Fox News has focused many hours to uncovering and trying to take down so-called “Czars.” The White House has, apparently, had enough of the nonsense and published a firm statement on their official blog. One of the people they’ve called out is Glenn Beck.
Glenn Beck Claimed There Were 32 “Czars” In The Obama Administration. “The Brainroom counts 32 czars in the Obama administration, based on media reports from reputable sources that have identified the official in question as a czar.” [Glenn Beck Website, 8/21/09]
Reality: Many of the arbitrarily labeled “czars” on Beck’s list are Senate-confirmed appointees or advisory roles carried over from previous administrations. Others are advisors to the President’s Cabinet Secretaries. Beck himself says on his own website, “Since czar isn’t an official job title, the number is somewhat in the eye of the beholder.”
Here are the important points from the White House blog:
- Republicans have supported these positions in the past.
- In fact, the Bush administration had many of the same officials and advisors now described as “czars,” including Afghanistan czar, AIDS czar, Drug czar, Faith-based czar, Intelligence czar, Mideast Peace Czar, Regulatory Czar, Science Czar, Sudan Czar, TARP/Bailout Czar, Terrorism Czar, and Weapons Czar.
- Some hold jobs that involved coordinating the work of agencies on President Obama’s key policy priorities: health insurance reform, energy and green jobs, and building a new foundation for long-lasting economic growth
- Of the 32 “czars” on Beck’s list, nine were confirmed by the Senate
- Sen. Robert Bennett has criticized czars as “undermining the Constitution,” but reportedly prodded President Clinton to appoint a Y2K Czar. In a 1999 CNN appearance, Sen. Bennett said “I think John Koskinen has been superb. I wrote the president six months before John was appointed, recommending that he appoint a Y2K czar.”
- Senator Lamar Alexander has also criticized President Obama’s “czars,” calling them “an affront to the Constitution.” But during remarks delivered on the Senate floor in 2003, Sen. Alexander said “I would welcome” President Bush’s “manufacturing job czar.”
- When asked on Fox News if he had opposed any of President Bush’s “czars,” Rep. Darrell Issa responded “No we didn’t,” despite previously claiming that czars “undermine” transparency and accountability.