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Ron Klain and the Staffing of the Ebola Tsardom

Friday, October 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Much criticism online about the president’s appointment of Ron Klain, which I think is very premature.

President Obama was clearly going to want someone he knows and trusts if we are on the cusp of a domestic as well as an already obvious international crisis.  It is too late to change the politics and the electoral fallout of the bungling by the president and his team of the Ebola virus’ arrival in the U.S. –the 21 day period of exposure for new cases to surface will not conclude until after the election, and the cruise ship fiasco has delivered the verdict on the president’s incredible “leading from behind” mishandling of this.

Phase two of the national response does need to be bipartisan, though, and if Klain appoints qualified center-right professionals with unquestionable expertise and experience as key deputies with real authority to help organize and think through the response, like Tevi Troy or Yuval Levin, to assist in the response, Klain can in a stroke defuse the suspicion that what we will get will be a PR strategy and not a disease containment strategy.  Watch that space closely this weekend.  We will know by next week if the effort is genuinely a crisis control effort, or simply yet another blunder along the way of a president who has always put politics ahead of everything else.  Epidemics, like hangings, may concentrate the mind wonderfully.  We will see.

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“Glass Jaw,” Houston’s Putin-Like Mayor, And WMD In Iraq –Again

Tuesday, October 14, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Off to Tucson for a Doug Ducey event Wednesday and then on to Dallas Thursday night for an Alliance Defending Freedom event with Ross Douthat and the Benham Brothers.  I’ll be able to broadcast tomorrow thanks to my friends at KVOI in Tuscon, but I’ll be on stage with Ross and the brothers on Thursday and Mark Larson will be sitting in for me to keep you abreast of the latest campaign and Ebola news.  No doubt I’ll be talking on Wednesday’s show and on Thursday night about the outrageous assault on the First Amendment by Houston’s own version of Vladimir Putin, Mayor Annise Parker, who has decided to start issuing subpoenas for sermons of the city’s pastors she has tangled with over the trans-gendered bathrooms issue.

There will also be time to review this big story from the New York Times on the, wait for it, WMD we found in Iraq.

But most of Wednesday’s show will be taken up by a conversation with Eric Dezenhall about his his important, riveting and indeed at times profound new book Glass Jaw: A Manifesto for Defending Fragile Reputations in an Age of Instant Scandal. Dezenhall is founder and CEO of Dezenhall Resources, Ltd, one of the nation’s leading crisis management firms, and I have already advised the leadership of two boards that the book will be must-reading for every board member in America, for CEOs, officeholders and candidates for both jobs as well as their staffs.  It is an advanced course in nightmares for companies and individuals –the kind you hope never to have to live through but for which you ought to be prepared.

Think of Glass Jaw as a reputational earthquake preparedness kit. You shouldn’t be without it.


Another Massive Obama Fail; Another Burst Of Wind At The GOP’s Back

Tuesday, October 14, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt


Americans aren’t buying the laid-back, “leading from behind” president’s leading from behind on Ebola.

His assurance about Ebola and the U.S. was rapidly proven untrue; his team has fumbled every attempt at messaging; the “protocols” didn’t work in Dallas, and the “screening” at five airports is plainly nonsensical when West Africans can enter the U.S, through non-screened airports, even as asymptomatic carriers can enter through the “screening.”

New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown knows this is an issue, as does every candidate of both parties.  Only the president appears clueless about the extent of the worry and the justified, common sense critique of his policies and the team he has “handling” the issue.

No doubt the president thinks Ebola is on the “jayvee team” of viruses. He found time for his 200th round of golf as POTUS this weekend.

Buyers’ remorse is widespread and will be made obvious on November 4, but will the president allow his loathing of being shown to have been horribly, terribly wrong keep him from taking the obvious steps?

The betting is yes.  He has to wait to find someone to blame.  Everyone at CDC must know the president will find it convenient, very soon, to summon and dismiss them for giving him bad advice.


“Visit to a Country of Ghosts” by Clark S. Judge

Monday, October 13, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The weekly column from Clark Judge:

Visit to a Country of Ghosts by Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute.

I spent September’s last full week in Budapest, capital of Hungary. Sharing a border with Ukraine, the former Warsaw Pact country is now member of the European Union and NATO.  For the United States, it is a strategic country that has become, thanks to Russian president Vladimir Putin, a tense region.

Over four days, I met with senior political figures and their advisors, college professors, entrepreneurs and journalists and posed questions to an astute British expatriate who was my guide.  I also delivered lectures at three universities.

Following are some observations:

Walk the streets.  Eat in the restaurants.  Visit the sites. Talk to the people.  Hungary – at least Budapest — looks and feels happy and untroubled. But scratch the surface and it is a country of ghosts – ghosts of both its Nazi-Fascist and Soviet pasts. Continue Reading

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