I’m Just Not Impressed

Am I supposed to be?

Posts Tagged ‘Obama administration

It’s Czar Mystery

leave a comment »

I find it interesting that one of the criticisms being leveled against the Obama administration is his appointment of various “Czars”. What evidently started as a birther/’bagger type theoryis now gaining ground in the Republican establishment. And like stories of President Obama’s fictional Kenyan birth certificate, there’s about as much truth to the idea that this is a new concept.

Reading  Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Sunday editorial over a morning bowl of cereal, in which she calls Obama’s appointment of Czars “unprecedented” and strongly implies that no such position has ever existed (no, she doesn’t say it, but absolutely nothing in the op-ed even begins to acknowledge the fact that such posts have existed for 20 years), I was struck by that thought – didn’t this defiance of the Constitution begin during a Republican administration?

The answer is actually more nuanced than I thought. I was thinking of the “Drug Czar,  a position that was created in 1988 (under Ronald Regan) and filled in 1989 (under George H.W. Bush), which was initially a Cabinet level position, and therefore, while still evocative of the Evil Empire, not a direct thread to the sanctity of liberty. Or something like that. Obama has made a change with respect to the Drug Czar, a move that is not entirely inappropriately called “unprecedented”, in that it is a move without direct precedent, of essentially decommissioning the position and removing it from Cabinet status.

But the first actual use of “Czar” as a title evidently goes all the way back to the Nixon administration, who, again, I’m pretty certain was Republican. Or does it go back even farther? Some of our lovely friends at Wikipedia would have us believe that the term has been used for more than 80 years, beginning with FDR. So, maybe it is the Democrats’ fault? Just for the record, this, kids, is why people mock Wiki as a primary source. Three different articles imply three different answers to this burning question.

What is not in question is that for the better part of a century, the White House made do with a handful of Czars. Then look at that jump – the leap not just back into double digits, but into the 30s, takes place not in 2009, as Hutchison would have us believe, but rather, in the 8 years prior. You know what that means, right?

Yet, where were all of these people when George W. Bush was was appointing “czars” right and left? I suppose no one actually thought that the poster boy for unremitting capitalism could ever be labeled a communist.

Written by emandink

September 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Watching the World Wake Up From History

leave a comment »

It suddenly occurredto me yesterday that in five days George W. Bush will no longer be President of the United States.  I’ve known that, of course.  All of DC is abuzz with the inauguration.  I’ve been reviewing contracts related to inaugural related events – at least tangentially – for over a month.  Half the local news on NPR is about closings and crowds and the chaos that is feared as the enthusiastic masses amass on Tuesday.

But yesterday, something clicked.  In less than a week, we will have a new President.  That’s pretty damn cool.  It is exciting to see new faces in the news, or old faces in new ways.  Hillary Clinton’s remarks during her Senate confirmation as Secretary of State sent chills down my spine.  Happy, elated, my god, someone who really gets it kind of chills.  I wondered why Obama chose that spot for her.  Now I know.  There have been a lot of moments like that in the past couple of months – moments where I’m struck by how different our government leadership could be.  The DOJappointments especially, make me grin with glee.  Eric Holder, Elena Kagan, a formal NARAL laywer  – all excellent choices.

Sanjay Gupta, maybe not so much.  Warren giving the invocation makes me want to vomit, Robinson notwithstanding.

Eight years ago, like so many others – half this nation – I looked toward January 20th with dread.  This year I don’t.  I find myself looking forward to a State of the Union address for the first time in almost a decade.  But I also look around me and I know this – Obama is not a superhero.  He is not the messiah.  He can, and will, do wrong.

The morning of January 21, the United States of America is not going to be a whole new and different place.  The sun will rise, it will be cold as hell over much of the country and traffic is still going to suck on the Roosevelt Bridge.  The economy will still be in a shambles.  All Americans will still not be equal based solely on the anatomy of the person they love.  My library books will still be due.  But maybe, just maybe, change will still be in the air.

Written by emandink

January 15, 2009 at 11:24 am