Obama appoints a new Czar…er Czarina, courtesy of Senator Dodd

A piece of the Dodd-Frank “Financial Reform” bill recently signed into law creates a new Bureau of Consumer Protection.   No one is really sure what this new “bureau” will do that isn’t already being done by several other bureaus, or agencies, or sections, or departments, but we now have this nifty new, and yes, costly, piece of government.

But, this much we do know.  Elizabeth Warren is now in charge of it…well, sort of.

Ms. Warren, currently a professor at Harvard Law School, will be named an assistant to the president and special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in charge of launching the new agency and setting its mission. She was a candidate to be the agency’s first director, a position that remains unfilled, but would likely have had trouble securing confirmation because of opposition in the Senate.

Let’s analyze that.

She is currently a Harvard professor…not that there is anything wrong with that …, but, how many Harvard professors are now in charge of something in the Obama administration.  I thought our president was a believer in “spreading the wealth”.

Next, do we really need another czar who doesn’t answer to Congress, or, perish the thought, to you the people?  Why doesn’t the president just appoint someone (who would be answerable to us) to fill the position created by the law?

Which brings us to the final issue.  Ms. Warren is so far to the left that her confirmation as director of this new bureau is highly unlikely.  So, rather than run the risk that she wouldn’t be confirmed by the Senate, President Obama simply creates a new czardom, puts her in charge of it , and washes his hands of the whole mess.  Much like he did when appointing Donald Berwick (who would never have been confirmed by the Senate) as the Director for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid to appease the left, and Craig Becker (who would never have been confirmed by the Senate) to the NLRB to appease the left.

This is simply pandering.  And, to me, at least, it’s despicable.

Posted in


The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. PatRiot on September 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    A bad trend is developing here.  Czars appointed by the President, to run parallel agencies. 

    With the Tea Party honorably pushing to reset the priorities of America, the President will claim unrest, infiltration and even – a coup.  Perhaps he will slyly say – "The people of America have spoken.  They say the government is broken.  We must heal these scars, dissolve the "Broken" system and let loose the czars."

    And POOF   – A change from a representative government to something less than we are capable and worthy of.

    "Not plausable!" You say.  "Surely only one party is doing this.  Show me proof!" you say. 

    FEMA,  Health and Human Services,  Dodd's extreme banking makeover     DeLauro introducing a duplicate FDA.     

    I probably missed more than a few but you get the painful point.

  2. Plainvillian on September 17, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Never mind the constitution, have we not learned anything from the results of having a Department of Education, Energy, etc. and the successes of the 'War on Poverty', the 'War on Drugs' and so may other boondoggles?  It truly is time for change – back to sanity.

  3. Dimsdale on September 17, 2010 at 5:45 am

    It is amazing how many times you actually have to step on the Constitution to make an end run around it.


    After all the accusations about Bush, and the vacuous promises of transparency, shouldn't Øbama's appointees at least have to run the Senate gauntlet?

  4. weregettinghosed on September 17, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Czars can not be found to be in the Constitution. As much as I read it there is no clause that gives the President the power to create a line up of Czars to skirt around ruling the people without Congress. Does anyone feel a dictatorship coming on? Right under our noses, while we are playing by the rules, using our voting system to make changes; Obama is moving right along ignoring all laws to create his dream, an American run by dictator law.

    Another Czar means one step closer to controlling all aspects of America. Is it no wonder Obama does not care in the least what the people are doing? He feels we can complaint, rant and march on Washington all we choose to, get it out of our systems as we will soon have all of our freedoms pulled out from under us when he declares full control.

    He has however underestimated We the People, we are ready for the fight for freedom, after all we are our ancestors [founding Americans] offspring.

  5. HamHocks on September 17, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Without turning this into a Bush vs. Obama discussion, were any of you upset enough to post your outrage at the number of "czars" that Bush had (especially since amount not confirmed by the Senate)? I don't say this to change the subject, but there's an awful lot of outrage that, from my perspective, seems to be disregarding a great deal of facts and history. I may be wrong about this, but I don't think I'll find a significant amount of posts in the archives that reference Bush's czars as  a violation of the Constitution or the slippery slope to some kind of government takeover. The common reply that I hear from conservatives on this issue is that they were just as upset at how big Bush made the government and how he spent way too much money, but these topics never seemed to surface at the time in an any comparable way. Why is that? Regardless of your feelings about the czars, there's an obvious difference in the amount of negativity attached to the subject. Was this something that a lot of you didn't know about until recently?




  6. Dimsdale on September 17, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I didn't approve of the czar concept under Bush either.  Congress, screwed up or not, is constitutionally charged with scrutinizing these people, particularly if they are going to have great powers.  The list of czars for both Bush and Øbama are here: http://www.factcheck.org/UploadedFiles/Czars.pdf

    I wasn't on here when Bush was president, so I cannot comment on what happened here then.   I don't like pols in general, regardless of the party.  I just like the ones in power less.

