On the subject of czars, a White House functionary named Anita Dunn today blasted critics of Obama’s coterie of influential advisors, accusing Sen. Lamar Alexander and others of hypocrisy for not opposing Bush’s manufacturing and AIDS czars. Alexander just fired back with this statement:
The White House staff should review my full remarks before launching an attack. I made it clear that there have always been a few czars but nothing like the 18 new czars appointed in this administration. Eighteen of the administration’s 32 czars hold new positions that did not exist in previous administrations and were not authorized by law. These czars are unconfirmed by the Senate, unavailable for questioning, and unaccountable to the American people through their elected representatives. They’re the most visible symbol of too many Washington takeovers. The White House should spend less time misrepresenting others’ views and more time answering legitimate questions from Senators Collins, Bennett, myself and others: What are these new czars’ authorities and responsibilities? How are they being vetted? How will they be accountable to Congress?
Bush’s manufacturing and AIDS czars were both Senate-confirmable positions.