Obama Has Too Many Czars, Critics Complain
Sen. Byrd says Obama's 'super aide' craze is a power grab
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 5, 2009 10:05 AM CST
Robert Byrd waves as he arrives on Capitol Hill Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009. Byrd thinks Obama has too many czars.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Barack Obama loves czars. He’s got an energy czar, an urban affairs czar, an economic czar, and, most recently, a health reform czar, making him the most czar-happy president ever, scholars say. But lawmakers worry they’re losing ground in the "super aide" craze, the LA Times reports. Sen. Robert Byrd sent a cautionary letter to Obama last week telling him that his czars are assuming duties that ought to belong to officials confirmed by Congress.

The Obama administration says it needs czars, high-powered advisers who work across departments, to improve efficiency. But Byrd complains that past czars have avoided congressional testimony, hiding behind executive privilege. “The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the constitutional system,” he wrote. Scholars say that fear is valid, and one noted a practical concern: “There are so many czars in this White House, they'll be constantly bumping in to each other.”

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Sep 7, 2009 1:05 AM CDT
Actually, czars have been around for several administrations. I think they go back to Nixon or Johnson (possibly farther back). The issue republicans have is that the number of czars have increased exponentially under Obama. (W. had 8 or 9. Obama currently has ~30+) Czars are a potential problem because they are not subject to Congressional oversight, unlike other officers appointed by the President. They can potentially wield immense power over their respective areas and are accountable to no one except the president. My God! Next time you want to criticize Republicans, take your political blinders off and consider other people's points of view. You come across as obnoxious as right wingers.
Sep 7, 2009 12:06 AM CDT
CZAR= one in authority, a leader. How is appointing someone to lead a particular area that has not had oversight wrong? Under Bush---he had his CZAR for Home Land Security and he appointed his FEMA director and had someone watching him. What do you call Tom Delay, Phil Gramm and the likes of the Bush administration, oh I forgot they were BUSHIES. Republicans have become as laughable as they are pathetic. They have nothing better to do, than nit pick this administration to death. If they worked this hard on the things they were elected to do...maybe they'd actually come up with SOLUTIONS. Oh, but that would mean that they would have to have a clue...and they don't.
Mar 5, 2009 1:09 AM CST
I thought the communists were the ones who killed the czars....