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 September, 2009


 Defining Obama by His Use of "Czars"

He’s a Communistic Kind of Czar, I Think

The latest new right wing talk show diversion seems to be their “Label of the Week” campaign directed at Barack Obama.

If they can’t beat him on the facts, I suppose, they can always invent some new ill-fitting definition that supports the notion that Obama has secret plans to kills us all in our tracks.

We’ve been told he’s a Lying Unpatriotic/Communist/Marxist/Socialist/Nazi/Fascist/Czarist/Racist/Arab/Kenyan/Muslim/Atheist/Terrorist – but some people simply don’t get the joke.

Oh, and it is a joke.

Let’s consider a recent picture I got in my email that showed some guy carrying a large sign during that 9/12 (Fox News instigated) tea party.

“WHO ARE THE COMMIE CZARS,” the sign said.

Well, thanks to that talk show fed nonsense about the president’s overuse of presidential advisors known as “czars,” cobbled together with his supposed inclination to eradicate this country of democracy – the man carrying the sign thought he could fit two distinctly opposite forms of governance into the same insult.

History, as it is, shows us that communism and czars weren’t exactly a good fit. It was the Bolsheviks (who would later found the Communistic Soviet Union) – who overthrew Russia’s last Czar – Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia.

In other words, accusing the president of being both a “Commie” and a “Czarist,” is like accusing him of being the quarterback for the Steelers and the Cleveland Browns – and sometimes in the same game.

But that doesn’t matter to media stars like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. They know that creating scary labels is a good replacement for discussing the problems that enliven adult discussions.

This business about czars can be traced directly to Beck.

He’s advanced the call to curb Obama’s use of “czars,” because, he claims, it shows Obama is really plotting a clandestine effort to radically increase the size of government.

Where was Glenn Beck when George W. Bush hired 46 czars?

“Darned if I can figure out all the czars, except a giant expansion of presidential power,” claimed Bush’s Domestic Policy Czar, Karl Rove, back in July.

Why would Beck and Rove question a practice that’s existed since Franklin D. Roosevelt hired 19 czars?

In this country the term “czar” has nothing to do with the czars of Russia. It’s a term that has never been officially used in American government.

It was an invention of the media because titles like “bird flu czar” are a lot easier to say - and to write - than Bush’s “Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Advisor to the President for Public Health Emergency Preparedness” - Stewart Simonson.

In fact, there’ve been presidential advisors who’ve been called czars during every presidential administration from Roosevelt to Obama – except during the brief administration of that other alleged communist – John F. Kennedy.

But that doesn’t matter to right wingers, who’ve seized upon Obama’s 35 czars as the first sign of the apocalypse.

The Czarist/Commie contradiction is hardly the first example of the right’s desire to redefine Obama as being somebody other than, well, “us.”

He can’t easily be a Nazi and a Communist at the same time. The Nazi’s and the Communists of Russia were bitter enemies during WWII.

It’s unlikely that Obama really could be a Muslim, while at the same time he spent 20 years in the pew of that most defamed of Christian preachers – Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

I doubt if he could be have been born in Kenya (as those bizarre “Birthers” keep telling us), if he’s really the Arab that supporter of presidential candidate John McCain claimed he was.

None of this would actually carry much weight if the latest labels would be loudly refuted by sensible members of the Republican Party.

But they’re not going to stand in the way of a good attack line.

There are too many opportunities for Republicans in Congress to signal their constituents back home that they’re down in Washington fighting the good fight for granny, apple pie and the American way, against the COMMIE CZARS sent here to destroy all of us.

Edward A. Owens is a three time Emmy Award winner and 20 year veteran of television news. E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net