Just what the doctor ordered? Longtime politico to lead Ebola response

If you’ve been watching the story of Ebola in America unfold, with public-health officials’ response bordering on sheer incompetence, you’ve probably been thinking to yourself, “You know what would really make everything better and give the public a dose of confidence? Putting a long-time political operative in charge of the whole thing.” I mean, I know I’ve been thinking just that exact thing right there.

Apparently, that is what President Obama was thinking. He reportedly today will name Ron Klain as his new “Ebola czar.”

Who is Ron Klain? He is an attorney by training who has served as chief of staff for two vice presidents (Al Gore and Joe Biden), a staffer on Capitol Hill and a lobbyist for Fannie Mae. He is, in short, a creature of the public sector.

And what in his public-sector record made the president think he was the right pick to come in and right the ship concerning Ebola? Was it his successful work on the Gore Recount Committee? (Let’s ask President Gore.) The judgment he showed in approving of a presidential visit to Solyndra months before the taxpayer-subsidized company filed for bankruptcy? (Hey, once you start picking winners and losers, you’re gonna win some and lose some.) The great success his recent boss, Vice President Biden, had in his efforts to improve the lot of working families, to keep post-war Iraq on track, and to identify shovel-ready stimulus jobs?

Look, Klain might be a smart and charming guy. And he certainly has experience in working within the federal government’s bureaucratic structure. But the fact that Klain has never managed anything larger than the staff of an elected official leaves one wondering whether Obama selected him for such a prominent, immediate, large-scale job because it is hard for this president to understand that public-sector life isn’t everything. When you view everything first as a problem of government and/or politics, you’re bound to reach first for a solution of government and/or politics. And that looks to be what Klain is.

As moves to bolster public confidence go, this isn’t a very good one.

Reader Comments 0

120 comments
FIGMO2
FIGMO2

219 comments over at the NYTimes. Not many displaying confidence in Obama's choice.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/us/ron-klain-chief-of-staff-to-2-vice-presidents-is-named-ebola-czar.html

Members of the public health community expressed surprise.

"When are they going to stop making mistakes?" said Robert Murphy, the director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "We need a czar, but optimally a strong public health expert. I am so disappointed. This is not what we need."

Physician Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said, "It's clear that there's a desperate desire for an organized approach to dealing with this outbreak. I don't necessarily think we need a disease-specific czar — we have one for HIV — but more of an emerging infectious diseases/biosecurity coordinator who reports to the president."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/17/obama-ebola-czar-ron-klain/17429121/

Obama can't seem to get out of his own way.  


sssinff
sssinff

Maybe he should have appointed a Baptist minister. The GOP seem far more receptive to religion than science these days.

IReportYouWhineTheGreat
IReportYouWhineTheGreat

 “As we continue to gain new information about this horrible disease, our public health officials should take every precaution to make sure that it doesn’t spread. I support a temporary travel ban to affected countries in West Africa with an exception for military and health workers. Scientists and public health experts at the CDC are in the best position to guide our response to this crisis, but our leaders in Washington must provide clear, bipartisan and strong leadership as well as the resources we need to stop the spread of Ebola.”


michelle nunn, not on message.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Surgeon Generals have usually turned out to be more of a joke than a help for an administration.  Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Clinton's Surgeon General  is still available if Barry wants to reconsider his nominee. 


Don't know if she is up to date on Ebola, but she has some new ways to entertain yourself between outbreaks.

IReportYouWhineTheGreat
IReportYouWhineTheGreat

It's just black nations dying in Africa, who cares, right? Just make sure we cover ourselves politically and we've done that. Now we can spin the message and protect our administration while only common American people carry all the risk, including death. If they start dying in droves, klain will have the "the republicans did it" message out in no time.


Where is tonight's party on the taxpayer's dime?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Alright, let's try this again.

There's no help for a president who can't help himself.

Mr. Klain is uniquely positioned to help Mr. Obama counter such questions and rein in a story that has sometimes seemed to spiral out of the White House’s control, said one Democratic operative.

“He’ll control the message better than most people would, which is really important from an economic standpoint, from a health standpoint, but it’s also important from a political perspective,” the operative said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.---New York Times

Nevermind...Klain was appointed to help Obama dig himself out of the hole he's in.

I was hopin' for a General Honore' type....one who wouldn't hesitate to ask...

"Are you stuck on stupid?"

LUV'D that guy.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Just to make you worry,  why does he pick on ya'll ?

