Political Ebola Czar Working Exactly As Obama Intended (UPDATED)

 

After weeks of fumbling and false promises, President Obama appointed an Ebola Czar. Selecting a public face for the crisis response was designed to calm the public, quiet critics and, most importantly, redirect complex and awkward questions away from the President and his press secretary.

Instead of choosing an expert qualified in infectious disease, Obama selected Ron Klain, a longtime political fixer. Klain served as a handler for Vice Presidents Biden and Gore, and parceled out billions of stimulus dollars to politically favored interests.

“What we were looking for was not an Ebola expert,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, “but rather an implementation expert.” But what exactly was Klain hired to implement — a public health campaign or a political one?

The New York Times let slip the Ebola Czar’s true purpose through an anonymous Democrat 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. If anybody can get the way this is being reported and discussed under control in a short period of time, he’s the one.”

Just so.

Klein started his new job on Wednesday of last week. We saw the results of his politics-first, policy-second strategy over the weekend.

Two high-profile cases of Ebola worried voters in and around New York City. Since the White House stubbornly refuses to limit travel from west African hot zones, governors Cuomo and Christie took action on their own. The Democrat and Republican executives crafted a bipartisan plan to quarantine high-risk travelers for 21 days.

Unfortunately for fans of public health and common sense, this minor inconvenience to a handful of health care workers mildly embarrassed Obama. So the Klain machine leapt to action:

New York Times: Tested Negative for Ebola, Nurse Criticizes Her Quarantine

CNN: Nurse describes Ebola quarantine ordeal: ‘I was in shock. Now I’m angry’

Huffington Post: Quarantined Nurse Kaci Hickox Calls Her Treatment ‘Inhumane’, Criticizes Chris Christie

BuzzFeed: Quarantined N.J. Nurse Says Her “Basic Human Rights Have Been Violated”

Nearly every Obama-allied media organ carried precisely the same narrative: CDC employee Kaci Hickox was a victim of cruel male governors who dared oppose Obama’s wise policies. Reporters, editors and Democratic guns-for-hire took to social media to mock the quarantine and anyone who defended it as scientific illiterates and panic pimps.

By Sunday night, Gov. Cuomo backtracked, saying a home quarantine was acceptable. Today, the New Jersey health department released Hickox from her spacious, high-tech hospital quarters to take “private transport” to her home in Maine. (No word if commuters on the highways between New Jersey and Maine have been warned of her itinerary.)

Thus, Ron Klain’s first campaign as Ebola czar has been a rousing success, though not in the way Americans had hoped. He reduced a complex and grave public health crisis into a crude and dumb political attack. Through Klain’s leadership, the White House beat back rivals in both parties who dared to criticize its ineffective response to the deadly virus. Allies in the media ridiculed Americans concerned about Ebola, the disease Obama assured would never reach our shores.

Klain was not hired to stop a disease, but to stop a slide in the polls.

Though Obama and Klain have won the latest news cycle, they have to hope no new cases arise before election day. They also have to pray that there is vast, heretofore undiscovered opposition to Ebola screenings, travel bans and quarantines. Otherwise, the punishment could be severe next Tuesday.

UPDATE: The media’s coordinated stories on the quarantined nurse are reminiscent of the 2012 storyline promoting Sandra Fluke and the fabled “war on women.” The similarities might not be coincidental.

The firm that pushed the Fluke story was SKDKnickerbocker, a “progressive public relations and political consulting firm that specializes in working for Democratic Party politicians.” Managing Directors Anita Dunn and Hilary Rosen were central to that PR campaign. Rosen has been angrily pushing the anti-quarantine story on Twitter.

Also of note, Ron Klain’s daughter Hannah is a public affairs associate for SKDKnickerbocker. I wish her well in her budding career, but I can’t be the only one concerned about the increasingly partisan campaign being waged under the guise of a public health crisis.

There are 30 comments.

  1. Basil Fawlty Member

    In the nurse’s saga, do I not hear an echo of the gay partner “denied hospital visitation rights”? “Personalize it.”

    • #1
    • October 27, 2014, at 2:40 PM PDT
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  2. Western Chauvinist Member

    It’s telling that a couple of male strippers have more common sense and regard for their fellow man than an Ebola nurse who, literally, has no way of knowing whether she was infected before coming into the country. All we know for sure is she was working with Ebola patients.

