And Now, a Word About ‘Czar’ Mythology
Posted on Sep 28, 2009
Certain prominent media figures who shall remain nameless (particularly one whose name just might rhyme with “Shmenn Shmeck”) are getting all worked up about President Obama’s “czars” and, having latched onto this term as fodder for a little old-fashioned partisan punditry, are busy freaking out their followers with sinister socialist imagery—but let’s take a good look at the recent history of this term in American politics, shall we? —KA
A friend of mine sent me a link claiming that Obama has more czars than any other president ever and he is trying to turn the USA into a dictatorship. Please give me confirmation so I can give it to her that she has no reason to fear. Does hiring czars allow a president to bypass Congress for approval? And does President Obama have more than any other president?
It’s meaningless to ask a question about what “hiring czars” allows a president to do, because presidents don’t hire czars. “Czar” is a label bestowed by the media – and sometimes the administration – as a shorthand for the often-cumbersome titles of various presidential advisers, assistants, office directors, special envoys and deputy secretaries. (After all, what makes for a better headline – “weapons czar” or “undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics”?)
There’s been a certain fascination with calling Obama’s advisers and appointees “czars.” Fox News host Glenn Beck has identified 32 Obama czars on his Web site, whom he has characterized as a collective “iceberg” threatening to capsize the Constitution.
The “Fox News czar”?: Glenn Beck is counting czars these days on his eponymous TV show.