The truth about czars

Honestly, I’m not too concerned about the proliferation of new czars in the Obama administration. But many people are, including an increasing number of Democrats. Now the White House is firing back at its critics, calling them liars:

Last week, when the President addressed the Joint Session of Congress in a speech on health reform, he referred to some of the untruths – okay, lies – that have been spread about the plan and sent a clear message to those who seek to undermine his agenda and his presidency with these tactics: “We will call you out.” So consider this one of those calls.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen with increasing frequency and volume issues raised around the use of “czars” by this Administration. Although some Members have asked serious questions around the makeup of the White House staff, the bulk of the noise you hear began first with partisan commentators, suggesting that this is somehow a new and sinister development that threatens our democracy. This is, of course, ridiculous. Just to be clear, the job title “czar” doesn’t exist in the Obama Administration. Many of the officials cited by conservative commentators have been confirmed by the Senate. Many hold policy jobs that have existed in previous Administrations. And some hold jobs that involved coordinating the work of agencies on President Obama’s key policy priorities: health insurance reform, energy and green jobs, and building a new foundation for long-lasting economic growth.

As usually seems to be the case, it is the White House that is being dishonest. The crux of its defense is three arguments:

  • Many czars are confirmed by the Senate.
  • Many czars existed in previous administrations.
  • Some czars are really important.

The third isn’t germane to the complaints, so let’s set it aside. As for the first two, a handy guide from the Washington Post lays out the true distribution of czars:

wpost-czars

So according to the Washington Post, President Obama has more than doubled the number of czars, and just one of the new czars faces Senate confirmation.

As I said, I don’t care all that much. But I do care that the White House calls people liars when they are the ones being dishonest. That’s just despicable.

(Via Hot Air.)

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