In response to public outcry and overwhelmingly negative poll numbers regarding his handling of the Ebola outbreak, President Obama appointed an Ebola czar to coordinate America’s response to the crisis.
The problem is, the president’s new czar has caused more crises than he has solved.
As chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, Ron Klain was instrumental in implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—otherwise known as the “stimulus” program—a colossal failure that ended up costing American taxpayers $2.8 trillion. That’s trillion, with a “T.”
Klain’s name may be new to many across the United States, but those of us from California know it all too well because Klain is synonymous with another notorious name: Solyndra.
It was Klain who approved President Obama’s visit to the solar-panel maker in 2010, and it was Klain who authorized $575 million in federal loan guarantees to the California firm that went bankrupt just months after receiving those stimulus funds.
By September 2011, Solyndra had blown through its stimulus cash and was raided by the FBI. Over the next 12 months, the company’s top executives were investigated for fraud, tax evasion and fleecing the taxpayers.
Solyndra’s crisis cost Californians 1,100 jobs. More importantly, it proved devastating to California’s economy, which had been counting on green energy investment to survive. The public failure killed all remaining confidence in California’s economy.
After Solyndra’s crash, Klain whistled past the graveyard by moving on to a job in the private sector.
Now that he’s been appointed as America’s Ebola czar, a few other ghosts from Klain’s past merit resurrection.
A liberal Democrat operative through-and-through, Klain served as chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration.
In 2000, while working for the Gore campaign, Klain served as a senior attorney for the presidential election recounts. Ultimately, the election matter was resolved in favor of George W. Bush, but not before Klain’s team divided America in a bitter, month-long legal battle.
Klain also served as chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno, who oversaw controversial responses to David Koresh and his compound in Waco, Texas; the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, in which security guard Richard Jewell was mistakenly named as the suspect. Her administration was so marked with scandal it became the brunt of jokes on “Saturday Night Live” when Will Ferrell portrayed a bumbling Janet Reno in numerous skits.
To be fair, Klain was only at DOJ from 1994 to 1995, but his experience with Reno and other high-level bureaucrats demonstrates the government incompetence to which he had a front row seat.
Given Klain’s career-long ties to the party of big government, you can bet your bottom taxpayer dollar that Klain’s response to the Ebola crisis will undoubtedly be the same: Throw money at the problem or invoke a government takeover of the problem.
As we in California witnessed with Solyndra and nearly every other issue that Klain touched, big government “solutions” at their best do nothing but put government bureaucrats in charge at great cost to taxpayers. At their worst, they serve to further crises and in rare cases, death.
As Obama grapples with a growing crisis of confidence over his leadership two weeks from the 2014 midterms, that is the one thing he can least afford.