Tensions Boil Over in the Biden Administration After Ron Klain Is Thrown Under the Bus – Opinion

Joe Biden’s presidency currently resides somewhere between being in full-scale collapse and essentially being over. Sure, barring some kind of medical event, Biden will remain in office until 2025, but it’s increasingly obvious that he’s already a lame duck just a year into his term.

The White House was aware of the situation and decided to look for someone who would be able to take it under their wing. The person who has been chosen to fulfill that role is Ronald Klain, currently Biden’s Chief of Staff, and a noted purveyor of Jennifer Rubin tweets.

The Washington Post published a piece in which anonymous sources attacked Klain, claiming that Klain was a problem for their administration. Whether that’s actually true or not is a bit of a complicated matter, and we’ll get to that.

First, let’s look at some money quotations.

In a dispute over legislative policy and strategy, he drew the fury of Sen. Joe Manchin III (D.W.Va.), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (2D-Calif.).

On the single biggest challenge facing the White House — battling the pandemic — Klain at times irked the administration’s top official in charge of the coronavirus response, pushing Jeff Zients and his team to move faster in ways they found counterproductive. (Klain, Zients and Zients both denied that there was tension.

Joe Manchin, Nancy Pelosi and Klain found themselves in conflict late last year. The White House thought it was brilliant to ally with far-left Democrat Rep. Pramila Japal. This allowed her to take charge of the negotiations for the progressive wing. However, because the progressive wing had never been given any leverage in these negotiations, they had no right to be there.

That led to an inept strategy to try to link the infrastructure bill with the Build Back Better reconciliation legislation instead of taking what they have on the table. This strategy failed spectacularly, and the administration was forced to rescind multiple times. Klain then wrote a politically ignorant letter to the White House criticizing Manchin’s refusal to compromise on the Build back Better bill. All that did was put the final nail in the coffin of Biden’s agenda, with the West Virginia senator pulling his compromise offer.

It has been difficult to find a pragmatic solution to this failure. Instead, the government has increased its efforts. That’s left some Democrat congressional members tearing their hair out in dismay.

One frustrated Democratic member of Congress, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk more freely, accused Klain of creating “a monster” by empowering Jayapal, using an expletive to underscore the point.

“If he empowered us, it was because we were pushing the president’s agenda,” said Jayapal, arguing that her caucus was advocating ideas Biden himself had touted.

Klain also had a hand in drafting an unusually bitter statement excoriating Manchin after the senator came out against Biden’s Build Back Better social spending and climate bill, according to a White House official.

But while Klain has rejected those criticisms, Democrat Rep. Stephanie Murphy put her thoughts on the lack of change on the record, something you wouldn’t see from a party that wasn’t in disarray.

Klain also dismissed criticisms by centrists that White House has gone too far in trying to please swing voters. “I think the challenge here is not that we’ve tried to do too much — it’s that we still have work left to do,” Klain said.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a centrist who is retiring from Congress, ridiculed that assertion, saying, “Has he read a poll lately?” She added, “Hopefully we’re moving away from progressive aspirations and towards pragmatic results.”

Yeah, if I’m Murphy, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The White House is inundated with “woke” staffers and advisors. Klain himself seems to be an ideological warrior as well, and perhaps that’s why he’s so terrible at his job. This Administration will never shift from pragmatism.

The Post’s headline provides a hint as to why that is. They tout Klain as uniquely experienced, bemoaning that it’s not translating to success. So what exactly was Klain’s experience like? Most of his experience was gained while working in the Obama administration. Do you think that this is a place people would learn how to succeed in anything other than failure? Biden has a thing for Klain, though, and that’s why the latter is still around.

Regardless, the question of whether Klain is at fault for the White House’s current woes is, as I said, complicated. Yes, he’s been a driving force between several strategic blunders, from Build Back Better to going all-in on “voting rights” while knowing they didn’t have the votes. Klain has been such a liability at times that his inane tweeting was actually cited by the Supreme Court in overturning the OSHA’s vaccine mandate. His public persona is also condescending, which makes it difficult for Americans to trust the White House.

Yet, I think it would be a big mistake for anyone to believe that Klain’s departure (likely to occur after the mid-term shellacking the Democrats are going to get) will somehow improve things for the Biden administration. Joe Biden remains the president. It is impossible to fix the problem with staffing changes. That issue. So while Klain deserves heavy blame for a lot of the problems, he’s still not the one primarily at fault. The president is the one who bears that responsibility.

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