I’m amused by the obsessive attention Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity give to czars, on whom they hang apocalyptic intrigue. They contend that these special advisers, appointed without Senate confirmation, subvert the Constitution. I personally don’t think America is so fragile that a collection of advisers focused on specific issues will usher in Armageddon. But Glenn and Sean are entitled to their hysteria.
FactCheck.org, like Politifact, freely criticizes idiocy among both Democrats and Republicans. I like those sites, because my interest is in truth and accuracy, something the drive-by motormouth pundits don’t care about. When Obama lies (which he does), I want to know it. When Republicans lie, I want to know it. I voted for Obama, but I’m not interested in blindly excusing him of whatever he says or does. Nor do I automatically believe what he says. So I appreciate FactCheck and Politifact dutifully checking into things.
FactCheck.org has now investigated the whole czar controversy. They found that for the most part, the title “czar” is a media creation; it’s not the person’s actual title, and it’s all a tad arbitrary about who Beck et al deem worthy of the designation. President Bush appointed a guy to be the point person for dealing with the Bird Flu. His actual title was Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, but the media called him the Bird Flu Czar, which was sure a lot easier. That’s sort of how it works with most of these folks.
Every administration appoints people as special envoys, office directors, special assistants, or point persons on issues-of-the-moment. Such people are most vulnerable to getting tagged with the czar label.
Glenn Beck identifies 32 persons as Obama czars. Here’s what FactCheck.org learned about these persons (there is some overlap):
- 9 were actually confirmed by the Senate.
- 8 were not appointed by Obama, but by other officials (for instance, one by the EPA, another by the Homeland Security secretary).
- 15 were created by previous administrations (though it took Beck or Hannity or someone else to add the “czar” title.
- Of the 32 positions Glenn Beck lists, only 8 are brand new, Obama-appointed, unconfirmed positions. They include the special representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan, two persons dealing with automotive issues, one dealing with green jobs, and others.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of political appointees in every administration. I don’t know where the anti-czar people draw the line. Wouldn’t the White House chef, about whom the Senate has no say, be the Kitchen Czar (or Czarina)? Is there a Mail Room Czar? Housekeeping Czar? At what point does a person become a Czar? This cries out for definition.
George Bush probably had more czars than Obama, though again, that term was largely a media creation. He had a Gulf Coast Reconstruction Czar, AIDS Czar, Cybersecurity Czar, War Czar, World Trade Center Health Czar, Faith Czar, Budget Czar, Cleanup Czar, Intelligence Czar, Bioethics Czar, Manufacturing Czar, Public Diplomacy Czar, Regulatory Czar, Abstinence Czar, Domestic Policy Czar, Food Safety Czar, Homelessness Czar, Reading Czar, Science Czar, Terrorism Czar, Counterterrorism Czar, and others. You could probably say Presidents George HW Bush and Clinton were both Tsunami Recovery Czars. The final one was the Bailout Czar, charged with distributing the first $700 billion.
Despite all of these nefarious Bush appointees blatantly undermining the Constitution, America muddles along. I suspect that the Founding Fathers created something durable enough to survive even Obama’s dastardly attempts to topple 230 years of capitalism and democracy.
And now, enjoy this little clip.Leave a comment