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.