Speaking of Czars…


September 16, 2009 by esarsea


I’m not prepared to make a declarative statement regarding the explosive growth of so-called “Presidential Czars” under the Obama administration. Truth to be told I don’t know enough about it. Critics are concerned by the apparent bypassing of the authority of congress. Supporters claim the positions help focus attention on big issues and that it’s of benefit to have someone in charge of them.

 Here’s a listing of Presidential Czars, staring with President Reagan in 1985 to present. I’m looking forward to Bill and Randy bouncing this one back and forth – if for no other reason than to help me decide how I feel about having all these Czars.

President Reagan: 1 Czar

Drug Czar, Carlton Turner

President George H. W. Bush: 1 Czar

Drug Czar, William Bennett (’89) and Robert Martinez (’91)

President Clinton: 3 Czars

Health Czar, Ira Magaziner

Drug Czar, Lee Brown (’93) and Barry McCaffrey (’96)

AIDS Czar, Kristine M. Gebbie (’93), Patricia S. Fleming (’94) and Sandy Thurman (’97).

President George W. Bush: 4 Czars

National Intelligence Czar, John D. Negroponte (’05) and
Mike McConnell (’07).

Cybersecurity Czar, Rod Beckstram

AIDS Czar, Scott Evertz (’01) and Dr. Joseph O’Neill (’02)

Drug Czar, John Walters

President Obama: 44 Czars (and counting)

Afghanistan-Pakistan Czar, Richard Holbrooke

AIDS Czar, Jeffrey Crowley

Auto recovery Czar, Ed Montgomery

Behavioral science Czar, position not yet filled

Bailout Czar, Herbert Allison Jr., [replaced Bush bailout czar Neel Kashkari, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability confirmed by Senate]

Border Czar, Alan Bersin

Car Czar, Ron Bloom [Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury , under Senate oversight]

Climate change Czar, Todd Stern

Copyright Czar, not appointed yet

Counterterrorism Czar, John Brennen

Cybersecurity Czar, position vacated on August 21st upon the departure of Melissa Hathaway

Disinformation Czar, Linda Douglass

Domestic violence Czar, Lynn Rosenthal

Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske

Economic Czar, Larry Summers

Economic Czar number two, Paul Volcker

Education Czar, Arne Duncan

Energy Czar, Carol Browner

Food Czar, Michael Taylor

Government performance Czar, Jeffrey Zients

Great Lakes Czar, Cameron Davis

Green jobs Czar, Van Jones

Guantanamo closure Czar, Daniel Fried

Health Czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle

Infotech Czar, Vivek Kundra

Intelligence Czar, Dennis Blair [Director of National Intelligence, a Senate confirmed position]

Latin-American Czar, Arturo Valenzuela (nominee). [although this post is referred to as a Czar, he is nominatied to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and so is subject to Senate confirmation. Voting on his confirmation was delayed to clarify his position on Honduras.

Mideast peace Czar, George Mitchell

Mideast policy Czar, Dennis Ross

Pay Czar, Kenneth Feinberg

Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein

Religion Czar, Joshua DuBois

Safe schools Czar, Kevin Jennings [appointed to be Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools], a newly created post (that does not require Senate confirmation).

Science Czar, John Holdren

Stimulus oversight Caar, Earl Devaney

Sudan Czar, J. Scott Gration

TARP Czar, Elizabeth Warren [chair of the [Congressional Oversight Panel for the Trouble Assets Relief Program; note that Herb Allison is frequently called the TARP Czar]

Technology Czar, Aneesh Chopra

Trade Czar, Ron Kirk

Urban affairs Czar,  Adolfo Carrion

War Czar, Douglas Lute 

Water Czar, David J. Hayes [a Deputy Interior Secretary and therefore subject to Senate oversight]

Weapons Czar, Ashton Carter [actually Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and so subject to Senate confirmation]

Weapons of mass destruction Czar, Gary Samore

Positions being planned:

Income redistribution Czar

Land-use Czar

Mortgage Czar, formally “consumer financial protection czar” 

Radio-internet fairness Czar

Student loan Czar, to oversee a program of mandatory service in return for college money 

Voter list Czar

Zoning Czar


12 thoughts on “Speaking of Czars…

  1. torqdog says:

    Hey Stu!……. ya left out the most important Czar of them all.
    The Eric Czar! ;-)

    I’ll get back to ya when time permits.

