Shh...the Veterans Might Hear

Last month a Bush administration appointee at the Department of Veterans' Affairs sent out a memo implementing a novel way of saving money: just stop healthcare outreach programs to vets so they won't know what services they're entitled to receive. "It's not the sort of thing you'd expect from an administration that wraps itself so tightly in the flag -- not, that is, unless you've been paying attention," writes New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. "For stories like this are popping up more and more often." The White House lionizes 9/11 firefighters while cutting funding to provide them with new equipment. Bush made a point of personally congratulating rescued coal miners in Pennsylvania, while his administration's energy plans call for major increases in coal mining, coupled with reduced funds for mine safety. "The point is that there is an inexorably growing gap between the image and the reality of the Bush administration's policies," Krugman writes. "Mr. Bush is a master of photo-op populism; his handlers seek out opportunities to show him mingling with blue-collar workers. But the reality is that this administration loves 'em while the TV crews are around, then leaves 'em when it comes to actual policy. And that reality is becoming ever harder to conceal."