Claude Cartaginese

FOX NEWS: Czar 54, Where Are You?

Posted on July 13 2009 7:37 am
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Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made an interesting comparison on his weekly Fox News program Sunday. In the more than 300 years that Russia was ruled by the Romanov Dynasty, that family produced a grand total of 18 Czars–authoritarian figures that ruled the country with a heavy hand. By contrast, in just 6 months of being in office, President Barack Obama has appointed at least 32 Czars, with, Huckabee adds, “more on the way.”

The Obama administration has sworn in a Copyright Czar, an Education Czar, a Mortgage Czar, a Stimulus Accountability Czar and a Pay Czar, among others. We now even have a Great Lakes Czar. To be fair, Huckabee noted, presidents “from Roosevelt to Bush [also] have appointed so-called Czars to head up special task forces or to work across agency lines to accelerate the often ridiculously slow wheels of government.”

All true. Then what’s the harm in Obama appointing all of these Czars?

Plenty, if you take the time to think about it.

By definition, a Czar is accountable to no one (the word itself derives from the Gothic word “kaisar,” the Germanic transliteration of the title “Caesar,” the Roman Emperor whose word was law). There is no vetting, no confirmation hearing, and no public debate regarding any of these Czars’ appointments. As Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, who, as the oldest serving member of Congress, knows a thing or two about acquiring and maintaining power, observed:

“They [the Czars] rarely testify before congressional committees and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege.”  At times, he said, one outcome has been to “inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.”

“The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the constitutional system of checks and balances,” Byrd said.

As Huckabee notes, “the truly brilliant and inspired men who created our form of government designed it to go slow in making big changes. They were so afraid of vesting too much power in one person or even one branch of government that they created a government that was as tough to steer as a big ship with a small rudder.”

What a difference one election can make. With our new political mantra being one of “hope” and “change” (something, presumably, our founding fathers were ignorant of) as dictated by a mystical teleprompter, what’s a little usurpation of power by a few dozen Czars when the grand scheme of the current occupant of the White House is no less than the creation of a socially engineered Utopia?

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