New Republic Editor Decides Political Hack as Ebola Czar Is OK

October 17th, 2014 4:51 PM

One has to give The New Republic editor Jonathan Cohn some credit. At least he was beset with some brief soul searching over the fact that the new Ebola Czar is a political hack with no medical experience. However, after checking with his fellow liberals, Cohn finally got his "mind right" and returned to the proper groupthink fold.

Although, as we shall see, Klain was front and center of the crony capitalism scandal in which the Solyndra green energy company cost the taxpayers over $500 million, all is forgiven and he is now allowed to become Ebola Czar. First we join Jonathan Cohn while he was still in a state of some doubt about the propriety of an unqualified political hack becoming Ebola Czar:

One thing Klain does not have is deep expertise in medicine or emergency preparedness—and that surprised me. Why not pick somebody whose resume includes a stint at the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, or maybe the Federal Emergency Management Agency? This is not the first time the federal government has confronted a biological menace. An official who’d lived through and worked intensely on responses to SARS, Avian flu,or even HIV might bring critical and beneficial experience to the table.

A liberal lifeline was sent out to Cohn from uber leftist Neera Tanden in the form of an email:

He also has a keen understanding of how to manage the Hill, press, communications, layers of government. The reality is that this situation calls for dealing with multiple and diverse agencies—CDC, military, NIH, State—managing diverse issues, from direct patient health to airline travel. He is extremely capable and there are few managers as good as him.

So Klain has a "keen understanding" of PR and the labyrinths of the kleptocracy. So not to worry about his lack of medical qualifications.

Klain's bonafides as highly experienced in the ways of crony capitalism was laughably backed up by journalist Michael Grunwald:

"Ron basically ran the stimulus," says journalist Michael Grunwald, whose book, The New New Deal, is the definitive account of ARRA. "He was Biden's henchman—he made the trains run on time. And under budget. And with almost zero fraud."

Got that, Jonathan. "Almost zero fraud." As the rest of us burst out laughing at that notion of the fraud free scheme to funnel money to favored friends of Democrats, let us check in with Bryan Preston at The PJ Tatler who informs us about the "zero fraud" of Solyndra which cost the taxpayers $500 million:

...Klain was involved in the Obama administration’s Solyndra debacle.

In January 2012, ABC News reported that Klain, then Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, was right in the middle of the administration’s poor and controversial handling of Solyndra’s bankruptcy.

Senior White House officials knew in late October 2010 that government-backed Solyndra was planning to lay off nearly 20 percent of its workforce just prior to the congressional elections the next month, recently released e-mails show.

E-mails released by the White House last week showed that Heather Zichal, an energy aide to President Barack Obama, relayed the news about the Fremont-based solar firm’s planned layoffs to top White House officials, including Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

In another story, ABC details Klain’s role:

On May 24, 2010 — two days before the president’s visit — California businessman Steve Westley emailed senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, referencing the audit and saying the visit might “haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”

Jarrett reached out to Ron Klain, then the chief of staff to Vice President Biden, saying that “we clearly need to make sure that they are stable and solid.”

Klain contacted Energy Department officials and then wrote back to Jarrett, saying “Sounds like there are some risk factors here – but that’s true of any innovative company that POTUS would visit. It looks like it is OK to me, but if you feel otherwise, let me know.”

“I’m comfortable if you’re comfortable,” Jarrett wrote back.

Responded Klain: “The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few would be belly-up by election day 2012 – but that to me is the reality of saying that we want to help promote cutting edge, new economy industries.”

By October, Summers, Klain, and director of the Office of Energy and Climate Policy Carol Browner wrote a six-page memorandum to the President about the loan guarantee program, detailing the fights between the Department of Energy and OMB and giving the president four options to deal with the program, one of which would have terminated it altogether, seeking congressional approval to move the funds into a Department of Energy grant program.

The Washington Post reports that Klain “dismissed auditor’s concerns about Solyndra’s solvency” in 2010, “reasoning that all innovative companies come with risk.” In Solyndra’s case, the risk was borne by the US taxpayer in the form of government-backed loans.