Care Act. He let it go all of those months until we had the catastrophe. So this lack of alertness, I think people, the one thing I like about the election nights, I love them like most of us in this business do, because of the crackle, somebody wins- somebody loses. People want to see that in the government. They want to see the government to respond to a situation quickly and move, make decisions and be efficient and don’t waste your money, and take care of the people they are supposed to take care of. We all feel for General Shinseki, but what about the guy waiting right now for a doctor, is waiting three or for months who may have lost a limb or infection or who may really need help with something, and that is the concern. It is like the Catholic Church, my church, they wait and worried about the priests and the cardinals the bishops, but they should have been worried about altar boys. That is who they should have been worried about.
Hall: The President was asked about the scapegoating, if that is to be seen as what happened here with Shinseki back to your criticism of the president—
Matthews: That’s a negative term, it’s a negative term but it is appropriate. Someone has to take responsibilities, accountability. These jobs, I go back to they are not honorifics, they are executive positions, where you are responsible if things go wrong. And some people don’t move quick enough, and maybe Sebelius should have resigned, maybe this guy should have offered his resignation a couple of days ago. I think the president acted today, it’s better he reacted today than tomorrow or Monday. But it would have been better two days ago.
Matthews is exactly right. "The guy waiting for the doctor" should be this nation's focus, not how this plays politically. President Obama and Senate Democrats have played politics with this issue. That's unacceptable. This shouldn't be about how the issue plays out politically. It should only be about fixing the VA so our vets get the care they've been promised.
That means giving the VA secretary the ability to fire corrupt, inept or dishonest employees. That means shifting more veterans to private or public hospitals to lighten the VA's load. That means Congress paying attention to the warning signs instead of ignoring them until American patriots have needlessly died waiting for care.
The signs were there. President Obama admitted that he knew about this problem 7+ years ago. Now it's time for President Obama to actually fix something rather than just giving speeches. This time, we need statesmanship, not gamesmanship.