GOP Resolution Acknowledges "Czars" Are Constitutional And Commonplace

September 17, 2009 3:30 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

For months, Glenn Beck and other conservative blowhards have been apoplectic about President Obama's so-called "czars."  Lately, more and more Republican lawmakers have latched on to the Fox News-inspired controversy.  Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), for example, recently called Obama's special policy advisers "an affront to the Constitution" -- this despite the fact that he explicitly endorsed the creation of new "czars" during the Bush administration.  

Indeed, as David Weigel reported yesterday, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) now has more than 100 cosponsors for his Czar Accountability and Reform Act.  Similarly, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has introduced a separate resolution calling on Congress to hold hearings regarding Obama's use of "czars."  The text of the resolution, however, actually admits that presidential "czars" are constitutional and common practice.  Read it:

Whereas Congress recognizes that the Constitution vests in the executive branch the power to appoint Presidential advisers whose communications to the President are protected under executive privilege;

Whereas Congress recognizes the importance of coordinating executive agencies, and recognizes that Presidents often appoint special assistants, commonly referred to as ''czars'', to manage this coordination with regard to important areas of national policy, and to advise the President

The resolution goes on to claim that "at least 36 czars have been appointed in 2009, raising concerns about the Federal government's provision of adequate transparency and accountability to the public." Still, there's no explanation of why Republicans are suddenly outraged about this common practice now that Obama's in the White House.  It's almost as if Blackburn's resolution -- and the GOP's embrace of the "controversy" -- is some sort of partisan stunt.

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