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It’s beginning to look like the Democrats are giving Tom Harkin’s Senate seat away. First, Bruce Braley insulted Iowans by criticizing Chuck Grassley for being a hog farmer. Now Braley is fighting for his political life for ignoring his committee assignment on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee:

Over a two-year period, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign.

A few months later, news reports exposed systemic problems in patient care that have since resulted in the resignation head of the federal department of veterans affairs.

Of course, Democrats were quick to defend Braley:

Democrats who back Braley, a trial lawyer and seven-year congressman who is now running for U.S. Senate, say he has been an outspoken voice for veterans and it’s wrong for his GOP rival, Joni Ernst, to “try to inject partisan politics into veterans issues.” He missed the veterans affairs meeting on the day of the three fundraisers because he went to another congressional hearing, his aides said.

Veterans don’t need someone who’s all talk. What they need most is someone who’s committed to solving the VA crisis. Clearly, Rep. Braley doesn’t fit that description. By comparison, Ms. Ernst does. In fact, she’s currently away from the campaign trail so she can fulfill her commitment in the Iowa National Guard:

Republicans are appealing to Iowans to help campaign for Joni Ernst while she’s on leave for two weeks for active duty training.

Ernst, a candidate for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat and a battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard, leaves Friday for Fort McCoy for annual training.

“During this time, she will not be able to fund-raise, walk in parades, door knock or do other political activity,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a letter posted on the party’s website this afternoon. “We know Bruce Braley and his liberal D.C. pals will continue their slash-and-burn campaign against Joni while she’s on duty, so anything you can do to help us until Joni returns is greatly appreciated.”

If Braley continues making major mistake after major mistake, he’ll be Ms. Ernst’s best weapon against Bruce Braley. That seems likely considering the fact that he wasn’t where he said he was:

Braley’s aides said he skipped it to attend a 9:36 a.m. Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting on the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking scandal. The congressional record marked Braley “present,” but reveals that he offered no testimony during the three-hour hearing, which ran until 12:45 p.m.

Video caught no sight of Braley. His seat isn’t always visible, but the multiple times it’s within camera view during the window the Veterans Affairs committee was in session (10:19 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.), Braley wasn’t seated, a Register review of C-SPAN 3 and committee footage found.

Skipping a House VA Committee hearing for a trio of fundraisers is bad enough. Saying that you’re participating in another commitee hearing might get you off the hook…if you’re where you said you were. Apparently, he couldn’t even manage that.

This race isn’t over by a long shot. Still, it won’t help Democrats if Braley continues his litany of major mistakes. Insulting hog farmers in Iowa is as foolish as insulting Packers fans in Wisconsin. Attending a trio of fundraisers while saying you’re in a committee hearing is foolish, too.

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Most of the doves who’ve spoken out in favor of the Obama administration’s appeasement policy towards the Russian-Ukrainian war frequently cite the fact that there’s no appetite for the United States to get involved in another war. This isn’t surprising since strawman arguments are President Obama’s specialty.

In this instance, though, it’s a non sequitur argument.

The US can and should use its military to change the equation in eastern Ukraine. It’s just that that shouldn’t mean deploying US troops to Ukraine. It should take the form of putting the military’s most lethal weaponry in the hands of Ukrainian troops.

The Ukrainian military has been asking the US for military support for months now. President Obama has rejected their requests. With there now being no doubt that the Russians are firing on airplanes, it’s time for President Obama to stop being the wimpiest president in my lifetime. It’s time he stopped dithering.

President Reagan took down the Soviet empire. President Obama isn’t doing anything to stand in President Putin’s way to reconstitute the former Soviet empire. What’s most disturbing is that President Obama apparently doesn’t recognize the peril he’s putting our allies in.

Why doesn’t President Obama understand that Russia’s slicing up of Ukraine just emboldens President Putin to attempt to threaten other nations? Doesn’t President Obama care about foreign policy?

President Reagan brought down the Soviet empire by confronting the Soviets whenever they tried meddling in other countries’ affairs. He showed them that he was committed to arming anyone who opposed the Soviets. He forced the Soviets to spend more money on their expansionist goals than they’d anticipated.

Because the Soviet economy was pretty much worthless at the time, he forced them to spend themselves into the dust bin of history. By comparison, President Obama is essentially giving President Putin a free pass with Ukraine, which enables them to spend more money on destabilizing other neighboring countries.

