Has anyone else noticed that one of the hallmarks of the Obama presidency is the proliferation of “Czars”? There seems to be a Czar for pretty much anything you can think of, whether it’s Medicare, the War on Drugs, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Consumer Protection (that would be Elizabeth Warren) or Intellectual Property.
One thing they have in common is that very few of them have been confirmed by the Senate, so they are essentially given significant executive powers with no congressional scrutiny as to their suitability for the post or the agenda they bring to their roles.
Wikipedia reports that of 39 Czar titles doled out by Obama, 33 of them were appointed without Senate confirmation. Don’t think his predecessor, George W. Bush, was much better though: of 32 Czars he appointed, 27 were not confirmed by the Senate. Note that who is and is not a Czar is sometimes unclear, as the titles given to the individuals usually differ.
Needless to say, there are many critics of these types of appointments. Ron Paul says:
Outrageously, [Warren] has been appointed as a “special advisor” to design and lead the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau], but the administration has not disclosed the exact length of her term. There will be no Senate confirmation hearings, nor will the public or the financial industry be allowed to comment on her appointment. We simply are expected to accept the appointment of an enormously powerful regulator without question, and without regard to the constitutional requirement that the Senate advise and consent with regard to her appointment. This means you, as a voter and citizen, effectively have no say whatsoever for the duration of her appointment. In the meantime, she has unprecedented new powers over private business decisions. …Real reform starts with transparency and an adherence to the rule of law. The administration would do well to adhere to the law, rather than shoving a new economic czar down our throats without congressional involvement.
He has a point, doesn’t he?