It started last week, when Senator Jay Rockefeller said that Obama was "beginning to be not believable". This came after the Obama Administration announced that it was going to end a number of tax breaks for coal producers. Sen. Rockefeller no doubt remembers Obama's promises during the election campaign where he swore that he was all for clean coal. And the Senator, a men who was first elected to political office when Barack Obama was five years old, isn't afraid to call the political novice in the White House out as a man who says one thing than does another.
Then this week, Senator Robert Byrd jumps on Obama over his practice of appointing "czars" to take over so many sectors of the public policy. Unelected and insulated from the oversight of Congress, many of these people have been far-left wingnuts with a track record of advocating dangerous or outright loony proposals.
The longest serving Democrat in the U.S. Senate is blasting the president for appointing several White House czars to oversee federal policy, claiming they can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances.Just looking at a few of the list of czars, we have Carol Browner, appointed as Energy and Environment Czar, who is an open and proud Socialist. Now she'll be a rich one at $172,000 per year. Cass Sunstein, Regulatory Czar, wanted to ban hunting and advocated allowing animals to bring suit against people in a book he authored. There are over thirty others, not including Marxist radical Van Jones, who was appointed by Obama as a "Green Jobs Czar" but forced to resign due to public outrage over his politics and his criminal history. With nearly three dozen of these unelected, unaccountable people in office, Obama has created more czars than Russia's Romanov family.
West Virginia’s Robert Byrd, the Senate pro tempore, believes President Obama’s newly created positions risk expanding executive privilege and weakening the authority of Congress. In a two-page letter to the president Byrd supports his assessment with examples of past administrations—Nixon and Bush II—that allowed White House staff to assume too much power.
Byrd criticizes Obama for the creation of White House czars to oversee Health Reform, Urban Affairs Policy and Energy and Climate Change Policy, stating that these types of positions can blur the lines of authority and responsibility to shield information and obscure the decision-making process.
He asserts that the rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances, pointing out that these presidential assistants are not accountable for their actions to Congress, rarely testify before congressional committees and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege.
Obama has hired so many influential advisors and so-called czars to shift power from traditional cabinet posts that one news report referred to his White House as the West Wing on Steroids. Another said Obama’s staff is so loaded with big names and overlapping duties that it could collapse into chaos unless managed with a juggler’s skill.
It's telling that this guy who just a bit over a year ago rode into office with what the media was calling a mandate like no other now finds himself under withering and accurate fire not just from Republicans but from the standard-bearers of his own party.
Yeah, elections this year ought to be interesting, and I can hardly wait for 2012. The way things are going, I won't be surprised to see the Democrats lining up several possible challengers to the Obama throne as a last-ditch attempt to at least keep the White House in blue hands.