There’s no reason to think that the Russian economy is any stronger today than the Soviet economy was in the 1980s. Similarly, there’s no reason to think that forcing Russia to devote most of its spending on military ventures will endear itself to the Russian people.

While President Reagan was forcing the Soviets to spend tons of money on foreign military interventions, he also undercut the Soviet government in the eyes of its people. President Obama is totally missing that opportunity.

Instead, he’s playing the 98-lb. weakling who gets sand kicked in his face while President Putin plays the part of the menacing bully. That’s why the latest Fox News poll shows people thinking that 75% of people think President Putin is getting the better of things while a pathetic 14% think President Obama is getting the better of Putin.

We need a real president. We don’t need a fundraiser-in-chief. We need a president who rethinks his strategy after it’s shown it’s a disaster.

Unfortunately, instead of having a real president that knows what to do on the world stage, we’ve got President Obama.

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If I hear another pundit talk about the bad optics hurting President Obama while Israel kills terrorists and people are murdered by Russian-trained military terrorists or while south-of-the-border cartels ignore the Tex-Mex border, I’ll scream.

This isn’t about the optics of going on one fundraising junket after another. This isn’t about whether President Obama can stay in touch with his national security team.

President Obama is justifiably getting hammered because he appears to be indifferent to solving the nation’s biggest crises. When Jennifer Palmieri says that President Obama didn’t want to change his schedule because he didn’t want to give “the American people…a false sense of crisis”, she’s reading from President Obama’s delusional script. I’m not worried about false crises. I’m worried about the real crises that President Obama is ignoring.

This wouldn’t be a topic of conversation if Americans got the sense that President Obama a) took his job seriously or b) knew how to handle these foreign policy crises. Clearly, he’s in over his head. Clearly, he thinks that the world is better off without the United State throwing its weight around.

It’s one thing for the White House press secretary talks about the tranquil world we’re living in. It’s another when our Secretary of State parrots that notion.

News flash to the White House: there are bad people out there committing acts of war. There are people who are flooding the United States with tons of illegal immigrants. There are militaries that are trying to gobble up other countries.

Meanwhile, President Obama meanders from hamburger shop to burger joint, from coffee shop to coffee shop while chatting with “ordinary folks.” What’s needed is a leader who understands that the world needs the United State to bring moral clarity to these crises. The world is a terrible, frightening neighborhood when appeasers like President Obama pull the United States from the world stage.

That doesn’t mean US boots on the ground. It means, in this instance, that the US arms and trains Ukrainians so that they can push back against Putin’s Russia. If the US doesn’t do that, then we should prepare for more situations where Putin’s Russia keeps expanding their campaign of militarism.

Last week, I wrote this post highlighting DFL Chairman Ken Martin’s PolyMet temper tantrum. Clearly, he didn’t want to talk about that thorny issue. This editorial highlights how ridiculous Chairman Martin’s arguments sounded:

State Sen. Karin Housley, who is the lieutenant governor candidate pick of Scott Honour who is seeking the Republican nomination in the Aug. 12 primary, said her failure to file was an honest mistake and she had nothing to hide. In fact, the filing she made after the deadline was the same as the last one she had done as required as a state senator.

So she was clearly wrong in not filing on time. And Martin did the political party partisan-thing that would have also been done by his Republican counterpart if the late filer had been, say, Gov. Mark Dayton.

But what’s really interesting and also quite telling about the release was not the usual DFL-GOP banter. It was the mention of PolyMet as an investment held by Housley — all $300 of an investment.

Yep, that was the lone investment of Housley singled out in Martin’s news release, based on her state Senate financial disclosure. No other investment or investments. Just one, PolyMet, the copper/nickel/precious metals project near Hoyt Lakes that is in a far-too long environmental review phase.

Aside from the tit-for-tat chatter that both parties feel obligated to spewing, the lesson from Chairman Martin’s tantrum is that PolyMet is a poisonous topic for him. The only time that issue isn’t a a negative for Martin is when he’s talking to the environmental activists in the DFL.

That’s a big problem for him because, though that part of his party is the dominant part of the party, environmenal activists are just a small portion of his party numerically. If he alienates the construction and trade unions by catering to the environmental activists too much, that’ll hurt his party this November.

But hey, let’s zero in a $300 investment in PolyMet by a running mate of one of four possible GOP gubernatorial candidates.

