President Obama spent much of his presidential campaign running against, not John McCain (the Republican nominee and his ACTUAL opponent), but George W. Bush. Uttering the outgoing Republican president’s name – which was actually banned on university campuses, high end cafes, and inner-city parks for fear of inciting riots – was a key component of Obama’s electoral strategy and stump speeches:
Obama: Government Run Health Care…
Obama: Wall Street
Obama: George Bush
Puppets: Lock and Load!
Since taking over the reigns of the White House, the Obama administration has even devoted a significant amount of time to denouncing policies of the Bush administration. Obama has either used the anti-Bush defense to justify his own shortcomings (“the previous administration spent a lot of money, too, you know?”) or to win concessions otherwise thought unattainable (“Hey, Ahmadinejad, I won’t take up too much of your time. I know you have to get back to brutally suppressing your insolent people. But I just wanted to apologize for the previous administration calling you evil.”).
Occasionally, Obama has quietly continued Bush-era policies – much to the dismay of the left. For example, Obama has either preserved or tweaked Bush’s approach to state secrets, military commissions, targeted military killings, rendition, and warrantless wiretaps.
One particular case of glaring hypocrisy overlooked by the mainstream media pertains to Obama’s overwhelming reliance on “czars.” These administration officials have been appointed to develop, implement, and manage federal programs and policies. They are basically cabinet secretaries; except they bypass the traditional constitutional advice and consent of the Senate, and Obama already has cabinet secretaries.
We all remember the left’s shrieks anytime it was reported Dick Cheney and his “shadow government” coughed. Candidate Obama decried Bush’s executive branch consolidation of power. Not only did he blame our nation’s biggest problems on such consolidation, he vowed to reverse the trend when he became president. I would say “we’re waiting,” but it has become abundantly clear that Obama has established a potent executive consisting of officials that have bypassed legislative and public scrutiny.
Appointing czars is not a novel concept. Previous administrations have employed this tactic to utilize respected policy experts – typically for a narrow objective (drug czar). The Obama administration, however, has expanded the role of the czar – numerically and structurally. There is not even a consensus on the number of czars, but it’s within the 32-35 range. They range from the consequential (intelligence czar) to the minute (dog czar…ok, not really. But let’s wait and see if they can come up with the “racism in the Cambridge police department czar.”).
In a cabinet that would make Ivan the Terrible’s blush, Obama also relies on a car czar, compensation czar, and green jobs czar. These particular czars play a critical role because they dominate sectors no longer deemed capable of abiding by free market principles by the left. The auto, financial, and alternative energy industries now fall outside the purview of rationale consumers and can only be properly administered by a single individual within the White House.
It’s not enough to have a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we also need an urban czar. Perhaps when urban czar Adolfo Carrion Jr. figures out the intricacies of approving public projects for his private architect or taking donations from real estate agents that benefited from his rezoning, Carrion will truly be able to redress America’s cities.
We now have a non-proliferation czar and a war czar, not to be confused with the Secretary of Defense. Why not merge the non-proliferation czar with the war czar (and throw in the infotech czar to form the long-overdue “Terminator Rise of the Machines Czar”? Or just bring back the nostalgic “Secretary of War” title to confer upon Robert Gates.
What if you cannot get Tom Daschle confirmed as your Secretary of Health and Human Services because of his tax issues? No worries, there is a back door. Just appoint a health-care czar to spearhead your universal government health-care push? That way, you are not just a hypocrite for the shadow government charge. By bringing in Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, who made millions in the health care industry after her service in the Clinton administration, you are also a hypocrite on the “no lobbyists in my administration” boast.
We are told that these are perilous times that call for drastic measures. We have heard this claim before, as far back as President Franklin Roosevelt and as recently Senator Palpatine (http://www.starwars.idv.tw/story/character/dark/senator_palpatine.jpg). But it is precisely because we face such national uncertainty that we must practice prudence and enhanced oversight. Health care, finance, manufacturing, and alternative energy comprise trillions of dollars worth of our annual GDP. Displacing oversight of those industries from officials accountable to the President, Congress, and American people to officials answerable to only the President is an alarming practice. For it’s one thing to steal a couple of men’s shirts at JC Penney, it’s another to steal our free market and fundamental constructs of our democracy.
StairwaytoKevin usually isn’t this bitter, but with the Yankees playing good ball, he has to switch the focus of his sarcasm and angst. All comments welcome, but “LOL”s encouraged.