From T. William Haught
In assuming the Presidency, Obama issued his appointments for various cabinet positions to be approved by the Senate. From the beginning, he soon found his nominations began encountering opposition, or the nominees were found to have evaded income taxes, to have “skeletons rattling in their closets”, or to have simply withdrawn after further considering joining the Obama team.
Thus, Obama resorted to naming so-called “czars” as his White House advisors. Today, 32, at last count, individuals now deal with the border, climate, drugs, energy, General Motors, and urban affairs to name but a few of their assignments. Is Obama’s action in naming “czars” anything more than an effort to establish more power and authority in the executive branch of our government bypassing Congress?
In February, Sen. Robert Byrd publicly criticized Obama’s appointments of “czars” as White House advisors (CBS News). Considered a student of the Constitution all his political life, Byrd said the czar system was a threat to the Constitutional system of checks and balances in government. He added that the oversight of federal agencies is the responsibility of officials approved by the Senate.
Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution and established checks and balances in the three branches of our government to deny such absolute power in the hands of one person. After all, they had witnessed the actions of rulers in Europe. They had the vision to anticipate an executive in the future of this new nation centralizing power.
In reality, Obama’s actions are unprecedented. Czars are now not accountable for their actions to Congress (or) cabinet members, but only to the President. Does it not appear to be a way of governing without answering to Congress, bypassing one of the checks and balances?
And finally, did not Obama promise greater “transparency”? Is this not a sham as it pertains to the czars? Each can shield information, deny Congressional oversight of their decision making, and along with other White House staff, simply inhibit any openness and escape accountability to the American people. Yet, will not the czars’ decisions dictating policies impact our lives?
Hopefully, there will be others in Congress and private citizens who will challenge the authority of czars in the coming months. God bless the Constitution and the United States of America!
A Son of Liberty,
T. William Haught