    It’s not rocket science. It’s a bare minimum of courtesy to comply with a quarantine. It’s downright heroic to impose one on oneself, though.

    Thanks Axl and Taylor! You’re some of the good guys. And, um, nice pecs.

    • #2
    • October 27, 2014, at 2:41 PM PDT
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  3. gts109 Member

    Oh crap, you’re right. I didn’t even see the Obama machinery behind this nurse business, but this is dead on.

    • #3
    • October 27, 2014, at 2:45 PM PDT
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  4. rico Inactive

    Brilliant observation, Jon.

    The Guardian tells it without attribution to Klain, but they do identify it as a “political crisis”:

    White House officials warned the governors of New York and New Jersey of the “unintended consequences” of quarantining all medical workers returning from west Africa, as a political crisis deepened on Sunday over how to counter public fears about the spread of Ebola in the US.

    I imagine a governor’s ears perk up when warned by WH officials of “unintended consequences.”

    • #4
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:08 PM PDT
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  5. das_motorhead Inactive

    Shorter White House: “Chris, Andy, you guys have no medical background and are therefore not qualified to make these decisions. That’s why we have Ron.”

    That the centerpiece of the administration’s campaign against the governors has centered on a lack of medical expertise makes it all the more transparently political. And yet it is working. Absurd. (Although, I guess anyone capable of keeping Biden afloat has to be pretty dang good.)

    I’d love to see the teacher’s union-busting Christy come out and say, “I’ll show you my medical credentials when Klain shows me his.”

    • #5
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:25 PM PDT
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  6. Paul A. Rahe Contributor

    das_motorhead:Shorter White House: “Chris, Andy, you guys have no medical background and are therefore not qualified to make these decisions. That’s why we have Ron.”

    That the centerpiece of the administration’s campaign against the governors has centered on a lack of medical expertise makes it all the more transparently political. And yet it is working. Absurd. (Although, I guess anyone capable of keeping Biden afloat has to be pretty dang good.)

    I’d love to see the teacher’s union-busting Christy come out and say, “I’ll show you my medical credentials when Klain shows me his.”

    Obama has Christie in his pocket, alas. I thought otherwise. But he would not dare.

    • #6
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:29 PM PDT
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  7. Blondie Thatcher

    Jon, I had forgotten all about the Ebola Czar. I think I have my answer as to how this nurse could get some big shot lawyer and all that media attention so quickly. Want a bet she got a phone call from the White House? I really hope she doesn’t get sick, but that NY doc that went bowling thought he was okay when he got back. How’s that working out for him?

    • #7
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:33 PM PDT
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  8. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Apparently, the nurse works for the CDC….

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/10/breaking-ebola-nurses-ties-to-cdc-scrubbed-from-website-is-far-left-progressive-obama-supporter/

    • #8
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:40 PM PDT
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  9. Western Chauvinist Member

    9thDistrictNeighbor:Apparently, the nurse works for the CDC….

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/10/breaking-ebola-nurses-ties-to-cdc-scrubbed-from-website-is-far-left-progressive-obama-supporter/

    Whoop! There it is!!

    If it walks like a leftist, talks like a leftist… it’s probably a leftist.

    • #9
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:43 PM PDT
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  10. Nick Stuart Inactive

    Meanwhile our soldiers returning from Liberia are being quarantined on their way back from Obama’s “See, I’m doing something” mission that will take a year out of the lives of 4000 troops and cost who knows how many hundreds of millions of dollars.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ebola-outbreak-u-s-soldiers-returning-from-liberia-placed-in-isolation-in-italy/

    • #10
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:48 PM PDT
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  11. Nick Stuart Inactive

    Paul A. Rahe:

    Obama has Christie in his pocket, alas. I thought otherwise. But he would not dare.

    My opinion: Blackmail, extortion, and/or bribery figured into this somehow.

    Any Christie 2016 enthusiasts care to comment?

    • #11
    • October 27, 2014, at 3:50 PM PDT
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  12. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    When a dirty bomb goes off in NYC, Barry will appoint a “Nuke Czar”, who will try to contain the political damage.

