The gullibility of the national political press corps has seldom been on more hideous display.Â Glenn Beck and his tame dogs in Congress have managed to make “czars” an issue without anyone’s ever bothering to define the term “czar.”
There are now 100 co-sponsors (99 of them Republicans) for a bill that purports to forbid paying the salaries of â€œany task force, council, or similar office which is established by or at the direction of the President and headed by an individual who has been inappropriately appointed to such position (on other than an interim basis), without the advice and consent of the Senate.â€
Huh?Â WhatÂ does “inappropriately” mean?Â Who decides?Â This isn’t legislation; thisÂ a press release.
The bill specifies that it applies to any un-confirmed official who:
performs or delegates functions which (but for the establishment of such task force, council, or similar office) would be performed or delegated by an individual in a position to which the President appoints an individual by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Again, the but-for clause is nonsensical.Â If some power statutorily resides in a Cabinet agency, the President can’t take that power away and give it to a WH staffer, confirmed or not.Â
The issue is supposed to be about un-confirmed White House staff wielding extraordinary power, but one of the targets has been “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein, whose job at OIRA is (1) created by statute;(2) Senate confirmed; and (3) designed to rein in regulatory excess.
Yes, there are a variety of White House staffers who have been designated as having the lead role in various policy areas.Â Â But what makes some of themÂ “inappropriate”?Â Â Who is supposed to make the list of “czars”?Â And what would the President have to do to “un-czar” someone?
Here’s my challenge to Red Blogistan:Â Pick a single official you’re calling a “czar.”Â Specify what grant of power to that person is “inappropriate.”Â Â Then let’s talk.
Again, the astounding thing isn’t that Republicans are pulling this stupid pet trick, but that reporters are covering it rather than asking basic questions about it.
FootnoteÂ And of course under the theory of the “unitary executive” so beloved of the GOP when the Beloved Leader was in power, Congress can’t even ask these people questions, let alone regulate the President’s management of his own staff.