Czars in Her Eyes

From Alex Koppelman at Salon:

Lately, conservatives haven’t shown much of a knack for the facts. The healthcare reform debate has been marred by bogus accusations of death panels and the myth that reform will include a government mandate that taxpayers foot the bill for abortions. Now, some Republicans are extending that same treatment to the personnel decisions in President Obama’s administration.

On Sunday in the Washington Post, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, wrote a column warning of the number of informal policy “czars” employed by the White House.

Oh noez!!!!! Not the czars!!!!!

Hutchison asserted:

A few of them have formal titles, but most are simply known as “czars.” They hold unknown levels of power over broad swaths of policy. Under the Obama administration, we have an unprecedented 32 czar posts (a few of which it has yet to fill), including a “car czar,” a “pay czar” and an “information czar.” There are also czars assigned to some of the broadest and most consequential topics in policy, including health care, terrorism, economics and key geographic regions.

The Op-Ed has generated a great deal of backlash from liberals — and justifiably so. Hutchison’s use of the word “unprecedented” is completely misleading. The Bush administration employed numerous czars, and yet Hutchison makes no mention of this fact in her piece.


The right has seized on the term “czars” so aggressively that it’s hard not to read it as an attempt to play up allegations that Obama is some kind of communist. In July, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. wrote his own piece in the Post, alleging that Obama was creating a “virtual army of ‘czars,'” adding, “At last count, there were at least 32 active czars that we knew of, meaning the current administration has more czars than Imperial Russia.”

[That’s little Eric helping Princess Kaya fight the czars the lower left corner of the box.]

“Russia” is the word that gives away the strategy. After all, they were all commies over there! But the use of the term in this way must be baffling to anyone with even a basic familiarity with high-school world history. Russia’s czars were in no way communist. […] Obama’s czars get appointed by the White House and have no direct authority over anything the federal government does (Cabinet officials, not the czars, are in charge of how to implement policy).


Hutchison is in a tough fight with incumbent Rick Perry for the Republican nomination for governor of Texas. So her piece seems like a blatant attempt to appeal to the same voters in the state who liked Perry’s suggestion that Texas could secede from the United States — i.e., the hardcore right-wing base.


On July 30, the Washington Post gave House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) space to write an op-ed railing on President Obama’s “virtual army of ‘czars.’” Today, the Washington Post allowed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to write a similar op-ed complaining that these czars set “a dangerous precedent that undermines the Constitution’s guarantee of separated powers.” Hutchison tries to make these officials seem shady and mysterious by noting that many of them don’t even have “formal titles” […]


In fact, ALL of these officials have formal titles. For example, Hutchison cites Van Jones, the “green jobs czar.” But Jones had the title of Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation at the Council on Environmental Quality.


Hutchison’s lie mirrors a claim by Fox News’ Sean Hannity, who recently said that the only reason he calls these appointees “czars” is “because the White House itself does.” Of course, it’s the media — not the White House — that is driving the term.

Hutchison does not list the 32 individuals whom she considers to be “czars.” But if she’s relying on the same list as Cantor — who also cited 32 people — then several of them are far from unaccountable; they’ve actually already been confirmed by the Senate.

From Matt Yglesias at THINK PROGRESS:

If Kay Bailey Hutchison wants to claim that “A few of them have formal titles, but most are simply known as ‘czars’” then fine. Maybe she’s ignorant, or maybe she’s a huge liar. […] Honestly, I don’t care.

What I do care about is The Washington Post. This is a newspaper. They charge people money to buy it. The idea is that if you pay money in order to buy it, you’ll become better informed. But they regularly publish material in their opinion pages that demonstrates a total disregard for this function. The article in question manages to not so much as mention that all of our recent presidents have employed “czars.” I find it completely impossible to believe that Washington Post editors are unaware that George W. Bush employed “czars.” […] And I find it completely impossible to believe Washington Post editors don’t grasp the relevance of this fact to assessing the credibility of Hutchison’s complaint. Her use of phrases such as “unprecedented” to describe Obama’s czar-related conduct, combined with the total lack of context, is transparently designed to mislead the audience. And the Washington Post decided to print it!


Filed under Barack Obama, Chimpy, George W. Bush, humor, Media, parody, politics, Republicans, Russia, snark, Texas, Wordpress Political Blogs

28 responses to “Czars in Her Eyes

  1. Hold the phone!

    Didn’t Saint Ronnie have a Drug Czar?????