“…. this has nothing to do with PolyMet,” Martin said in a telephone interview with the Mesabi Daily News for last Sunday’s story. It’s all about a candidate’s transparency, he stressed.

That, of course, leap-frogged the question as to why PolyMet was targeted in the news release.

Martin said PolyMet “just popped out” from Housley,’s Senate financial statement to DFL Party researchers in advance of Martin’s news release on the issue. But, of course, no other investment of Housley “just popped out.”

I wonder if the researchers who scoured Sen. Housley’s financial statement are environmental activists. It’s certainly a legitimate question. Why would a $300 investment catch the researchers’ attention? Sen. Housley’s committee assignments aren’t related to PolyMet.

Chairman Martin doesn’t owe Sen. Housley an explanation. She should’ve filed the report on time. However, Chairman Martin owes mining activists an explanation why he’s singling out their industry in his statement. Will Chairman Martin show a spine for once? Will the DFL stand unconditionally with the miners? Will Chairman Martin finally tell the environmental activist wing of his party that, this time, he’s siding with Iron Range families?

If he won’t stand unconditionally with the miners, the miners should vote for the pro-mining party. This year, that’s the GOP. This year, that isn’t the DFL.

It’s impossible to serve 2 masters. That’s what Chairman Martin is attempting to do. The miners should demand more than token expressions of loyalty from the DFL. It’s difficult seeing that happen in the near future.

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This article is exceptionally insightful in that it exposes Vladimir Putin for who he really is:

Why do many Western analysts contend that Vladimir Putin is outsmarting everybody like a skillful chess master? Can it be a massive illusion fed by Kremlin propaganda and blindly supported by analysts and policy makers? I agree with Paul Gregory that Putin deserves a failing scorecard and would add that he is erratically moving his country towards disaster. A bully is usually far from intelligent; he can be dangerous and evil, he can possess powerful resources, but that does not make him the forward-looking strategist many in the West pretend he is.

Putin’s economic model prevents him from being the international superpower he’s pretending to be. It isn’t that Russia is a superpower. It’s that it’s acting like it’s a superpower. Thinking that Putin is a chess master because he’s having his way with President Obama is like thinking you’re a tough buy because you can beat up a 5th-grader.

Putin is delusional because he thinks that the former Soviet empire was a great federation of nations. The truth is that it operated as a great federation because liberals like John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter treated it like a great federation.

Only President Reagan understood its fatal flaw. Only President Reagan exploited that fatal flaw. President Reagan out-strategized and outmaneuvered the giant Russian bear. He expanded the use of Radio Free Europe to talk with the citizens. He checked them militarily whenever they thought about fulfilling their expansionist ideology. Most importantly, President Reagan spoke to the dissidents’ hearts by telling them about the virtues of liberty.

Let’s understand something. Vladimir Putin is a thug. He isn’t as despicable as Stalin but he’s still a thug. Calling him a thug doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous to smaller opponents. It just means that he’ll suffer the same fate as Gorbachev if he’s confronted by another Reagan.

The only way to deal with Moscow is to act firmly and decisively, imposing sectorial sanctions and providing serious military help to Ukraine, sharply increasing the economic and political pressure. The faster the West acts, the more lives will be saved and more destruction will be prevented.

President Reagan understood the necesssity of economic and benign military confrontation. Technically, President Reagan didn’t fire a shot to defeat the Soviet empire. That doesn’t mean he didn’t sell military weaponry to the Soviet’s neighbors. He let them know that he’d checkmate them wherever their expansionist goals took them.

There’s no denying that Putin is a major player on the international stage. There’s no denying that his expansionist goals are real. That doesn’t mean he’s the unstoppable superman that President Obama is helping through his inactions.

President Obama’s policies just make a thug look like a superpower. That doesn’t mean President Putin’s Russia is worthy of superpower status. That’s just what happens when he’s matched against a lightweight US president.

