U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet

Newspapers across the state are reporting that liberal U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is bringing as his guest for tonight’s State of the Union Address a Vietnam veteran whose daughter committed suicide while serving in the Air Force.  We cannot imagine the grief of this family – our thoughts and prayers are with them.  According to CBS, Bennet characterized his guest as such:

“Bennet said Tuesday that Wayne Telford has worked to raise awareness about veteran suicides since his daughter, Tech. Sgt. Brooke Leigh Caffrey, took her own life in 2012.”

We can’t help but feel like this demonstration of support for veterans is overcompensating for Bennet’s inability unwillingness to stand up for Colorado’s veterans in two high-profile situations in 2014.

First, Bennet sat on his hands along with Reps. Degette, Polis, and Perlmutter when Republican Rep. Mike Coffman called for Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki’s resignation due to incompetence and willful deceit that led to the negligence that led to veterans’ deaths who waited and waited and waited for health care at VA facilities.  Here’s what we said at the time about Bennet and his BFFs in the “No-Action Caucus”:

“Faced with a mounting pile of evidence of the VA’s incompetence and willful deceitfulness, the majority of Colorado’s Democratic Congressional Caucus felt there was no need to demand a change in leadership.  Apparently, this whole unmitigated disaster was not a failure in leadership.  Then again, with Gov. John Hickenlooper being the head of the Colorado Democrats right now, it’s possible Colorado Dems aren’t quite sure what leadership looks like anymore.”

Then, when sh!t hit the fan in the construction of the new VA hospital, Coffman raised a stink and worked to get the deal back on track. Despite just retiring as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which surely brings political clout, neither Bennet nor outgoing Sen. Udall could get a deal through the Senate.  Even when a 1,000 construction workers were laid off due to the clusterf&@k, Bennet could not seem to find the gravitas to shove something through the Senate.  To that we ask – could not or would not?

It’s great that Bennet is helping to highlight the terrible issue of veteran suicides, but we have to ask where was Bennet when health resources for veterans were in trouble?  He certainly wasn’t an advocate then.