The_Real_Centrist
The_Real_Centrist

Kyle:  Several GOP congressman have called for Tom Frieden to be replaced because of a perception that he has not performed well with CDC's response to the latest Ebola outbreak.  Well, Obama has heard this outcry and responded by hiring a new Ebola czar.  And now the GOP is not happy.  I sincerely believe that there is NOTHING that this Administration can do to please conservatives such as yourself.  Did you watch the congressional hearings yesterday?  Only those in the GOP caucus grilled Dr. Frieden.........the Democrats seemed to be more interested in hearing about steps needed to stop the outbreak, especially in West Africa.  The hearings were the height of political theatre and represent the worst of "gotcha" politics.  It's hard enough to fight this outbreak without having to deal with the petty politics that the GOP insists on inserting into the situation.   

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Hey!!!

About the surgeon general nonsense!  Tell Bamster to call DEMOCRAT Harry Reid so that his democrat nuclear senate can have a vote on him today! 

Bamster's too lazy, and he thinks Americans are too stupid to realize Democrat incompetence and laziness when they actually are shown it. 

Jm75
Jm75

agree with the overall take of the column

but someone is probably better than no one, at least

MANGLER
MANGLER

Would be kind of nice if Congress would have allowed that Surgeon General position to be filled.  Ya think?

Juanx
Juanx

Kyle, What person or skills would you recommend President Obama put forth? Surely you have something in mind to write of such. 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

You know what would really make everything better and give the public a dose of confidence? Putting a long-time political operative in charge of the whole thing.” I mean, I know I’ve been thinking just that exact thing right there.

-------------------------------

Brilliant words, Kyle. 

Right now, bamster is thinking it's all about avoiding political trouble than physical or medical problems. 

Bamster legacy: ignore what's wrong with country.  Bamster strategy: call your political opponents kooks and racists. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Agree with you, Kyle.  This makes 5 times in the last couple of years.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Well, the choice doesn't elicit from me an immediate "What was he thinking!?"

He made the choice and it's not like Ebola is at our front doors ringing the bell.


Maybe the choice will give the Cons something to huff about on the 24 hour talking-head "news" shows this weekend.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Everything in Obama's playbook is election oriented!  Just get him by the election with his Democrat Senate intact is all the thinks and schemes about.  This guy is there to make sure the news, prior to the election, coming out about Ebola is good and shows how this regime is working hard to save America from Ebola.  


If we have a widespread outbreak after all these missteps and  incompetence and the appointment of a political czar, Barry will forever be tagged as Obola, when Americans talk about him.

Caius
Caius

Maybe what the President should have done is nominate Klain as Surgeon General and appoint

Dr. Vivek Murthy as Ebola Czar.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

He could have chosen a retired high ranking official from one of the agencies involved but which one and from which agency? Who would have more pull? And would using someone from one agency cause squabbles in other agencies?


How about a retired Senator or Congressperson? Or maybe Colin Powell or Madeleine Albright? Powell might have been the best choice with both a military and State Dept history.

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

How many Americans have died from this "crisis"? ZERO..

Stephenson_Billings
Stephenson_Billings

Africa stems Ebola via border closings, luck  

"Health officials battling the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa have managed to limit its spread on the continent to five countries - and two of them appear to have snuffed out the disease.

The developments constitute a modest success in an otherwise bleak situation.

Officials credit tighter border controls, good patient-tracking and other medical practices, and just plain luck with keeping Ebola confined mostly to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since the outbreak was first identified nearly seven months ago.

[snip]

Border closings may also be helping halt the spread of Ebola.

Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, all of which share borders with at least one of the three most affected countries, have closed those borders.

The disease continues to ravage Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, overwhelming their health systems.

And some observers warn that border closings can have limited effect in a region with highly porous boundaries and few resources to patrol them. Border posts are sometimes easily skirted."

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AF_EBOLA_AFRICA_CONTAINMENT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-10-16-14-24-38

PinkoNeoConLibertarian
PinkoNeoConLibertarian

If only the Attorney General would do his/her job...oh wait, the President's appointee can't even get a vote.  As ye reap, so shall ye sew. Get a congress that will get off of their collective a$$es and do their jobs, and so many of these things will be taken care of.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@sssinff

I would have protested the choice of a Baptist minister, unless he held a degree in epidemiology.

IReportYouWhineTheGreat
IReportYouWhineTheGreat

@sssinff klain is a scientist? The democrats seem far receptive to spin, then to protecting the American people.

The_Real_Centrist
The_Real_Centrist

@RafeHollister   What about C. Everett Koop?  Was he a joke?  He served during the Reagan Administration.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@FIGMO2 Honore had no shot, although Geraldo was pushing him.  He was too outspoken; might say something that conflicted with the spin from the WH.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@The_Real_Centrist  " I sincerely believe that there is NOTHING that this Administration can do to please conservatives . . ."


Um, the RIGHT thing?

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@MANGLER The Republicans calling for a czar wouldn't listen to the medical professionals anyway.  (Which is why they called for a czar in the first place.) 