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Much as Jane Harman tried defending President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq essentially defenseless, the truth is that losing the Iraq War is President Obama’s fault. Appearing on Fox News Sunday’s All Star Panel, Harman tried telling the panel that it’s Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki’s fault:

WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, as we discussed with Mike Rogers, this is our worst nightmare. We’re not talking about a terrorist group, organization. We’re talking about a terrorist army and possible state. How big a threat is ISIS? How much does it go to the Middle East and potentially to the U.S. homeland? And I have to ask, how did President Obama let it get to this point?
JANE HARMAN, D-CALIF., FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: This started a long time with a guy named Zarqawi in Iraq, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq.
WALLACE: Who we killed.
HARMAN: Who we killed, and we thought that we had quieted down that particular group. A guy named Jobi York (ph) is now a scholar at the Wilson Center and is writing about this on the front page of “The Washington Post”. We thought we killed them but they’re back.
I wouldn’t lay this at Obama’s feet. Remember that the Iraqis refused to agree to a status of forces agreement to keep us in Iraq. And it’s one of the reasons –
WALLACE: There are arguments about how hard President Obama pushed.
HARMAN: Well, OK, mistakes were made and supporting Maliki, who is a feckless leader, Tom Friedman called him a jerk today, that’s a little harsh. But hey, and unable to control his country is a bad thing.

Had President Obama gotten serious about negotiating a status of forces agreement, we would’ve had a military in Iraq to stabilize Iraq. Had the US kept 15,000-20,000 troops in Iraq, ISIS wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to establish this caliphate. It isn’t that the US military would’ve continued military operations.

The mere presence would’ve been a major deterrent against the militaristic operations of an ISIS.

As is often the case, George Will summarized things beautifully:

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, one does wonder, we can hear from Jane on this, what we’re getting if we’re getting the value from the $50 billion we spend on our intelligence service, but General Douglas MacArthur said every military disaster can be explained by two words, too late.

It certainly is too late to think we’re going to condition aid on vast political reforms in Iraq, which are going to mollify these factions that have been at each other’s throats for centuries.

And Julie says, you put heavy weapons in there, when they got the Mosul, the ISIS people, they didn’t just empty the jails and the banks, they emptied the arsenals. Seventy-two tanks they came away with, 700 Humvees, thousands of tons of ammunition that will now be fired at the government of Iraq.

And just to get a sense of the humanitarian disaster that’s engulfing the region, there are today more Syrian children of school age in Lebanon than there are Lebanese children of school age, as the Syrian population scatters to neighboring countries.

President Obama was opposed to keeping a residual force in Iraq. It was always his political goal to campaign on ending the war in Iraq. It isn’t that he wanted Iraq to fail. It’s that that consideration wasn’t important to him. Ending the war in Iraq was everything to his political base going into 2012.

Predicating an administration’s national security policy on purely political considerations is a recipe for disaster. Predictably, that’s what we got.

Brit Hume added these observations:

So, the situation in Iraq that the president described in the sound bite that you played before we started here is now gone, forfeited, in my view, by this administration, and by Iraqi President Maliki, who is, you know, a very ineffective and I think weak leader who has made a multitude of mistakes. However, there’s been no sign that this president has been deeply engaged with him, trying to prevent him from doing so, and I think that the leverage that we would have had, had we been able to keep a residual force there, would have helped him do that, if he’d been interested. He seems not to have been.

Maliki was always an ineffective leader. Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador to Iraq during the Bush administration, was Maliki’s babysitter. His job, essentially, was to prevent Maliki from doing the things Iran wanted him to do.

The Obama administration pulled the military out of Iraq, then ignored the political situation in Iraq. President Obama didn’t pay attention to Iraq. That’s why they didn’t see ISIS coming until it was too late. Within 5 years, they will have plotted a new wave of terrorist attacks against the US, western Europe and Israel.

That isn’t a bold prediction. It’s trusting these terrorists at their word. They said that’s their goal. There’s no reason not to believe them because they’ve consistently followed through on their threats.

President Obama forfeited the war that President Bush had won. Now he owns that disaster.

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President Obama is rightfully getting blamed for losing the war in Iraq. Last Tuesday, he confidently said “The world is less violent than it has ever been. It is healthier than it has ever been. It is more tolerant than it has ever been.” On Thursday, he was forced to address Iraq’s military crisis, saying “I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold.” Hours later, he predictably ruled out boots on the ground.

For all of his mistakes, President Bush still managed to win the war in Iraq. Immediately upon winning election in 2008, President-elect Obama started working on getting out of Iraq. I don’t think he wanted to lose the war. That’s just what happened.

With ISIS now controlling one-third of Iraq and with the military hardware they captured, Iraq is lost, thanks mostly to President Obama, with an assist from Nouri al-Maliki.

