Czar Ron

So it’s been put out there pretty definitively that Ron Klain, one of the few political insiders to have been played by Francis Underwood–I mean Kevin Spacey–in a major motion picture, will be appointed “Ebola Czar” today. Ezra Klein thinks that’s a very smart move. Touting his excellent rep as an aide to Joe Biden during Obama’s first term, Klein says:

[T]he esteem for Klain wasn’t based on his experience. Rather, he had a mix of policy, political and bureaucratic chops that everyone agreed was rare. The policy people spoke admiringly of his policy savvy, and they all agreed he lapped them in political instincts. The political people admired his political instincts, but recognized he was better at policy. And everyone agreed Klain knew how to run an interagency process.

“He understands the intersection of politics and policy better than anyone I’ve ever worked with,” says economist Jared Bernstein, who worked closely with Klain in Biden’s office, “and is thus uniquely effective in getting things done.”

Given the atmosphere of hysteria surrounding the Ebola situation, someone who can manage the politics as well as the substance of the problem would indeed be helpful. It would be particularly helpful to have someone who can call up prominent Democratic pols panicking about the effect of Ebola on the midterms and request that they get a grip.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.