President Obama has an army of Czars. Counts vary from 32 to 45 (with 7 more planned). The interesting thing about Czars is Obama’s blatant hypocrisy about them. Let’s start with a look at Obama and his 32 czars
“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States.”
– Sen. Barack Obama, March 31, 2008
To say President Obama failed to follow through on this promise is an understatement. By appointing a virtual army of “czars” – each wholly unaccountable to Congress yet tasked with spearheading major policy efforts for the White House – the president has made an end-run around the legislative branch of historic proportions.
The Imperial Court
Please consider The Compleat List of Czars
- Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) czar, Richard Holbrooke
- AIDS czar, Jeffrey Crowley
- Auto recovery czar, Ed Montgomery
- Behavioral science czar, position not yet filled
- Bailout czar, Herbert Allison Jr., [replaced Bush bailout czar Neel Kashkari, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability confirmed by Senate]
- Border czar, Alan Bersin
- Car czar, Ron Bloom [Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury , under Senate oversight]
UPDATE, 9/07/09: Obama announced his appointment of Ron Bloom as “senior counselor for manufacturing policy,” a move that will eliminate Senate oversight. This position has been dubbed “manufacturing czar” and so this listing moves to a different alphabetical location.
UPDATE, 9/08/09: My bad. Ron Bloom continues as car czar and takes the appointment as manufacturing czar. He will be double dipping.
- Climate change czar, Todd Stern
- Copyright czar, not appointed yet
- Counterterrorism czar, John Brennan
- Cybersecurity czar, position will be vacant on August 21st [upon the departure of Melissa Hathaway]
- Disinformation czar, Linda Douglass [This is a new media buzz since our earlier list, a response by pundits to the White House request for informants: see Glenn Beck and Lew Rockwell]
- Domestic violence czar, Lynn Rosenthal
- Drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske
- Economic czar, Larry Summers
- Economic czar number two, Paul Volcker
- Education czar, Arne Duncan
- Energy czar, Carol Browner
- Food czar, Michael Taylor [a former Monsanto executive, or, the fox in charge of the henhouse]
- Government performance czar, Jeffrey Zients
- Great Lakes czar, Cameron Davis
- Green jobs czar, Van Jones [who has a communist background]
UPDATE, 9/06/09, Van Jones resigned after an exposé by Glenn Beck.
- Guantanamo closure czar, Daniel Fried
- Health czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle
- Infotech czar, Vivek Kundra [Shoplifted four shirts, worth $33.50 each, from J.C. Penney in 1996 (source). His last day in DC government was March 4 but on March 12 the FBI raided his office and arrested two staffers.]
- Intelligence czar, Dennis Blair [Director of National Intelligence, a Senate confirmed position. He is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral]
- Latin-American czar, Arturo Valenzuela (nominee) [although this post is referred to as a czar, he is nominatied to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and so is subject to Senate confirmation. Voting on his confirmation was delayed to clarify his position on Honduras. Watch WaPo’s Head Count to track status of confirmation.]
- Manufacturing czar, Ron Bloom,
formerlya “car czar” under Senate oversight, now reporting directly to the President.
UPDATE from Labor Day.
- Mideast peace czar, George Mitchell
- Mideast policy czar, Dennis Ross
- Pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg
- Regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein
- Religion czar, aka God czar Joshua DuBois
- Safe schools czar, Kevin Jennings [appointed to be Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, a newly created post (that does not require Senate confirmation); openly gay founder of an organization dedicated to promoting pro-homosexual clubs and curricula in public schools]
- Science czar, John Holdren
- Stimulus oversight czar, Earl Devaney
- Sudan czar, J. Scott Gration
- TARP czar, Elizabeth Warren [chair of the [Congressional Oversight Panel for the Trouble Assets Relief Program; note that Herb Allison is frequently called the TARP czar]
- Technology czar, Aneesh Chopra
- Trade czar, Ron Kirk
- Urban affairs czar, Adolfo Carrion
- War czar, Douglas Lute [retained from Bush administration, married to Jane Holl Lute, currently a Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security]
- Water czar, David J. Hayes [a Deputy Interior Secretary and therefore subject to Senate oversight]
- Weapons czar, Ashton Carter [actually Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and so subject to Senate confirmation]
- Weapons of mass destruction czar, Gary Samore
Positions being planned:
- Income redistribution czar
- Land-use czar
- Mortgage czar, formally “consumer financial protection czar” (source)
- Radio-internet fairness czar
UPDATE, 7/29/09: Mark Lloyd was appointed FCC diversity czar.
- Student loan czar, to oversee a program of mandatory service in return for college money (source)
- Voter list czar
- Zoning czar
Enough is Enough (and Too Much is Too Much)
Republicans have had enough of this nonsense. The Hill reports Republicans introduce bill to eliminate presidential ‘czars’
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and 28 other House Republicans introduced legislation to do away with the informal, paid advisers President Obama has employed over the past two years.
The legislation, which was introduced in the last Congress but was not allowed to advance under Democratic control, would do away with the 39 czars Obama has employed during his administration.
The bill defines a czar as “a head of any task force, council, policy office within the Executive Office of the President, or similar office established by or at the direction of the President” who is appointed to a position that would otherwise require Senate confirmation.
Republicans had complained about the president’s use of czars to help advance his agenda in Congress. In particular, the GOP had harped about the personal history of Van Jones, the president’s czar for “green jobs,” over past comments Jones had made about Fox News came to light. Jones eventually resigned.
Another prominent czar over the past year was Carol Browner, the president’s energy and environmental adviser. She helped head up efforts in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the ultimately unsuccessful effort for an energy and climate bill from Congress.
The vanity of Barack Obama
Inquiring minds are reading American Narcissus regarding the vanity of Barack Obama.
Obama’s vanity is even more jarring when paraded in the foreign arena. In April, Poland suffered a national tragedy when its president, first lady, and a good portion of the government were killed in a plane crash. Obama decided not to go to the funeral. He played golf instead. Though maybe it’s best that he didn’t make the trip. When he journeyed to Great Britain to meet with the queen he gave her an amazing gift: an iPod loaded with recordings of his speeches and pictures from his inauguration.
On November 9, 2009, Europe celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was kind of a big deal.
When the leaders of Europe got together to commemorate it, he decided not to go to that, either. But he did find time to record a video message, which he graciously allowed the Europeans to air during the ceremony.
In his video, Obama ruminated for a few minutes on the grand events of the 20th century, the Cold War itself, and the great lesson we all should take from this historic passing:
“Few would have foreseen .??.??. that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent. But human destiny is what human beings make of it.”
The fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, and the freedom of all humanity—it’s great stuff. Right up there with the election of Barack Obama.
In the presidential race in 2012. As he said to Harry Reid after the majority leader congratulated him on one particularly fine oration, “I have a gift, Harry.”
But Obama’s faith in his abilities extends beyond mere vote-getting. Buried in a 2008 New Yorker piece by Ryan Lizza about the Obama campaign was this gob-smacking passage:
I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” After Obama’s first debate with McCain, on September 26th, [campaign political director Patrick] Gaspard sent him an e-mail. “You are more clutch than Michael Jordan,” he wrote. Obama replied, “Just give me the ball.”
It’s important to remember that our presidents aren’t always this way. When he accepted command of the Revolutionary forces, George Washington said “I feel great distress, from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important Trust. .??.??. I beg it may be remembered, by every Gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.”
We need to reduce the deficit. We can make a tiny contribution by getting rid of 49 unneeded czars.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock