Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Obama Administration The Most Prolific Czarist Dynastic in History

Here's a quick rundown on the Obama Czars – at least the ones we know of:

* Afghanistan - Pakistan Czar: Richard Holbrooke. (Obama fashions a government of many czars, Yahoo, May 30, 2009) (Remarks by the President on a New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan,, 3/27/09)

* Bailout Czar: Herb Allison. (Herb Allison: Tapped for TARP?, Forbes, 4/16/09) (Herb Allison expected to be named TARP Czar, AP, 4/14/09)

* Border Czar: Alan Bersin. (Alan Bersin: Obama's ‘Border Czar,' Time Magazine, 4/16/09) (Interview of the President by Juan Carlos Lopez, CNN en Espanol,, 4/15/09)

* Car Czar(s): Dr. Ed Montgomery and Steven Rattner. (Car Czar, Ed Montgomery, Visits Toledo, ABC 13, 5/21/09) (In GM's Chairman, a Choice Beyond Politics, New York Times, 6/11/09) (Car Czar Caught Up in Investigation, Politico, 4/17/09)

* Compensation Czar ("Pay Czar"): Kenneth Feinberg. (Obama New Special Master: "Don't call Him Pay Czar," ABC News, 6/11/09) (Press Briefing,, 6/10/09)

* Copyright Czar: ? (House OKs Copyright Czar, CNet News, 5/8/09)

* Cyber Security Czar: ? (Obama expected to announce cybersecurity revamp, new 'czar', CNet News, 5/29/09) (Microsoft Exec May Be Obama's Cyber-Czar Pick, E Week, 6/11/09) (A Czar You Can Believe In, National Review, 6/3/09)

* Drug Czar: Gil Kerlikowske. (Gil Kerlikowske: Obama's New Drug Czar, Time Magazine, 2/13/09) (White House Announces New Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy,, 3/11/09)

* Energy and Environment Czar: Carol Browner. (Energy Czar: Carol Browner, Time Magazine, 12/15/09) (What Climate Czar Carol Browner Really Does, Newsweek, 4/4/09)

* Great Lakes Cleanup Czar: Cameron Davis. (Obama appoints Cameron Davis as Great Lakes czar, AP, 6/4/09)

* Guantanamo Closure Czar: Daniel Fried. (Fried Names as Guantanamo Closure Czar, The Miami Herald, 5/13/09)

* Health Care Czar: Nancy Ann DeParle. (Obama's Health Czar: Behind the Scenes but Leading the Charge, Time Magazine, 3/3/09) (Nancy-Ann DeParle battles old, new critics, Politico, 5/26/09) (Remarks By President Obama,, 3/2/09)

* Housing Czar: Shaun Donovan. (‘Czars' Ascend at White House, Wall Street Journal, 12/15/09)

* Infotech Czar: Vivek Kundra. (Obama's Indian-American InfoTech Czar Reinstated, Indian Express, 5/18/09)

* Iran Czar: ? (Obama to add another czar to government, Reuters, 6/11/09)

* Middle East Czar: George Mitchell. (Analysis: Czars and Bureaucracy,, 5/29/09) (Remarks by President Obama,, 4/21/09)

* Urban Czar: Aldolfo Carrion Jr. (Conflict-of-interest issues grow for President Obama's new urban czar Adolfo Carrion, New York Daily News, 3/11/09) (President Barack Obama Announces Key White House Posts,, 2/19/09)

* Regulatory Czar: Cass Sunstein. (Obama's Regulatory Czar Likely to Set a New Tone, Wall Street Journal, 1/8/09) (President Obama Announces another Key OMB post,, 4/20/09)

* Stimulus Accountability Czar: Earl Devaney. (Obama to announce stimulus czar on Monday, AP, 2/23/09) (Help Is On the Way,, 2/23/09)

* War Czar: Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute. (War Czar for Bush to Keep His Job, New York Times, 1/13/09)

* WMD Czar: Gary Samore. (New White House WMD Czar Wants Immediate Talks with Iran, to ‘Manage' North Korea Until it Collapses, ABC News, 1/29/09)

Note that some have referred to Secretary Arne Duncan as the "Education Czar," but as Secretary of Education and an actual member of the Cabinet, we figured that didn't apply.

We're not passing judgment on whether a given "czar" is warranted or not. But as Ed Morrissey points out on, these czars are able to "exert power without Congressional oversight." Relying too much on positions that "deliberately bypass Congressional oversight" is a bad precedent for Constitutional government no matter how you justify it.

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