When you wish upon a czar

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A CZAR…. Karl Rove was asked this week, “What’s going on with all the czars?” The question, apparently, was in response to administration announcements regarding “czars” on environmental policies. Rove, via Twitter, responded:

“[D]arned if I can figure out all the czars, except a giant expansion of presidential power.”

Is that so. The creation of administrative czars is dubious, Rove believes, because if there’s one thing conservatives worry about, it’s the undue expansion of presidential power.

It’s interesting to hear Rove come to this conclusion now, given the extraordinary Bush/Cheney affinity for czars. Kyle Schmidt noted that Rove himself was deemed the “domestic policy czar” in the Bush White House.

Schmidt also reminds me that I wrote a piece on this subject a couple of years ago, which sought to detail the Bush administration’s reflexive creation of new czars for every conceivable policy challenge. In the span of about six years, Rove’s White House oversaw the creation of a “food safety czar,” a “cybersecurity czar,” a “regulatory czar,” an “AIDS czar,” a “manufacturing czar,” an “intelligence czar,” a “bird-flu czar,” and a “Katrina czar.”

It was such a common strategy for Bush, Rove, and the gang, that it quickly became the butt of jokes. Newsweek satirist Andy Borowitz suggested in 2007 that the White House needed a “lying czar” to “oversee all distortions and misrepresentations.”

Rove, in other words, is complaining about the creation of policy czars, after the White House he helped run oversaw the creation of policy czars.

There’s a reason I call this guy the Original King of Irony.