Obama's Czars: A Shadow Government?

*Czar: The term originated from Caesar, which came to be defined as an authoritarian ruler. Andrea Lafferty

As President-Elect Barack Obama assembles his Cabinet, staff, and advisors, TVC is concerned that he is establishing a shadow government of “czars”* in the West Wing of the White House. These czars will apparently have more power than cabinet officials – and report directly to Obama.

“These czars will be accountable to him alone and no one knows precisely how much power each of these individuals will wield over our nation’s policies during the next four years,” said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty. “They will impose Obamunism upon our nation.”

Former liberal Senator Tom Daschle will become the Secretary of Health and Human Services and have an office in the West Wing of the White House. He will be director of the Office of Health Reform. Daschle will apparently run two offices – one as a czar and the other as Secretary of HHS. As czar, he will have unprecedented added power that will extend to veterans and federal employment issues – areas typically not under the authority of HHS.

“In this post, Daschle will most likely push the abortion and homosexual agenda,” said TVC Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon. “The abortionists and homosexuals who helped get Obama elected must be thrilled with all of these czars with power to impose abortion and homosexuality on our military and federal bureaucracies.”

Obama’s energy czar is Obamunist Carole Browner who ran the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Bill Clinton and has exhibited a tendency to impose draconian environmental policies. According to the Washington Post, she will exert her authority over half a dozen federal departments and agencies, including Energy, Interior, Defense and the EPA. Her views may clash with the Cabinet members who will head these Departments. Browner had been listed as a leader of the socialist group Commission for a Sustainable World Society – but her biography was scrubbed from the site when she was named to the energy czar post.

Obama’s new “Chief Performance Czar” is Nancy Killefer, who has been hired to supposedly make federal programs more efficient. Killefer is a Clinton retread who worked as assistant Treasury secretary for management from 1997-2000. As Clinton left office, he appointed Killefer to the IRS Oversight Board, a group that was to give Congress assessments of IRS practices and spending. “If fixing the IRS is her claim to fame, how will she fix the rest of the government,” said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty.

Killefer will also serve as deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama also plans to appoint a “car czar,” an education/housing agenda for cities czar, and more. Obama is currently considering Georgetown University Professor Daniel Tarullo for the auto czar post. Tarullo is another Clinton retread who worked as deputy assistant to the president for economic policy in the 1990s. If chosen as auto czar, Tarullo will have the authority to micromanage the automobile industry from the West Wing of the White House – effectively socializing the industry under Obama.

A second possible pick for “car czar” is Steven Rattner, founder of the Quadrangle Group, LLC. Rattner is a former reporter for the New York Times and was associated with Morgan Stanley in 1984 and later with Lazard Freres & Co.

Rattner was a fundraiser for Al Gore’s 2000 run for the White House. He was also consulted by Gore to help him finance a liberal news network known as Current TV, which is on hundreds of cable systems throughout the U.S. Rattner is also an investor in Cablevision Systems and is on its board.

Having an Al Gore ‘chicken little’ environmentalist running the automotive industry in America could spell the death of the industry,” said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty.

Obama has appointed Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein to head up the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He will be overseeing regulations throughout the federal government, including the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a bureaucratic monstrosity created by President Richard Nixon. Businesses spend $33 billion a year to comply with OSHA regulations! This figure will probably increase under Obama/Sunstein.

Obama has picked retired Admiral Dennis Blair to become the Director of National Intelligence, another czar post. Blair will manage a 16-agency bureaucracy.

Obama is also considering creating a federal technology czar post, but the role is undefined.

Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the creating of czar positions. “We’re going to have so many czars, it’s going to be a lot of fun, seeing the czars and the regulators and the czars and the Cabinet secretaries debate.”

Bruce Herschenson, a professor of foreign policy at Pepperdine University was a deputy special assistant to President Richard Nixon. He notes that Obama’s czarist idea is “adding a layer of bureaucracy rather than really eliminating one. Everyone will be fighting with everybody. You’ll have conflict with every Cabinet officer who will now have a superior in the West Wing ….”

Historian I.M. Destler says that the creation of czars inside the White House can lead to insular decision-making and alienation of Cabinet secretaries who are left outside of the loop. “It tends to lead to disruption, and sometimes chaos, in terms of how the larger government works. It cuts out other people …. Loyalty to the president is diminished.”

*Czar: The term originated from Caesar, which came to be defined as an authoritarian ruler. The term “Kaiser” is a variant and was used in Germany to describe the totalitarian ruler.