    That’ll fix everything. Barry still surprises me. Even now. He’s redefining narcissism at levels unseen since Caligula. Everything is Barry, and Barry is everything.

    What a complete train wreck of a man.

    • #12
    • October 27, 2014, at 4:59 PM PDT
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  13. WI Con Member

    Are we going to have to watch Christie and Barry hug it out again before a major election?

    It’s like some kind of mating ritual with those two.

    • #13
    • October 27, 2014, at 5:07 PM PDT
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  14. Underwood Member

    Western Chauvinist:

    It’s not rocket science.

    The other pull-quote of the day:

    “It doesn’t take an intelligent person to make a good decision.”

    Heh. Axl is on to something.

    • #14
    • October 27, 2014, at 5:31 PM PDT
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  15. Vance Richards Member

    Western Chauvinist:It’s telling that a couple of male strippers have more common sense and regard for their fellow man than an Ebola nurse who, literally, has no way of knowing whether she was infected before coming into the country. All we know for sure is she was working with Ebola patients.

    It’s not rocket science. It’s a bare minimum of courtesy to comply with a quarantine. It’s downright heroic to impose one on oneself, though.

    Thanks Axl and Taylor! You’re some of the good guys. And, um, nice pecs.

    And you stumbled across this while doing a search on . . . Ebola?

    • #15
    • October 27, 2014, at 5:38 PM PDT
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  16. Totus Porcus Inactive

    The politics of this are really perfect for Obama. Suddenly Chris Christie and the Republican “anti-science” mindset are the issue. Christie’s flip flop fanned the flames.

    Christie really walked into this one. You have to wonder if he’s ready for prime time.

    • #16
    • October 27, 2014, at 6:16 PM PDT
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  17. Concretevol Thatcher

    Man this is dead on…..sometimes I am even a little surprised at the administration’s ability to politicize every freaking thing.

    • #17
    • October 27, 2014, at 6:17 PM PDT
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  18. MarciN Member

    Nick Stuart:Meanwhile our soldiers returning from Liberia are being quarantined on their way back from Obama’s “See, I’m doing something” mission that will take a year out of the lives of 4000 troops and cost who knows how many hundreds of millions of dollars.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ebola-outbreak-u-s-soldiers-returning-from-liberia-placed-in-isolation-in-italy/

    Italy, of course, rather than in the United States, to keep a lid on the quarantine?

    Every single thing a Democrat does is political. Every single thing.

    • #18
    • October 27, 2014, at 6:20 PM PDT
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  19. rico Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Also of note, Ron Klain’s daughter Hannah is a public affairs associate for SKDKnickerbocker. I wish her well in her budding career, but I can’t be the only one concerned about the increasingly partisan campaign being waged under the guise of a public health crisis.

    C’mon Jon, that’s not fair, because:

    The White House made it clear that it objected to the hurried introduction of “policies not grounded in science”.

    • #19
    • October 27, 2014, at 6:48 PM PDT
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  20. Omid Moghadam Member

    Meh! it is a rear guard action of an army that has lost it all. They will over play their hand in this too.

    • #20
    • October 27, 2014, at 7:08 PM PDT
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  21. Big Ern Inactive

    Turns out she’s a dead ringer for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in more ways than one.

    • #21
    • October 27, 2014, at 7:11 PM PDT
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  22. Paul Erickson Member

    Totus Porcus:The politics of this are really perfect for Obama. Suddenly Chris Christie and the Republican “anti-science” mindset are the issue. Christie’s flip flop fanned the flames.

    Christie really walked into this one. You have to wonder if he’s ready for prime time.

    Who’s wondering that? I thought that was settled long ago.

    • #22
    • October 27, 2014, at 7:18 PM PDT
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  23. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    This is the Ebola Czar that the public knows about. There is a top secret Ebola Czar with Science Credentials who is working on a strain of Ebola that only infects Republicans.

    • #23
    • October 27, 2014, at 7:52 PM PDT
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  24. rico Inactive

    Eustace C. Scrubb:This is the Ebola Czar that the public knows about. There is a top secret Ebola Czar with Science Credentials who is working on a strain of Ebola that only infects Republicans.

    Credit to you for your scoop on the Ebolavirus republicanus strain.

