Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush both had one. President Clinton had three and President George W. Bush had four. No not scandals, press secretaries, or even vetoes overridden. We are talking about powerful positions established by the president by the stroke of a pen without congressional approval or scrutiny. We are talking about czars.
Before President Obama, the undisputed czar king was Franklin Roosevelt, who had twelve czars. But Roosevelt was a minor leaguer compared to Obama who, up until late Saturday night, had thirty-two. In the middle of the night on a holiday weekend, Van Jones, the “green czar,” decided the handwriting was on the wall. He chose to throw in the towel before another shoe could drop. Jones had already seen more shoes dropped than at a sixties sock hop.
First, the story broke that while Jones was a Yale law student and working as an intern in the San Francisco bay area, he participated in the infamous Rodney King riots. Jones took to the streets with thousands of other radicals who believed their time had finally come. Jones was quoted as saying, “Yes, the great revolutionary moment had at long last come. And the time, clearly, was ours! So we stole stuff. Y’know, stole stuff. Radios, tennis shoes…. well, not everybody of course.” Jones tried to downplay his role in the riots admitting to taking part only in what he called “peaceful protests”(you have to wonder what part of “stealing stuff” is peaceful). But in a 2007 reflection on the riots Jones called the riots, “understandable, unavoidable, even necessary.”
Then there was the statement Jones signed in 2004 calling for an investigation into evidence that suggests “people within the current (Bush) administration may indeed have allowed 911 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.” By signing that statement Jones became a card-carrying member of the “911 truther” movement; a collection of oddball, conspiracy theory fanatics who believe the Bush Administration planned and executed the attacks on 911. Again, when his participation came to light, Jones tried to control the damage releasing a statement saying, “As for the petition (911 statement) that was circulated today, I do not agree with this statement and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever.” It was a strong statement but it was too little, too late. Jones has already been placed in the same category with those who believe our landing on the moon was a fake and wrestling is real.
Just when it seemed the furor over Jones might calm down enough for him to survive a tape surfaced from February of Jones using a profane word to refer to Republicans. The weight of all these events crushed the façade of respectability Jones had carefully constructed, leaving nothing but the glaring truth of his radicalism. After the pressure mounted from a multitude of news services, Jones had enough and decided to slink away under the cover of darkness.
The burning question before us now is will Jones be the first and last fallen czar or will his departure be the beginning of a full-scale constellation realignment? As the Obama Administration pushes for more and more government control, more and more Americans are beginning to question his motives. The town hall meetings of August were not just about healthcare. They were supposed to be opportunities for Obama to shore up support for another government takeover but they turned into an opportunity for thousands of concerned citizens to raise their voices over a myriad of issues. The czars are rapidly becoming a distraction for the President and a flashpoint for an electorate hungry for accountability and tired of seeing their government spinning out of control. Czars are individual advisors who are appointed by the president without being subjected to congressional scrutiny. They have an incredible amount of authority over federal departments and federal policy with no congressional oversight.
Other czars with questionable histories include John Holdren, the science czar. In 1977 Holdren wrote, “It has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.” Now there is something we definitely do not need in America…a science czar who believes our Constitution has more in common with Deng Xiaoping than Thomas Jefferson.
Then there is Cass Sunstein, the regulator czar, who said, “Killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being wants to go on living.” Sunstein has also suggested outlawing sport hunting and giving animals the legal right to file lawsuits. Sunstein would be right at home in Spain where the government recently granted gorillas the same rights as humans.
Or, how about Mark Lloyd the diversity czar? Lloyd has suggested imposing a 100 percent tax on broadcast outlets to provide money for “alternative viewpoints” while pushing a plan that would require broadcasters to cater to the demands of local community activists. How would you like to have your local radio station controlled by Acorn?
As the facts come to light concerning the shadowy world of President Obama’s czars one thing is becoming crystal clear. Many Americans are ready to get the czars out of their eyes.
Dr. Tony Beam is Vice-President for Student Services and Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.