  7. sammy22 on September 17, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Well, there you have it HamHocks! The hands of people posting on this blog are always clean, and they did not like what the President they supported to hilt did (including in 2004), until after he was out of office. Now they even miss him, as it was widely written a month or so ago.

  8. HamHocks on September 17, 2010 at 10:38 am

    What I'm trying to shed some light on is the cause of this sudden outrage. Why wasn't this a problem for Bush's 8 years? Vicevich was always on the radio at my workplace and he definitely didn't seem to be in  the mindset that  Bush's czars were evidence of any impending bloating of the government or desecration of the Constitution. Does he owe us an explanation for not covering this? I don't think it's enough to retroactively condemn Bush for his role in the expansion of our government if you spent those years always complaining about the left. This is the problem inherent in any form of partisan media. When your business plan is to constantly and consistently demonize your opposition, you will inevitably start attacking them for things you formerly accepted. Just look at the people who support burning the flag but get upset over some idiot burning the Quaran. This hypocrisy happens on both sides, but I think shows like Jim's are actually doing more harm than good to our discourse and intellectual honesty. Sorry for the long post.






  9. NH-Jim on September 17, 2010 at 11:12 am

    OK Hamhocks and Sammy, you win.  Just because we don't bash the past policies of Bush enough for your liking, let's all bow down, discard our principles, and allow our republic to be taken over, bit by bit, in what was called "fundamentally changing our nation".  Does that phrase mean one iota to you?  Sure as hell scares the life out of us.

    Let's take a look back at a few of the Bush follies:

    Patriot Act………………..still in effect

    Bush Tax cuts……………renamed Obama tax cuts but still remain

    Iraq war…………………..We lost it……..Oh, wait a minute…..we won it.

    Amnesty………………….Let's do it again, it was so much fun!

    TARP………………………Hated it but they rushed to past it

    Stimulus………………….Oh let's do it again, and again…and again, since it worked so well the first time.

    Satisfied now?

  10. sammy22 on September 17, 2010 at 11:55 am

    WOW! Frankly I do not care NOW what Pres. Bush did THEN. It's water under the bridge. What we do now is important, and simply bashing the current administration is not constructive. I think that was HamHocks message too.

  11. Dimsdale on September 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    What angers me is that this is all being done in complete opposition to all of his lofty campaign promises, which were the only things that got him elected, along with the "thrill" of electing the first half black president.


    I wonder, sammy and ham, what your records were on when the "simply bashing the current administration (because) is not constructive" when Bush was president.  Was it more constructive then, when the shoe was on the other foot, since we are comparing then and now?  Remember the "worst economy since the Great Depression" mantra that reliably came from every Democrat's mouth in an attempt to take the Congress, then the White House?


    Just wondering.

  12. chris-os on September 18, 2010 at 2:39 am

    When did 'czar" become a derogatory term?

    The first czar was appointed by St. Ronald of Reagan. Basically, Warren does NOT have the authority to do anything but advise-this "skirting around ruling the people" comment is ridiculous.

    BTW, Bush made 171 recess appointments during his reign of terror.

    We need a consumer advocate as the old bureau of consumer protection has been stacked over time by repubs with industry representatives.

  13. sammy22 on September 18, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Keep on bashing, things will surely get better.

  14. HamHocks on September 18, 2010 at 5:29 am


    You seem to have completely missed the point of my posts. I'm addressing the flaw in partisan political media, not your own ideology. I'm not asking you to bash anything. What good would that do?

    I'm saying that the lack of outrage during Bush's term is the fault of shows like this one, not you. By "like this one", I mean political talk shows catered to a specific ideology. The fact that Jim's audience is up in arms about Obama's czars (or spending or government growth) but had nothing to say about Bush's lends some credibility to my point. Vicevich has the microphone, but these issues only seem to be broadcast as threats to our liberty when a Democrat is in office. It's great to be motivated enough to show your dissent for the government, but it taints it if you're up in arms about something that you didn't seem to care about when your party was running things. I think the reason you weren't up in arms about it, however, is that shows like this one didn't say boo about it. I don't doubt for a minute that all of the recent conservative outrage we're seeing now could have absolutely organized five years ago if only the pundits were intellectually honest enough to come out against the things they now say they opposed. Do you agree with what I'm saying about this? I'm not here for a hit and run. Please let me know what you think about my point. Thanks.






  15. HamHocks on September 18, 2010 at 6:24 am


    I think you might have missed my point as well. I'm not saying you're wrong for being upset about these things. I'm saying that this media environment (us vs. them) is, quite possibly, the worst thing we could  do to ourselves as a country. The czars outrage is just another example of the flaws in this format. I'm not saying you're a hypocrite. I'm saying any talk show dedicated to one particular ideology will inevitably create hypocritical outrage as a result of 2 things:

    1. The necessity to constantly have something to talk about.

    2. The necessity to stay loyal to whatever particular ideology the show caters to.

    As a result of number 1, the pundit will eventually give negative coverage of an issue that, because of number 2, he didn't previously. That's it in a nutshell. This isn't specific to any ideology. I certainly had some (in hindsight) unreasonable ideas during Bush's years. I'm no different than you and that's the point. We take comfort in the idea that someone else agrees with us but we should be just as happy when we find out we're wrong. Unfortunately, confronting the flaws in any ideology is poison to a show dedicated to supporting that ideology so the audience ends up paying the price at the end of the day.







