Paco wants to know why so many “czars” in the Obama Administration. The answer is simple.

Cabinet Secretaries and other positions are part of the Executive Branch, effectively assistants to the President. If the President had time to manage monetary affairs, there’d be no need for a Secretary of the Treasury.

Assistants have to be people you are confident will do the job you want. They aren’t independent actors; they have to follow instructions and do the work the person they’re assistants to want done, not hare off on their own. High officials have to be people the President knows, at least by reputation and recommendation, and people the President has confidence in and can work with. The President is expected to pick people of more or less his own way of thinking, but with the different expertise needed to do the specific job.

Leaving it all to that, though, invites abuse — the President, instead of picking competent people, might appoint ne’er-do-well relatives, buddies, and Party hacks who will make a hash of things. To put a check on that, high appointments require “advice and consent” — confirmation.

This President doesn’t have anybody like that on tap. There is nobody in his close circle, and nobody his close circle could recommend, who is simultaneously someone Obama can feel warm fuzzies about and someone who can survive the confirmation process. His Cabinet and high-level appointments are thus nonentities, mainly drawn from the near-endless supply of Party hacks and ideologues the Party-dominated Senate can stomach, although some of them are holdovers who have already been confirmed. They’re incompetents who for the most part have neither the knowledge, the talent, or the inclination to do the job — and that’s fine with this President, who would prefer that they play King Log while he controls the whole schmear.

The President still can’t do it all, and needs assistants. Thus “czars” — assistants to the President to take the load off in certain categories of the necessary work. Sure enough, they’re drawn from his circle of friends and acquaintances, or from the wider groups that circle knows and recommends. They’re people Obama can feel confident will carry out his plans and implement his policies, because they’re people whose notions of how things work jibe with his own.

And they don’t have to survive confirmation, so he can hire whatever “czars” he pleases. Win-win, eh?

Advertisements