So, they get what they want and they STILL WHINE ABOUT IT. 


How about letting him do his job first, then whine when after he fails? 

(Good Job, Brownie!) 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@MANGLER 

Would be very bamster-like to play the victim though.  "uh.. I'm trying to do what you want, but uh..... the million people who work for the federal government can't do anything about ebola because congress didn't give me surgeon general:

Here's the kicker Mangler of logic. 

Harry Reid's "nuclear" senate is in charge of the process. 

All bamster has to do is stay off the golf course a day and call his pugilistic buddy. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator


@MANGLER It isn't vacant. There is an acting SG who, evidently, has nothing to do with cases like this one.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Juanx 

But we know what bamster wants.  He wants the heat off of himself; you know someone he can fire right away if things get too hot for him politically; someone he can blame publicly then rehire to be a blue-ribbon panel member when it's time to eviscerate the military. 

Seems to me that ANYBODY but a political operative would be better than the partisan political operative he picked. 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Juanx 

Another Harvard lawyer, sheesh! 

You think another bamster bot editor of the Harvard law review knows the first thing about managing the control of infectious diseases. 

As we heard on the Bookman site earlier: "Center for Diseason CONTROL...... duh". 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Finn-McCool 

He made the choice and it's not like Ebola is at our front doors ringing the bell.

----------------------------------

Not intended to be a factual statement.  Ignore the nurses from Dallas; nothing to see there, folks. 

HDB0329
HDB0329

@RafeHollister ....almost sounds like what was being said six years ago: 


"Everything in Bush's playbook is election oriented!  Just get him by the election with his Republican Congress intact is all the thinks and schemes about.  This guy is there to make sure the news, prior to the election, coming out about Iraq is good and shows how this regime is working hard to save America and Iraq."


You weren't crying about it then, were you??  

HDB0329
HDB0329

@Caius ...that would've been an interesting move.....

Tealiban_Party
Tealiban_Party

@lithoniaguy 


From this morning's USAToday...  "You're more likely to die from a horse kick to the head..."

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@PinkoNeoConLibertarian "oh wait, the President's appointee can't even get a vote."

Seriously? Obama hasn't even nominated anyone to replace Holder, who is still on the job.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@HDB0329 @RafeHollister I reject that analysis.  I don't remember Bush doing anything to make himself look good for an election, you will have to remind me.  My perspective was he just took everything quietly, never responded, never fought back against baseless charges against him.  That one one of his biggest faults if you asked me, he wouldn't defend himself and the whole GOP suffered because he decided not to debate the charges against him.  


As someone said today, regarding the news that they did find WMD's in Iraq, this person said Karl Rove told him not to get back into that debate, to just let it go, don't defend yourself it demeans the office.  He should have stood up and acknowledged, (AH-HAH!) that they did have WMD's.  



HDB0329
HDB0329

@Kyle_Wingfield @Finn-McCool Really?? Maybe someone OUTSIDE the government is what this situation needed....in that that person wouldn't be committed ti handling things in a governmental fashion.....but actually focusing on solutions TO the problem!! An outside perspective may be needed here......

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Tealiban_Party 

We know the risks however.  Don't lower your head behind a horse. 

Is the government being honest with us about ebola? 

What is clear is that they don't know everything they say they do, and bamster just hired a talking head to run things, leading to the inevitable conclusion that talking will solve the political problem bamster has, whether or not he is at all capable of doing what needs to be done to prevent ebola's spread. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HDB0329 "Maybe someone OUTSIDE the government is what this situation needed"

Well, that isn't what we got, is it?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HDB0329 So you say he should've brought someone in from outside the government to change the perspective, then suggest it was an "outside the box" to bring in a career politico? Or have I misunderstood?

HDB0329
HDB0329

@Kyle_Wingfield ...you bring someone from outside the government to change the perspective....you also need someone who is politically savvy to navigate the waters that are in front of him.....


There's more than one way to look at this....and this is what Klain has to do.....his outside of the box thinking will come because he's not looking at things in solely a medical way....and his ability to navigate political waters will be useful in this crisis.......


We may have achieved this with Klain.....question is: how many actually understand Klain's mission and operational necessities from our outside vantagepoint??

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@HDB0329 @Kyle_Wingfield 

I think you've gone completely off-subject HDB, but I'll sum up here. 

You see, we conservatives, like by far most Americans, believe that preventing ebola from coming to America is the goal here.  The country is pretty much unified, in fact about that goal. 

Obama doesn't appoint someone with the expertise to do that.  The guy he picked is skilled at political attack, appearance and LYING, especially not skilled at getting anything done besides political attack campaigns.  In other words, this guy was hired to talk on TV.