    I give the floor to Bill. :-)

  2. Jane says:

    where did you get the info?
    wiki is not fail safe source but its saying Bush had 36

  3. Jane says:

    ok its says media cited, thats sort of a joke but thats where most of this controversy is starting

  4. Stu says:

    I don’t recall and didn’t save the websites. I just googled the subject and when I found 3 or 4 matching lists I just ran with it. I did not check Wiki however…and it’s interesting to learn GW had 36? If this is true I wonder why the Democrats are not pointing this out in response to the uproar from the other side of the aisle? Or maybe they are, and I am just blissfully unaware :-)

  5. Bill says:

    I listened to the same thing last night on the news, that Bush had 30-40 “czars” in charge of different programs, as well. As I scan the list here, I see a handful of new “czars” created in reaction to recent one-time events like bailouts, TARP, Mortgages, Cars, Pay, Stimulus, etc.

    Just the word “czar” has been seized upon as some sort of sign of the coming rest-home apocalypse. Since the word “czar” originated in old Russia, surely we are headed for the socialism that fuels our tea party fad, no? It’s a word first used by Ronald Reagan, but that doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s being used by a black man in the White House is just damn scary.

    Why, I caught him in my bedroom last night trying to steal my medications from the night stand. I know he was going to give them to illegal aliens. When I called my doctor this morning for emergency refills, he warned me that if I was taking my meds more frequently than what he prescribed, I could have hullucinations that a black man was in my bedroom in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t mind so much because I am very lonely. But I’ve always been very afraid of black people.

    I have to run. Our “Sunnyside Up!” project at the home today is making a cover for a Dodge Charger out of a Confederate flag.

    • rsr348 says:

      He,he,he. Yup. What it really comes down to is the black boy. People won’t admit that’s their real issue, so they’ll stretch and contort any issue they can, and get the uninformed whack jobs to scream about it.

  6. Bill says:

    This just in from th Washington Post: “By one count, Bush had 36 czar positions”
    Washington Post reports that a count of Bush czars yielded 36 positions. Reporting on conservative criticism of the Obama administration’s czars, The Washington Post stated, “Lists drawn up by conservative groups detail as many as 40 czars linked to Obama, although some of the positions existed before he took office, and some did win Senate approval.” The Post further reported that “Richard M. Nixon named a drug czar and an energy czar, and George W. Bush named czars to coordinate policy efforts on a range of issues. By one count, Bush had 36 czar positions filled by 46 people during his eight years as president.” [The Washington Post, 9/16/09]

    I stand corrected on Ronnie Raygun starting the “czar”-thing. The Post says it was Trickie Dickie.

  7. Jane says:

    i saw that article also and i tried to find out who the one source was, i think it might have been wikipedia. i mean for real. you just can’t rely on much in today’s “news”. like the photos of the 9-12 protests in dc. they were actually from like 10 years ago at the million man march or something and the quote from one person saying it was the biggest crowd on the mall ever, that was speaking of Obama’s inaguration but Fox “news” has people reporting it as having been said about the 9-12 beck protests.


    • rsr348 says:

      yep. heard about the 9-12 thing too. The fringe certainly tries to be ingenious in their methods, and sadly, they are able to convince a large portion of our population. Maybe they’ll just secede pretty soon and take back their country.

  8. Randy Spiker says:

    You know…… after much thought I’ve decided NOT to post anything here in this thread regarding the Czars. What’s the point anyway? Too much seen already that makes me think that the delusions are inpenetrable and besides, I just returned from vacation, a week without T.V., phones, newspapers, talk radio and most of all, the political chit that goes down as discussion on the forums I visit. Yep, tonight I rocked out in the man-cave and reminded myself of more important things to get all excited about……….. like putting on Joe Bonamassa’s Fort Wayne video from 2001. That thing still just kicks major ass people.

    Sorry to disappoint and I’m sure I’ll regain my gruff political composure at some point in the future but for now, I’m just not into it.

  9. Stu says:

    Maybe I’m a bit naive, but I really don’t believe it’s a racial issue. Well, maybe it is in some parts of the South (or the Idaho panhandle) but not in general terms. If Obama was 100% white instead of 50% white with the same goals, opinions, appointments and policies etc I think the reactions would be exactly the same. It’s more a right vs left, party-line thing IMO.

    It seems the only time I hear anything about the whole race issue is when his supporters bring it up as a way to explain away opposing views.

  10. Bill says:

    I think it would be equally naive to think all the policy challenges are 100% race-based. Some of it is just a conservative reaction to liberal policy attempts. It’s a natural point of friction. It’s the extreme-fringe tone and rally cries that are looking rascist. Dude in Congress who shouted,”You lie!” has a history of activity in groups like the Sons of the Confederacy, etc.

    You think he’s happy there’s a black president guiding policy in the country?

    Jesus! We even gave George Bush a couple of years to show us that we were in for a haywagon ride to hell before the signs and marches started. I just remember how upset guys like Hannity were at protesters against Bush and war. They were traitors. Now, protesters against Obama are “patriots.”

    It’s a bit confusing.

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