    He could do not wrong– right?

    • shhhh! st. ronnie started the whole czar thing, but wingnut heads explode when confronted with that reality. it’s too much for their tiny little brains to process.

  2. Next, they’ll try to figure out how to use the word Nazi.

  3. jeb

    Actually Tricky Dick started the whole czar thing when he appointed an Energy Czar to deal with the energy crisis of the early 70s. Coincidentally, Tricky Dick also created the imperial Presidency.

    Rethugs don’t actually deal in facts. Those are messy things.

    KBH has to be crazier than Gov. Goodhair to win the loony right vote in the Texas Rethug Primary. If you want to appeal to that crowd, you can’t possibly be loony enough.


    Kay Bailey voted in favor of at least one of these Czars she decries. I am a hardcore conservative, and she is not even qualified to write this op-ed.

  5. Gag me! Truly frightening action toy! It’s clear this is another false loony non-issue, simply because Obama is black. Now all these Czars— 33 of’em! OMFG!— are suddenly mysterious! Because… they’re working for a black man!

    • i didn’t mean to scare ya, mh! she’s just plastic. the whole czar thing is just another pile of crap from frank luntz’s bag of tricks. the rethugs have nothing but buzzwords.

  6. helenwheels

    The wingnuts’ antics are so tiresome. Repeat lies ad nauseum and misinform people.

    Great action figure!! Clever… !

  7. Whose face is in place of Luke Skywalker’s–Eric Cantor?

  8. frank luntz is a douchebag extraordinaire

    he was the today show spouting some more lies and plugging his piece of crap book

    wearing the goofiest sneakers ever

    • i depise frank luntz. he reminds me of an adman who doesn’t care what lies he spouts as long as his clients sell the crap they’re peddling, and he makes money off it. he has no scruples whatsoever. he’s a hideous little man.

  9. I love Texas and Texans (most of my family, plus Kinky Friedman, is from there) but people like Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rick Perry, Dick Armey, Dubya, et al., certainly make it a less than perfect place…

    I agree with you on Frank Luntz. That guy is a soulless and evil little turd.

    • z! i was just over at your place reading your righteous rant. in fact, i still have my headphones on, listening to the music over there (btw, i really like librarian).

      i live in floriduhhhh, z, so i feel your pain. there are pockets of sanity in all states.

  10. In Texas we have a stupid contest. Winner gets to run the state. For federal positions, dumbassery is a must, particularly for east Texas congressmen. And please hold all judgement and comment until we have our monkey trial. Its coming real soon!

    • hi jerry melton,

      welcome to the raisin! 😀

      thanks so much for the civics lesson. i live in floriduhhhh, and we have rather strange election rituals, too! 😉

  11. Full circle at last. Is this where I came in? Hey Nonnie, just want to say how reading back through all these archives has been a great source of amusement and educated opinion from the raisinettes. I must admit to being new at this thing and wouldn’t be doing it now if older sis hadn’t decided to force this device on me. Always wondered what the fascination of blogging was and now I sit here and get “computer butt”. Your regulars are great and not prone to going off on each other like D/K because a certain word was used or misunderstood. Your artistic satire and remarks rate high in my book as they do with your drop-ins comments. During a slow time this evening, being annoyed with Bible Spice press reviews, I decided to Google you (that just sounds so inappropriate, I’m sorry you had to see that). Well, you know, it’s Saturday night, a lonely….well anyway, you got eight pages on the listings! Almost all are your stories, links, the Raisin, etc. with a Nonnies Pizza in Chicago and something listed under Noni Fruit Leather…sound a bit kinky. Your service to the cause is notable and blessed relief from the tedium that modern American politics has devolved into. Let us all cheer up. Hey, it’s Speed Week at Daytona!

    • jerry,
      i can’t believe you took the time to look through all the posts. i think that makes you and me the only people to have seen them all, and to tell you the truth, i didn’t pay too much attention. 😉

      i’m flattered that you undertook that endeavor, and i hope you enjoyed it. you can get quite an education from the raisinettes. i learn from them every day, and they are a joy to hang around with. even the occasional troll is fun.

      we’re very glad you have joined the ranks of our little troupe of sun-dried grapes. we learn from you, too, you know. 🙂

  12. Thanx Nonnie! Raisins #1!!