Rick Jensen, 2/26/2015 [Archive]

Secret Benefits to Stupid Comments

By Rick Jensen

An offensively stupid comment by influential and presumably smart people sometimes brings awareness to a subject that would otherwise be largely ignored.

Example number one: There would be less reporting recently on the plight of homeless veterans had Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald not lied about his military experience.

In a photo op gone wrong, the Secretary chatted with a homeless veteran in Los Angeles, videotaped by a CBS News crew. During the exchange, McDonald asked the veteran where he served. The man replied, "Special Forces."

"Oh," replied the former Proctor and Gamble CEO. "Special Forces! What years? I was in Special Forces!"

When caught, he admitted he lied. The good news is that his braggadocio created a news cycle featuring the backdrop of homeless veterans for a much longer period of time than his simple photo op could ever produce.

The more often the story was mentioned on air and online, the more Americans became aware of this tragedy.

Some veterans groups have forgiven him while others now say he is untrustworthy.

There are more significant reasons not to trust Mr. McDonald.

First, his erratic behavior at a Congressional hearing during which he tried to defend the VA instead of presenting a plan to fix the problems plaguing the largest medical bureaucracy in the country. This included a tirade against a Congressman in which the Secretary's meltdown included the childish scold, "I've run a large company, sir. What have you done?"

Fortunately, Congressman Mike Coffman maintained his focus on the issue of caring for veterans and chose not to join McDonald in the schoolyard playground by countering with his service in Iraq.

Second, McDonald lied about how many VA employees had been fired under his watch.

First it was "thousands," then "60," then closer to eight.

Another example of unintentional selflessness comes from Vice President Joe Biden, who buys his shoes not by their color but by their flavor.

He felt compelled to publicly announce he knows Somali people and that some of them are his friends because he rides in their taxicabs at the Wilmington, Del. Amtrak station.

Suspecting easy fodder for their "fact-checking" blogs, newspapers sent reporters to Wilmington.

They spoke with a Nigerian cabbie and a driver from Sierra Leone. They said there are no Somali cab drivers in Wilmington. Further investigation proved this to be true.

No Wilmington Somali cabbies, except those idling in the movie playing behind Joe Biden's aviator glasses.

The good news is this needless self-aggrandizing fable put a couple more days into the stories of Minnesota Somalis being recruited by Islamic jihadis, something most Americans likely didn't know.

Consider this: Biden was chatting up reporters at the White House on the administration's painfully crafted "violent extremism" topic that clumsily pretends radical Islamists are not driven by a religious ideology.

Biden's puffery blew that one apart, as his odd story inspired editors nationwide to publish more stories of Somalis in America such as reports of radical Islamists recruiting Somalis in Minneapolis, now known as "Little Mugadishu."

The Washington Times reports,"The State Department has helped to relocate tens of thousands of refugees from the war-torn African nation of Somalia to Minnesota, where they can take advantage of some of America's most generous welfare and charity programs. But the effort is having the unintended consequence of creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state's safety net and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups."

Yes, Misters McDonald and Biden should be replaced.

Mr. McDonald can't even fix the veterans' benefit "choice cards" that are scandalously valid only for vets who live 40 miles from their VA "as the crow flies," not as the car or bus drives.

Biden's administration believes radical Islam can be overcome with a good jobs program.

Fortunately, their incompetence gives reporters opportunities to highlight problems otherwise too widely ignored.

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©Copyright 2015 Rick Jensen, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Rick Jensen is Delaware's award-winning conservative talk show host on 1150AM WDEL and 93.7FM HD3, Streaming live on WDEL.com from 1pm — 4pm EST. Contact Rick at rick@wdel.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jensen1150WDEL.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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