Friday, May 29, 2009

A Czar Is Born

Urban Czar
Energy Czar
Faith-based Czar
Green Czar
Border Czar
Regulatory Czar
Health Czar
Car Czar
Tech Czar
Guantánamo closure Czar
Stimulus Czar

And, today! The Cyber Security Czar.

Barack-star loves the czars. According to Foreign Policy, Barack-star surpassed the Romanovs' 300-year production of 18 czars in less than 100 days. The Border czar was #18 for Barry and that was a few weeks ago. No telling how many Czars we have now.

I looked up the definition of czar. Czar: One having great power or authority. I think for Barack-star, though, it's wonkier than that. Barry fancies himself a really smart guy and like most really smart fellows, he wants to be around other folks nearly as smart as him. No silly elected officials for him. Not when he can name a Czar, for goodness sake.

Theoretically {and in the most positive sense}, czars are appointed to cut through government red tape to coordinate policy. Ostensibly, regular old government bureaucrats can't do that because they're just too mired down in the minutia of running the US of A.

In reality, czars are usually appointed by presidents when they want to push through one of their pet policies quickly and under the radar.

Barack-star promised change. I guess naming a proliferation of non-elected Czars with ill-defined roles, and limited or no accountability is part of that change.

But wait a minute. The idea of czars being crowned with super-powers beyond the scope of elected officials, or confirmed-by-congress appointees, isn't a new one.

The last time our government saw such a proliferation of czar naming was during World War II's Rooseveltian power grab:

"...when Roosevelt expanded the government rapidly and appointed a host of brand-new federal overseers. The Washington Post reported in 1942 on the sudden rush of `executive orders creating new czars to control various aspects of our wartime economy' ..."

Once again, you can look to the past to understand the future.


johnc said...

One thing they should think about is that a lot of the real czar's had unfortunate "terminations" from their roles as supreme leader of mother Russia.

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