- Written by Leonora Leigh
Today marks Ron Klain, the much heralded Ebola Czar’s first day at work. But the man who was just hired last week for a newly created position is already trying to negotiate his next job. According to Politico, Mr. Klain might be next in line to replace John Podesta as Barack Obama’s counselor as Podesta is rumored to be leaving to run Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Klain may also be the heir apparent to chief of staff Denis McDonough’s position. Mr. Klain apparently has already filled out the next five years on his resume before hanging his name plate on the door.
Klain, a graduate of Georgetown and Harvard Law School, is primarily known for serving as the Chief of Staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. He has also been an attorney in private practice. Most recently, he was the General Counsel of Revolution LLC, a technologyventure capital firm, launched byAOLco-founder Steve Case. Obama’s selection of Klain who does not have a medical background or any health care industry experience to serve as the Ebola Response Coordinator, was received with mixed reactions. And this is not surprising given the job description “an agency traffic cop of sorts, charged with coordinating the domestic and international efforts, including ramped-up efforts to detect, isolate and treat Ebola patients in the U.S., across a variety of government agencies.” As anticipated, Democrats were more positive about the appointment than Republicans. Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) says Klain has “exactly the qualities we need in a czar to steer our response to Ebola. By contrast, Representative Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican Senate candidate opposing Mary Landrieu claims that “By appointing a Democrat political operative as the ‘Ebola czar,’ it is clear that the president sees Ebola as a political crisis and not a health crisis.”
While the “Ebola Czar” position was designed to be a short-term role, Klain is already receiving bad marks. He apparently declined the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s invitation to offer testimony this Friday. One would think that he would want to overcome the perception that he is unqualified for the position by being collaborative and flexible.
Well time will tell if overseeing “hanging and dimpled chads” in the 2000 presidential election recount is adequate preparation for the task at hand. After all the Ebola crisis needs a doctor not another spin doctor.