In last week’s three-hour Republican presidential debate the word “veteran” was mentioned a grand total of two times. While our nation faces many pressing issues from domestic job growth to income inequality, veterans need to hear more than the utterly useless: “I’ll take care of our vets.” Although this is not a problem of the Republican Party alone, few presidential candidates have said more than 15 seconds of fluff at the end of an interview response or campaign speech.
Despite the absence in the Republican debate, candidates have offered some insight about how they would fix the Department of Veterans Affairs. In late August, Jeb Bush released a VA improvement plan that promises to streamline a Web-based scheduling system, increase veterans’ treatment choices, and expand protection for whistleblowers. More recently, Ben Carson took a different approach, suggesting that instead of improving the current system we should eliminate the VA altogether.