It’s just a matter of time until ISIS controls enough of Iraq to establish the biggest terrorist training base in the history of the Middle East. It’s fast approaching that status now.

Unfortunately, that’s just part of the story.

President Obama said that the war in Afghanistan is winding down. He said that just before releasing the Taliban 5. It’s likely that the Taliban and “core al-Qa’ida” didn’t get the President’s memo. It’s just a matter of time before Mullah Obama and Ayman al-Zawahiri control Afghanistan.

Had President Obama been serious about establishing residual military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, ISIS wouldn’t have gotten the stronghold on central Iraq that it’s got now. Mullah Omar and Ayman al-Zawahiri wouldn’t literally be counting the days until they retook control of Afghanistan.

When campaigning in 2008, then-Candidate Obama repeatedly spoke about how he’d do things differently than President Bush. He talked about how America would be liked again. I took that to mean that state sponsors of terrorism and major terrorist organizations wouldn’t fear the United States. Further, I took that to mean President Putin would see the U.S. as a paper tiger, which would give Putin the expansionist opportunities he’d prayed for.

President Obama is on the cusp of history. No other U.S. president has lost 2 wars. President Obama is about to change that. Billions of dollars were spent. Thousands of lives were lost. Victory was within our grasp in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then President Obama threw both victories away because domestic politics dictated it and because it just wasn’t a priority with President Obama.

Jimmy Carter used to be the worst national security president in my lifetime. President Obama is set to eclipse that mark by leaps and bounds.

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I’d originally planned on Part II of this series to deal with Afghanistan but I’m changing that because of what’s happening in Iraq and DC. First, let’s look at what’s happening in Iraq from Lt. Col. Ralph Peters’ perspective:

Here’s the partial transcript of the interview:

RALPH PETERS:When the troops are all gathered in a camp, it’s easier to hit them, now when they’re stretched out on roads, in a variety vehicles, including a lot of civilian vehicles and clothes. How do you tell them from the refugees? So the only way to do the air strikes is to put special ops spotters on the ground, we’re not going to do that. The only real way to stop this onslaught, if the Iraqis can, would be to put troops on the ground, we’re not going to do that.

This is President Obama’s real legacy. The creation of the first jihadi state in modern history stretching from central Syria to central Iraq and now approaching Baghdad, all because President Obama saw everything from a political lens, he’s going to end the war in Iraq, refused to negotiate seriously for a residual U.S. presence.

Just to put this is perspective for viewers. With this jihadi conquest of Mosul. With jihadi forces approaching Baghdad. This is shaping up to be the biggest Arab jihadi victory since the Twelfth Century. 1187 and the fall of Crusader Jerusalem. This is momentous. I can’t overstate the importance. Obama’s jihadi state in the heart of the Middle East.

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All the death, all the bleeding, all the money. For naught. Simply because Obama saw things in political and not strategic terms. I do have to clarify one thing: Air strikes could help impede the jihadi movement, it’s just now that the bees have left the hive, it’s harder to find them.

President Obama put a higher priority on getting out of Iraq than he put on defeating the jihadists. That’s painfully obvious. Winning wasn’t a priority with his administration. Thanks to President Obama’s unseriousness, Iraq is “shaping up to be the biggest Arab jihadi victory since the Twelfth Century.”

Back in Washington, reporters are taking shots at President Obama’s foreign policy:

What Carney said is instructive:

“Given what we’re seeing now in Iraq, can you still claim those as two of your signature achievements?” Karl asked. “There is no question that the president pledged to end the war in Iraq, and he did,” Carney replied. “There’s no war in Iraq right now?” Karl pressed. “U.S. combat missions in Iraq,” Carney clarified.

He later asserted that “core” al-Qaeda, based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been “unquestionably been severely compromised and decimated.” “Isn’t it equally dangerous, or arguably more dangerous, to have an al-Qaeda-linked group in control of major Iraqi cities than to have them in the mountains of Pakistan?” Karl asked. Carney closed by reminding Karl that the September 11th attacks were organized by al-Qaeda out of the Af-Pak region and not Iraq.

That’s frightening. The jihadists aren’t thinking about 9/11. They’re planning their next attack.

Killing the terrorists that planned 9/11 was certainly appropriate. That’s the important first part but it isn’t the only part. Preventing future terrorist attacks is important, too. That’s something the Obama administration has utterly failed at. ISIS is proof of the Obama administration’s failure to stop the next wave of terrorist attacks because they aren’t doing a thing to stop terrorists from building a new training base.

