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One of my favorite phrases is “failing up.” That’s when someone who is perceived to be unsuccessful, even a failure, is promoted. People who’ve worked in the federal government know what I’m talking about.
Recently Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 80-year-old, 30+ year head of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases and Allergies – allegedly our nation’s top epidemiologist – has been used, perhaps unfairly, as an example of failing up.
But today, we have a new candidate. Dr. Rachel Levine, President-elect Joe Biden’s announced nominee for Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. It is perhaps the number three position at HHS, responsible for several hugely important agencies, from the Food and Drug Administration to the Public Health Service. It is arguably one of the top scientific positions in all government and the nation’s top health official (although Dr. Fauci was asked to be President Biden’s “chief medical advisor“).