Klain: A political fixer for a political problem

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By Chris Stirewalt,

from FoxNews,

We learned an awful lot today about how the Obama White House views the threat from Ebola with the appointment of Ron Klain as “czar” for dealing with response to the disease. Since Klain, who rose to fame as the chief Democratic lawyer in the 2000 Florida recount, is a political fixer and not an expert in epidemiology or public safety, we can assume that President Obama sees a political problem that needs to be fixed. The White House says that it is possible and perhaps “likely” that more Americans will be diagnosed with the virus, which we can assume means that more cases are almost certainly out there. But we are told that because the government has learned from its mistakes is now being aggressive with quarantines (or not), everything will be okay. The effort to get Americans to calm down and relax about the disease that dissolves human organs and carries a 70 percent mortality rate has somehow not worked out. So now, in response to all the alarm, the administration is trying to match the public tone. And as was the case two months ago on Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, the only circumstance that seems to be different is public opinion.

The selection of Klain as “Ebola czar” (aside from squandering what might have been the best alt-rock band name ever) is in part to get a handle on the bureaucracy in the person of a party loyalist, but mostly window dressing. The government already has someone whom might be called an Ebola czar. It has, in fact, no shortage of people who are in positions to take the lead role. The real problem here is political: A lack of confidence in the existing team. The appointment of a “czar” is a way to put a new face on outreach, and an acknowledgement of the missteps by the administration. It spares a symbolic sacking of the frustrated and mistrusted Centers for Disease Control boss Dr. Thomas Frieden. Better to be czared than Shinsekied, one supposes.

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