There’s a new article out in the Washington Post on White House chief of staff Ron Klain that attempts to figure out what went wrong despite his “perfect résumé”:
NEW: Ron Klain had the perfect résumé. His first year showed the limits of that experience.
An deep dive into @WHCOS's first year on the job — the frictions, the mood of the West Wing and where it's left Pres. Biden heading into yr 2.
— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) January 25, 2022
And one of the quotes in the article uses the old lie that supporters of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used to justify his brutal and genocidal polices:
“He’s making the trains run on time — even though some of the boxcars may seem to be empty”:
“He’s making the trains run on time — even though some of the boxcars may seem to be empty”
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) January 25, 2022
The person who said this, on the record, was Dem Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut:
Klain, 60, is praised by many in the White House and on Capitol Hill for his responsiveness and organizational abilities, and most important, is said by close associates of President Biden to retain his confidence. But even some allies suggest Klain’s approach is not necessarily producing the desired results.
“I think that by and large he’s making the trains run on time — even though some of the boxcars may seem to be empty some of the time,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
First up, Mussolini never got the trains to run on time and it was always a lie:
Worth noting: the trains did not actually run on time under Mussolini, and the literacy rate in Cuba was already high before Castro (and many other countries have achieved 100% literacy without, you know, murdering and imprisoning dissidents).
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 24, 2020
But maybe it’s a good analogy after all and Blumenthal is lying about how effective Klain actually is:
* Did not make the trains run on time
* Falsely claimed he made the trains run on time, and forever skewed people's perception of the tradeoff between government effectiveness and freedom
* Made the trains run on time
* Everyone just took it for granted
— Noah Smith 🌐+🧦=🐇 (@Noahpinion) August 3, 2021
Anyway, using the “makes the trains run on time” argument used to be bad when applied to chiefs of staff.
Like when people criticized former GOP chair Ken Blackwell for saying Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus would make the trains run on time:
Ken Blackwell tells the WSj that Reince will "make the trains run on time." Godwin's Law is officially suspended. https://t.co/qCLa6si6pj
— Joshua Holland (@JoshuaHol) November 14, 2016
Of course, lib journos were quite upset with the train analogy back *then.* From Bloomberg:
“When you are trying to convince America that its new leader is not a fascist,” New York Magazine’s Margaret Hartmann and Chas Danner suggested recently, “it’s best not to make any Mussolini references.”
Too late. That advice was directed at former Cincinnati mayor Ken Blackwell, a member of the Trump transition team. Blackwell just assured the Wall Street Journal that Reince Preibus, the RNC chair picked as White House chief of staff, would “utilize his personal connections with the speaker [Rep. Paul Ryan] and others, to make the trains run on time.”
This quote can be applied to the Biden administration right now:
"The truth about authoritarians is that, while they usually promise to make the trains run on time, they often fail to deliver. Making the failure not matter is the point of it." https://t.co/yCl00EjV3I
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 22, 2020
And we expect there will be a lot of old tweets like this that surface today:
"Look, I don't know what Hitler was talking about when it came to ridding Germany of the Jews. I am just here to make sure the trains run on time." https://t.co/GZNq4F2Rca
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) July 15, 2019