HOW BIZ-CZAR…. Shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, many on the left noticed that the Republican Party was effectively being led by Rush Limbaugh. There was a leadership vacuum, and the right-wing radio host was filling it.
But as the year has progressed, the GOP seems less influenced by Limbaugh, and more influenced by Glenn Beck. It was Beck who launched a crusade against Van Jones, eventually helping force his ouster. It was Beck who’s waged war against ACORN, leading to votes like these.
And it’s Beck who believes Obama administration “czars” are part of some kind of nefarious plot. And what was once an idea driven by fringe, right-wing paranoia has now been embraced by Republican lawmakers.
Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-Ga.) has rapidly signed up 99 co-sponsors for his Czar Accountability and Reform Act of 2009….
All but one of them are Republicans: the member of the majority party backing Kingston’s crusade to prevent presidential advisers who haven’t been approved by the Senate from collecting salaries is Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.)All are Republicans. (See update below.)
At 2:15 p.m., at least three House Republicans will join Kingston (R-Ga.) for a press conference on “their efforts to bring about increased transparency and accountability for President Obama’s czars.”
A group of GOP senators is starting to take this seriously, too.
We’ve been over all the reasons why this is absurd. But the one angle that strikes me as the most salient is the fact that President Obama’s use of officials is entirely routine. The Washington Post noted today, “By one count, Bush had 36 czar positions filled by 46 people during his eight years as president.”
If even just one Republican lawmaker or Fox News personality had expressed even the slightest concern about this, it’d be easy to take their overwrought anguish seriously now. But that never happened — Bush’s legion of “czars” was fine. Indeed, the “czars” employed by all of the modern presidents weren’t the least bit controversial. But with Obama, it’s grounds for apoplexy? (In some instances, conservatives thought Bush didn’t have enough czars.)
Several of the White House’s “czars” have been confirmed by the Senate. Some of these “czars” are filling positions created by Congress. Nearly all of these “czars” are filling offices that existed long before Obama became president. Indeed, “czars” is just a colloquial shorthand for officials with long titles — no one in government actually has the word in his or her job title.
What we have here is the Republican Attack Machine following Beck’s lead, looking for the next baseless attack to throw a tantrum over.
UPDATE: Clay of Missouri is not a co-sponsor of this legislation. It was reported erroneously due to a clerical error. Hotflash at Show Me Progress has the whole story.