Carter Wood, at The Shop Floor, argues that Cass Sunstein is no “Czar” and deserves to be confirmed in his post. I’m persuaded, but to a large extent it fails to matter.
The running dog gets chased. That’s not one of Ric’s Rulez; perhaps it should be, because it’s something that happens anywhere, any time. Despite attempts to fight back, the Obama Administration is clearly on the run on many subjects, and that means that even people who would prefer to lie on the porch are inspired to chase, yip, and nip at whatever portion of the runner’s anatomy may be exposed.
More importantly, though, Sunstein is the exception that tests the rule — that’s what the verb in the original Latin means; the English descendant of it isn’t prove, it’s probe.
The Senate confirmation process for the Secretaries and other important posts is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. It was developed over the years, by Presidents and Congresses alike, to guard against the possibility that the President, instead of appointing competent, conscientious people to those vital posts, would fill them with ne’er-do-well relatives, incompetent political supporters, and vicious ideologes; Presidents have gone along with the gag, and even encouraged it, because no President has enough close associates to fill all the important posts, and despite “vetting” a backstop is extremely useful.
The Monster points out, in comments, that that’s overstatement — the process isn’t prescribed in the detail it’s taken on over the years, but the requirement for the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate unless otherwise specified by law is definitely Constitutional.
It fails to matter. The point reached below is still valid: The “Czar” system is an attempted end-around on the confirmation process, and should be opposed on that basis.
It’s clear from examining (what little we can see of) his early life and associates that Obama doesn’t know anybody who’s fit to be, say, Secretary of Defense. All of his lifelong associates are either time-serving academics with zero or negative experience in the real world, or ideologues of the Left whose notion of a “centrist” is Leon Trotsky. He has therefore filled most of the posts with Democratic Party-approved and -recommended people, most of whom have no visible qualifications or relevant experience, and then ignored them — note the most prominent example of this: Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State, who isn’t even invited to meetings with foreign leaders.
The real power lies with the “czars”, all of whom (so far) are people from Obama’s academic and “community organizer” life — time-servers and ideologues with a few incompetent (distant) relatives tossed into the mix: Precisely those people the confirmation process was designed and intended to weed out. It may not be fair to damage Cass Sunstein’s prospects, but if we can eliminate some of the other jerks, a*holes, ideologues, and incompetents, we may just have to shrug and call Sunstein acceptable collateral damage.