David Brody

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The Conservative "Obama Czar List" Doesn't Paint Full Picture

The Obama administration is pushing back against conservative media outlets on the so called " Obama Czars Controversy" and you know what? They have some legitimate points.

You can read more on what White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had to say on the topic at the end of this post along with a blog post from White House Communications Director Anita Dunn.

The Brody File has been researching this topic for an upcoming story to air on The 700 Club and here's a simple fact: The Czar list compiled by Fox News and other outlets is just not fully accurate. They are listing people like Cass Sunstein, John Holdren and a few others as Czars but these folks have been confirmed by the Senate. That is significant because the main contention here is that these Czars run around unchecked and unaccountable to Congress. Their list shouldn't include them. If you want to make the argument that Sunstein and Holdren shouldn't be nominated by President Obama because of things they've either said or done in the past then fine but to add them to the Czar total is really misleading.

Look,  you can make the argument that the Obama administration has increased the number of so called Czars and it has even concerned liberals like Senator Russ Feingold and Senator Robert Byrd. Still,  if you want to bring credibility to your argument you need to get your facts straight. Conservative media outlets hurt themselves when the information they provide isn't the total picture. It may play well with Obama's staunch critics but doesn't the full truth matter? Conservative media complain about the mainstream media ignoring them (and they have a point) but if Czar lists are inaccurate then is it no wonder that the MSM may question the factual credibility of future  stories? Food for thought.

It seems to me the real issue with the Czars story is all about the Senate confirmation process. In other words, who should be an appointed Czar and who should be confirmed by the Senate? Let's face it. Some so called Czars have more power and influence than others. It seems like those officials deserve the higher scrutiny. How the Congress, The White House and Courts figure that out is of consequence...and perplexing.
Gibbs comments from the White House briefing  are below. The question was asked by Major Garrett at Fox News.

The link to the Anita Dunn blog post is here.

Q    Okay.  Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, sent a letter to the White House yesterday about the question of czars.  He's the chairman of the Subcommittee on Constitution.  He asked for more information about the czars' roles, the constitutional authority, how they're paid.  The DNC today has sent out quite a few e-mails about czars have existed in previous administrations, this is sort of a phony issue.  Could you just address for me what the White House thinks about, A, any questions about the czars' authorities, roles, or function in the administration; whether or not there is anything more it should disclose about what they're doing or what authority they derive?  Any of those issues, raised by Russ Feingold and others.

MR. GIBBS:  I have not seen Senator Feingold's letter.  I think -- I don't know if you or anybody else sent around Senator Bennett's letter that several Republicans had signed. Look, I don't -- like I said, I don't know what Senator Feingold said.  There are positions in the administration, there are positions in the previous administration.  I think these are positions that date back at least to many, many administrations where there may be policy coordination between many different departments in order to make governmental responses more efficient. I'm struck by a little of the politics in this, Major.  I noticed on your network they asked one of the House Republicans, Darrell Issa, whether he objected to the so-called czars in the previous administration.  His answer was, no, we didn't. You know, I mean, I think it's -- I've noticed that -- you read Senator Bennett was pushing for a Y2K czar that he didn't think was powerful enough.  You've seen Lamar Alexander call for a manufacturing czar. So, you know, somebody referred to in the Bush administration as the abstinent czar was on the DC madam's list.  Now, did that violate the Constitution or simply offend our sensibilities?  But I think it's been somewhat remarkable that in previous administrations so-called criticism of this has been a bit deafening -- the silence has been deafening, only to have it come around as a political issue now.  I think what the American people would like every branch of government to do is get about dealing with the problems that real people have each and every day rather than playing political games back and forth, day after day, and not solving or addressing their problems.

Q    Since you asked, I can tell you what the letter says -- it's brief; I'm not going to take a lot of time -- "I ask that you identify these individuals' roles and responsibilities, provide the judgments of your legal advisors to whether and how these positions are consistent with the appointments clause.  I hope this information will help address some of the concerns that have been raised about the new position."  Is this something the White House would be prepared to share with Senator Feingold --

MR. GIBBS:  I would have to look at -- read the letter and have Counsel give me an opinion on that.  Again --

Q    But based on what I've read you, does that sound objectionable or something the White House would be opposed to?

MR. GIBBS:  I think the American people hold the President accountable.  That's what we would expect.  And I think as it relates to, like I said a minute ago, any number of the political games that seem to be played each and every day in this little town -- I think we'd best be set getting back to dealing with real business.





Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:39 AM

Comments on this post

# RE: The Conservative "Obama Czar List" Doesn't Paint Full Picture

I guess the question goes to who actually started calling these people Czars. I heard them called that on the main stream media prior to hearing on conservative programs. I'm sure there is confusion as to who is approved by the Senate and who isn't. I know the points Glenn Beck has been making is that Obama said to judge him by the people he surrounds himself with. Some of them are pretty far left. Van Jones, now gone, was a self proclaimed communist. Cass Sunstein believes animals should be able to sue. Other questions remain. What real power do they have? How are they funded?

Why is the media for the most part in the tank for Obama?

Left by artbowie on Sep 17, 2009 4:06 PM

# RE: The Conservative "Obama Czar List" Doesn't Paint Full Picture

David, you don't get to redefine the argument in your own terms. Yes, Glenn Beck and other conservatives have complained about the fact that many of these Czars have not been confirmed. However, they are also pointing out that these people are left wing extremists. The new Obama Diversity Officer Mark Llyod believes that Chavez had an "incredible revolution, a dramatic revolution" did the right thing when he closed down the opposition radio and newspapers. You have to be careful and actually listen to what the conservative commentators are saying before making your own assumptions. Leftists are pointing to your blog as evidence against the right. I don't know, maybe it will take the Diversity Officer to shut you down before you begin to listen and actually understand the argument.
Left by ProudAmerican on Sep 20, 2009 12:33 PM

# RE: The Conservative "Obama Czar List" Doesn't Paint Full Picture

Sounds like just another republican gripe Dave. Neocons, you lost the election, there was no question as to the result, President Obama won the election by a substantial margin. There was no question of the result in this election, not like the last two. Neocons, conservatives, republicans, get over it: you lost!
President Obama has already made more positive progress on issues impacting this nation in his few months in office than his predecessor had made in his 8 years of mismanagement, lying, deceit etc.
Republicans, give this president a little time to undo the damage done by his predecessor before you damn him to hell!
Left by joelang60 on Sep 22, 2009 12:37 PM