The politics of the controversy surrounding the VA are different from the typical Beltway scandal. For one thing, there’s nothing partisan about it – both parties can express outrage without regard for scoring political points. For another, the systemic problems have been ongoing for so many years, they span multiple administrations, including Democratic and Republican presidencies.
With this in mind, turning the VA scandal into some kind of cheap political football isn’t easy – though some are trying to find a way.
The Republican National Committee, for example, announced yesterday that it’s “launching robocalls and a Twitter campaign urging Americans to call their representatives and ask for an independent investigation” of the VA. What’s wrong with the existing investigations? The RNC didn’t say, but it’s launching robocalls and a Twitter campaign anyway. Soon after, Karl Rove’s attack operation launched a negative ad in Alaska, trying to somehow connect Sen. Mark Begich (D) to the controversy.
But as Amanda Terkel reported, one statewide candidate went further than most and actually based a fundraising appeal on the VA scandal.
Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby used the troubles at the Department of Veterans Affairs Wednesday as the basis for a fundraising email attacking her opponent, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). […]In her fundraising pitch, Wehby chastises Merkley for not calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki – then asks people to donate to her campaign.
In the appeal, Wehby’s supporters are supposed to give some campaign cash in order to “help Dr. Monica Wehby stand up for our veterans.”
Terkel’s report added that Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, argued yesterday that it would be a mistake to turn the issue into “political football.”
“I wouldn’t use anything like that politically,” Miller said. “I will tell you this, I have tried since I have been chairman of this committee to work with both sides of the aisle. My ranking member [Mike Michaud (D-Maine)] receive briefings together. … But this is a bipartisan issue, we are talking about Americans, people who have worn the uniform. It should not be a political football.”
Miller might want to let the RNC, Karl Rove, and Monica Wehby know.