The Rachel Maddow Show | June 26, 2012
>>> what have we done in the last few years. doubled the backlogs. rate of inaccuracy, recent report, up to 25%. this is disgraceful. this is an insult to our veterans .
>> congressman bob filner of california suggesting not all that delicately that america has failed in our treatment of wounded veterans coming home from iraq and now afghanistan. mr. filner telling a congressional hearing a couple days ago the system we have in place now is so bad we frankly ought to blow it up. and do the v.a. totally differently. we ought to do it more like the irs. he said the current system is so bad, we have hundreds of thousands of vets waiting up to a year to even hear back about whether they're going to get the benefits they should get. joining us now, bob filner of california . i should also mention he's running for mayor of the city of san diego . congressman filner , thank you very much for being here to help us talk about this.
>> thank you, rachel. an honor to be on the best show in television.
>> flattery will get you everywhere here. you are a democrat. you're not one of these people who is idealogically committed to the idea that government knets everything wrong. why do you think we're getting this so wrong. why is this so screwed up?
>> i just want to go one step further about how bad it is. people die before they get that final adjudication or may commit suicide. it's so bad that these things occur. and i think it's a bureaucracy that has been in charge for decades that doesn't want to do anything any differently. it's veterans groups who sort of have -- they drank the cool-aid of the bureaucracy. they say, well, let's just play around the edges of it. and they're afraid to take on the system also. and i think what's really going on, rachel, is that we want to talk about the glory of war. how patriotic it is, and we don't want to focus on the cost of war, what happens when the young men and women come back. we don't want to pay too much attention to it because it undercuts what every government wants and that's support for the wars it carries out. i think democrats particularly who are anti-war like myself, have to be very pro veteran and say no matter what we thought about the war, we've got to make sure every young man and woman who gets back gets all of the care, the attention, the love, the dignity that a nation can give.
>> when i have been looking into the issue and monitoring really dramatic hearings in your home state of california about this, people talking ability not being able to get, not even get an answer. and california has some of the worst v.a. centers in dealing with this. waits up to a year long. it seems from the veterans group side, they're angry about this, upset about this. you have a difference with thel about whether or not your proposed change is the way to fix the problem, but i wonder if that disagreement is the end of a conversation or if that's the beginning. it seems to me that their anger on this issue is a starting place given how much political power they have in a country that really does respect what they have done particularly since 9/11.
>> you would think so. there's a disconnect between the grassroots fetevens and the people in washington who supposedly represent them. the people in washington have drank the cuikool-aid. they're tied into an inefficient system. as long as the system is so bad, veterans will come to them for help rather than say let's have a raed calchange. you mentioned the irs. 20 years ago or so ago, they were completely dysfunctional. now when you file your 1040 on april 15th , if you have a refund coming, you get it back in three weeks guaranteed. how did they change from one dysfunctional agency to a very modern and efficient one? they said, look, we're going to accept your claim, subject to audit. and that's what keeps us honest. we can do the same thing with veterans claims. when we have certified veterans officers all over the country, the american legion , vfw, if you're helpful to the veteran in filling out the forms, we should accept it subject to audit, then they get their check, get their life together, and move on right away.
>> bob filner , thank you for venlting your spleen the way you did in this hearing. it put a spotlight on the issue.
>> the american people have got to understand we sends the kids to war. you have to take care of them when they come home.
>> appreciate your team tonight. this policy that congressman filner is proposing without the veterans groups onboard with it, i'm not sure it's going to be the way that we proceed in trying to fix this, right? people who -- all of the different stake holders need to be on board, but you know what, all of the different stakeholders need to get on board with something. this is an unsustainable ethical problem. this is a problem we made, a problem we created, a promise we broke. this has to be fixed.
>> coming up at the end of the show , we have discovered a way to expose to the light the rage that is lurking inside the most soft spoken man in washington . involves flooding and a libertarian from kentucky and a lot of flying spittle. that's