Had President Obama negotiated a status of forces agreement with al-Maliki, we could’ve prevented this disaster. That isn’t just my opinion. It’s Gen. Jack Keane’s opinion, too:

It isn’t surprising that people, from Vladimir Putin to ISIS, think President Obama’s foreign policy has been a blessng to them.

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Gen. Shinseki has promised he’ll start firing senior staff at the Phoenix VA Hospital:

Earlier Friday morning, Shinseki publicly apologized for the failures in the VA system, while stopping short of offering his resignation. However, responding to an interim inspector general report which found “systemic” problems with clinics lying about patient wait times, Shinseki said he would move to oust senior leaders at the Phoenix VA, where allegations of improper scheduling practices first surfaced.

Gen. Shinseki might not get the opportunity to fire those administrators at the Phoenix VA:

President Obama plans to meet with embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in the Oval Office on Friday morning, amid mounting calls for his resignation.

The two plan to meet at 10:15 a.m. ET. Obama, in an interview, said he plans to have a “serious conversation” with Shinseki about whether he can stay in his job.

It isn’t a stretch to think we’ll get word before 11:00 am ET that Gen. Shinseki has resigned his position and that President Obama has accepted the resignation with great sorrow.

The ‘Shinseki Watch’ appears to be in its final minutes.

Shinseki, speaking to advocates for homeless veterans, said he initially believed the problems were “limited and isolated.” “I no longer believe that. It is systemic,” Shinseki said. “I will not defend it, because it is indefensible.”

What planet was Gen. Shinseki monitoring? He couldn’t have paid attention to the VA hospitals because the evidence was abundant that the problem was widespread.

UPDATE: It’s official. President Obama is announcing as I type that Gen. Shinseki has resigned. I’ll have more as the information comes in.

More Democrats are calling for Gen. Shinseki’s resignation. Translation: Blah, blah…Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We get it. Democrats are outraged, outraged I tell you, about the VA scandal.

Frankly, I don’t care that they’re expressing outrage, mostly because I’m thinking that it’s faux outrage. I don’t care that firing Gen. Shinseki won’t fix the VA’s problems, either, because that’s missing the point. The VA was a disaster before Gen. Shinseki was confirmed as the VA secretary.

Gen. Shinseki must go because he’s utterly incompetent. The situation got significantly worse during his watch. Gen. Shinseki has to go because he isn’t capable of fixing the problem. Whether you’re mad as hell or whether you’re mildly upset about the VA Crisis (Yes, it’s a crisis.) or whether you’ve barely noticed it, the point is that this crisis must get fixed ASAP. That’s because it’s immoral to let another vet die because of the government’s corruption and incompetence.

George Will took a big step in solving the VA’s crisis this past Sunday on Fox News Sunday:

Here’s Will’s complete response:

WILL: You solve that problem Republican in the following way. Kirsten says, look, Amtrak has trouble and so does U.S. Air. The difference is airlines, as a lot of them could tell you, go out of business. Amtrak is run by a government that prints money and therefore can never let Amtrak go out of business no matter how many billions it loses year after year after year. With the Republicans, it seems (ph), we should say is this — this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Americans are here and there on the interstate system. When the government decided to build that, that the country needed it, it didn’t go into the highway building business. It didn’t start a federal highway construction company.

It dealt with the private sector. And it got done. They can do the same thing with this. There’s no reason in the world why, if I can use this word, it’s anathema to Democrats, give people vouchers to be redeemed in our private hospital system.

Gen. Shinseki is a genuine military hero. Unfortunately, he was also utterly unqualified to run the VA Department. The remedy that Will suggested just wasn’t used. It isn’t that Gen. Shinseki didn’t have the authority to send vets to private hospitals. He had that authority. He just didn’t use it.

Thanks to the corruption within the VA system that’s been exposed, I’d argue that it’s time to utilize that option far more frequently.

Democrats were late to this crisis. Now that they’re scrambling to look like they’re finally interested, they’re calling for Gen. Shinseki’s resignation. They’re right in that he needs to go. What’s irritating is that these senators think calling for Gen. Shinseki’s resignation will provide them with much-needed political cover. What’s disgusting is that they aren’t that interested in the solution.

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