    Funny you should mention this. Mollie Hemingway actually outed the scientific-credentialed Ebola czar, Dr. Nicole Lurie, about a week ago. One czar from the depths of the bureaucracy, and one from the pinnacle of the Obama White House:

    Ebola czars

    • #24
    • October 27, 2014, at 8:35 PM PDT
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  25. Percival Thatcher

    Isn’t this the juncture where we are chastised for making political points on a subject in which we have insufficient expertise? It has replaced the bedtime story of my long-ago youth: I don’t know if I can fall asleep until I’ve been scolded.

    • #25
    • October 27, 2014, at 8:40 PM PDT
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  26. Kozak Member

    Nick Stuart:Meanwhile our soldiers returning from Liberia are being quarantined on their way back from Obama’s “See, I’m doing something” mission that will take a year out of the lives of 4000 troops and cost who knows how many hundreds of millions of dollars.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ebola-outbreak-u-s-soldiers-returning-from-liberia-placed-in-isolation-in-italy/

    Actually the Obama administration is fighting DOD on this. They DON’T want a quarantine on returning soldiers either…..

    • #26
    • October 28, 2014, at 12:46 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Kozak Member

    Paul A. Rahe:

    das_motorhead:Shorter White House: “Chris, Andy, you guys have no medical background and are therefore not qualified to make these decisions. That’s why we have Ron.”

    That the centerpiece of the administration’s campaign against the governors has centered on a lack of medical expertise makes it all the more transparently political. And yet it is working. Absurd. (Although, I guess anyone capable of keeping Biden afloat has to be pretty dang good.)

    I’d love to see the teacher’s union-busting Christy come out and say, “I’ll show you my medical credentials when Klain shows me his.”

    Obama has Christie in his pocket, alas. I thought otherwise. But he would not dare.

    Meanwhile Australia gets it….

    Australia suspends visas for people travelling from Ebola-hit countries

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-29783106

    • #27
    • October 28, 2014, at 12:50 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. das_motorhead Inactive

    Kozak:

    Meanwhile Australia gets it….

    Obama gets it, too, he just can’t back down. As with everything he has ever done, any action (or inaction) has to appear like it was intentional and correct. The instant he sets up a quarantine policy, he will have admitted that all of the blanket “we won’t see Ebola here and even if we do we’re ready” statements were wrong.

    I’m not worried about Ebola in and of itself, it’s just not that big of a deal. I’m far more worried about White House and CDC administrators screwing up so bad (e.g. trying to keep a lid on the political consequences at the cost of the medical) that it becomes a problem. It was (is) the same thing with our national security – “Al Qaeda is not a threat.”

    They’re the toddler at a party who’s desperate but doesn’t want to use the potty. Instead of admitting to the call of nature, they try to cover all the leg-crossing by dancing around and pretending they’re just trying to keep everyone entertained. “Do you have to go to the bathroom, Johnny”? “NO!” “Ok. Tell me if you do.” And then, in the middle of the dancing and singing and running into couches, a pile of excrement appears on the floor.

    • #28
    • October 28, 2014, at 4:28 AM PDT
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  29. Richard Finlay Member

    Is it too cynical to note that if ebola were to somehow, inexplicably, suddenly become somewhat widespread in the nation, a massive national response to manage the crisis would be needed?

    Maybe Congress could enact a new Cabinet Department or an agency within Homeland Protection, say, maybe a National Health Service with full power to mandate actions by any and all health-related entities.

    Sounds more like a feature than a bug, from the statist point of view. Crises are opportunities for government expansion and sometimes you have to help make your opportunities.

    Yeah, I’m tired and grumpy. But if I expect the worst, maybe I’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.

    • #29
    • October 28, 2014, at 6:34 AM PDT
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  30. James Gawron Thatcher

    Jon,

    There is one actor in this that the Obamite triangulators may not be able to handle. That is the Ebola Virus itself. They have continued to to bluster and skate on thin ice. In the next 7 days the Virus might have more surprises in store for the JV team. If so it will put the last nail in their coffin. It doesn’t depend on us in the least. Gd made the Ebola Virus. The JV team doesn’t have any respect for Gd or the Virus.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #30
    • October 28, 2014, at 5:32 PM PDT
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