"The czar phenomenon is reflected in the rising number of White House special assistants for "x, y and z," as well as special envoys, special representatives and special advisers at the State Department. While there has long been a statutory czar at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, for example, recent appointments have followed suit. To name a few, Steve Rattner was named lead adviser on auto industry issues -- better known as the car czar. Nancy-Ann DeParle was appointed counselor to the president and director of the White House Office of Health Reform -- aka health czar. And on Friday, the president announced a new White House cyber czar would be named to work on the threat to national security from hackers or terrorists.
While the term "czar" is getting ubiquitous, these positions are a far cry from the czarist Russia image. Today's government czars lack such dictatorial authority. It is more correct to call them collaborators, since their role is to bring together people from different agencies, sectors and nations. These jobs are nonhierarchical and have no direct control over anyone. Modern-day czars must instead use persuasive, partnership skills."Well, that's sure to scare the hell out of the righteous, I guess. Or the brain-dead. Because as the loyal opposition has proven by its actions of the last 8 months, we can't be having any of that there damned ol' consensus, now. Abramson goes on:
"Government czars are designated problem-solvers who are consciously placed outside the traditional bureaucracy, giving them several advantages in getting their job done.
For starters, they aren't bogged down with managing a large organization...
Designated problem-solvers can focus exclusively on one set of issues until they are resolved. George Mitchell, appointed special envoy for Middle East peace, and Richard Holbrooke, as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, are prime examples...
Government czars have the ability to reach across boundaries to work with the public and nonprofit sectors, state and local governments, and even other nations."Of course, presidents going back to Nixon appointed titular "czars", and Dubya had over 30, a fact that the Right never even raised an eyebrow at while he was illegally listening to their cocktail chatter and ripping habeas corpus out of their laws. But this means nothing to those blinded by the Right. Leave it to the Luddites and cranks to see it as yet another conspiracy to wrest our guns and butter away from us. You can bet MacCain won't be having it; he's lining up with Alexander on this, and while he's at it, he's putting the kibosh on comunnistic enterprises like improving water quality for people in Illinois and cutting wastewater and drinking water infrastructure funding for rural and Alaskan native villages. Good deal, Mac. And while you're at it, why not add an amendment to make those damned kids get off your lawn.
Update: I almost forgot this gem in Abramson's comments:
"It seems like a bad idea to have individuals that are not overseen by our elected officials."and this:
"It's concerning that the "czars" only report to the President and are not accountable to anyone else!"And of course, this, which I swear to you that I did not make up:
"The use off Czar which takes us back to a mid-evil time doesn't sound like progress. Czars were also the name used to address the Sultons of time past. I think its a ploy to get the minds of the people off a true democracy and embrace the easter ideas as well as their religion. Look at the Czars and who they were and what they did. And you'll be glad they aren't honored any more. They were Horrable dictators. I think Obama I a Video gamer and doesn't understand what he's headed for or who's leading him. He's been deceived and hasn't made an intellegent puposefull decession since he took office. His affiliation with the Ratcal Wright who thinks he's a minister has damaged his ability to think. He about as smart as Kerry and Edwards if you know what I mean. How do people like that even get on the Bar let alone become learders."
Setting aside the troubling easter ideas that Obama has foisted off on us in this untimely season (but thank God not during mid-evil times), we know we certainly wouldn't care to have anyone in government who was not overseen by our elected officials---officials like, say, the President who appointed them in the first place. Then, on the other hand, we wouldn't want people in government who are only accountable to the President---people like the Secretaries of the Cabinet.
Methinks these folks aren't worried about the form of government they already have. They just want a whole NEW form, one that more closely resembles the authoritarian Daddy-figure in their nightmares, one that will sit them down, shut them up, waste their liberal siblings in a satisfactory manner when they step out of line, and lay down a suppressing line of fire on any scary-looking strangers that dare wander by. Yeesh. We're definitely ready for The Road.