dancing with the czars

From The American Thinker

The three dozen or so people that Barack Obama has surrounded himself with to handle this problem or that issue, and yet are not confirmed by the Senate or operating an agency created by Congress, are not really his “czars.”  These people are, instead, his “commissars.”   Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany both called those vague, undefined figures appointed by the Leader to carry out his intentions “commissars” (Hollywood never speaks of Nazi commissars for the same reason that it never notes that Nazi Party members called each other “comrade” – the pretense that Nazis and Bolsheviks were polar opposites rather than identical twins is too vital a myth to dispel.)

In our constitutional republic, government does not have a role in every part of life.  That is why Congress has to create departments, agencies and administrations.   Everything that the federal government does must, in some way, relate to its powers under the Constitution.  The first cabinet offices dealt with clear cut federal duties – diplomacy, war, justice, money, and postal services.  Before Congress creates a federal office, a threshold question is whether the Constitution allows the work of that office to be done by the federal government.   That is the heart of limited government.

There is, for example, no Department to Promote Politically Correct Thinking.  No Congress would ever pass a law creating such an entity.  A terrified Reichstag or the Central Committee of the Communist Party, on the other hand, might well do that.  In those totalitarian regimes, “government” does not really exist:  the party exists or, rather, the party and the state in a hopeless confusion of purpose and function.  The very independence of Congress, even a venal and silly Congress, is a natural check upon a party-state with a leader at its apex.

Afghanistan/Pakistan Czar – Richard Holbrooke  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

AIDS Czar – Jeffrey Crowley   President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Asian Carp Czar – John Goss Council on Environmental Quality selected

Auto Recovery Czar – Ed Montgomery  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Auto Czar – Ron Bloom  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Bank Bailout/TARP Czar – Herbert Allison  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Border Czar – Alan Bersin  Secretary of Homeland Security Appointed

California Water Czar – David J. Hayes  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Central Region Czar – Dennis Ross  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Climate/Energy/Global Warming Czar – Carol Browner  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Compensation/Pay/Gulf Claims Czar – Kenneth Feinberg  Secretary of Treasury Appointed

Consumer Czar – Elizabeth Warren  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Copyright Czar – Victoria Espinel  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Cyber Security Czar – Michael Daniel replaced Howard Schmidt  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Domestic Violence Czar – Lynn Rosenthal Vice President Appointed

Drug Czar – Gil Kerlikowske  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Economic Czar – Paul Volcker  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Energy and Environment Czar – Carol Browner President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Ethics/Transparency Czar – Robert Bauer  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Faith-Based Czar – Joshua DuBois  President Appointed, not confirmed by the Senate

Government Performance Czar – Jeffrey Zients

Great Lakes Czar – Cameron Davis  EPA Appointed

Guantanamo Closure Czar – Daniel Fried  Secretary of State Appointed

Health Czar – Nancy-Ann DeParle  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Information Czar – Vivek Kundra  President Appointed, position created by statute

Intelligence Czar – Dennis Blair  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Iran Czar – Dennis Ross  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Manufacturing Czar – Ron Bloom  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Mideast Peace Czar – George Mitchell  Secretary of State Appointed

Performance Czar – Jeffrey Zients  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Regulatory Czar – Cass R. Sunstein  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Science Czar – John Holdren – President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Stimulus Accountability Czar – Earl Devaney  President Appointed, position created by statute

Sudan Czar – J. Scott Gration Secretary of State Appointed

Technology Czar – Aneesh Chopra  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

Terrorism Czar – John Brennan  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

Urban Affairs Czar – Adolfo Carrion Jr.  President Appointed by Executive Order, not confirmed by the Senate

War Czar – Douglas Lute  Held over from Bush Administration

Weapons Czar – Ashton Carter  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate

WMD Policy Czar – Gary Samore  President Nominated, confirmed by Senate



  1. Obama’s Czars : oboner.com 8.27.09 / 2pm

    […] 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 […]

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