  16. Dimsdale on September 18, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Well maybe we should concentrate on the present then.  Forget about Bush, forget about whether someone did this in the past or not, or whether Jim covered it or not a decade ago.  The big question: are all of these unexamined czars a good idea?  Are they constitutional?  Are they advisable?  And I ask this regardless of party, as a bad idea transcends all politics.


    Should Jim and Steve be talking about it?  I think so, because to me, it is clearly unconstitutional, and puts power in the hands of the legislative branch that was all or partly intended for the legislative branch.  At minimum, there is a clear approval path for appointees.  I don't understand why Øbama is bypassing a mostly (majority) friendly Congress if these czars are so above board and unquestionably right for the job.  Surely, if they are so great, a simple confirmation process shouldn't be a significant obstacle, and might even have the advantage of making those objecting to the candidate look bad.


    The only other alternative is that they are suspect and/or have the kind of baggage that would torpedo their appointment.  Don't we have the right to see this?  Doesn't Congress have the constitutional right to examine these appointees?  In this era of "transparency" and "ethics", I mean.

  17. HamHocks on September 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Those all all good questions and the discussion should absolutely be happening on the air. The czars issue is not the problem for me, though. It's the pundits talking about them. It's the bumper-sticker, sound byte culture we're becoming where we're content to learn half of every story so we can stay angry at the right people. Even if we were to disregard anything that has happened up until this moment, what good will it do to start the same process again on Monday morning? Just go back to the 2 rules for a political talk show I mentioned before. That will still be the case regardless of who's in office. Glenn Beck will still have to tell you that progressives are trying to kill you because that's his job. That's how it works. Do you see what I'm saying? This machine is broken.







  18. Dimsdale on September 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Isn't the question more: which pundits are commenting on them?  I presume that the bulk are conservative, and the opposite case occurred when Bush/Reagan were president.  So it is really a null argument that comes back to the basic question of "is it a good or constitutional idea"?  It can't be bad for one and another gets a pass.  And this goes in both directions.  Bad is bad.


    I agree on the soundbite culture, and am thankful that the latest Lohan scandal will be occupying the time of many of the so called pundits, as I could not care less if she exploded.

  19. NH-Jim on September 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm


    I got your message loud and clear.  Shame on me for allowing you to sidetrack the commentary.  Your first post was an attack on us not the subject which feeds Sammy's liking.


    1. You don't know me!

    2. You don't know my past.  How do you know that I did not criticize Bush?  (although I do like him)

    3. You don't know my party affiliation or how it has changed through the years.

    4. You don't know when I had been outraged in the past or how I voted.

    You only ASSUME because I post in RVO's blogs.  Where is it written that we must cater to the left as well as the right?  Will you copy and paste your comments over at Huffington, MSNBC, etc directed at the left?  Tell them how faulty their partisanship is?  If it pertains to both sides as you suggest, then it should be applicable to those lefty sites as well.  I'd love to see the welcomed response you get there.  I know, I receive vile comments when I post there.  Strange how we stay civil here.

    I am not about to bend to this regime that is hell bent on breaking every Constitutional freedom granted us.  I could give a rats a__ as to their side.  I see this as a fight not a kids' soccer game.

    {Apologies to SOS, Jim, & Steve for allowing this to go off topic}

  20. HamHocks on September 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm


    Excellent point about "which" pundits. I'm talking about all issues, not just the czars. This is absolutely a problem in every ideological camp. It really was my bad for swinging off into another topic. It's just that the czars are a great example of the subject. Let me go on record and say that, absolutely, the question of their constitutionality is important, regardless of who's doing the questioning (or when). When I said that the czar issue wasn't the problem for me, I should have worded it clearer. I was saying that the czars weren't the specific topic that I was talking about in regards to the way pundits tend to disregard facts inconvenient to their cause.. In hindsight, I really swung into a tangent on this one. Thanks for staying with me, though.

  21. HamHocks on September 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm



    Yikes. Let me clear some things up. If you take a look at my posts, you'll see that I'm not calling for you to criticize anybody and I certainly don't expect anybody to cater to the left here. I wouldn't presume to tell you how you voted or anything of the kind. My deduction that Jim's audience didn't have the same fire over these same issues during Bush's term was reached by the fact that Jim didn't vocally regard  Bush's czars as threats to our freedom and, unless my memory betrays me, I didn't see any Tea Party protests organizing to protest the bloating of the federal government. I think that's at least a reasonable start for making such an assumption., but I could be swayed if you have better information.

    Is my initial post what passes for an attack here? You said it yourself, it stays civil. That's why I'm here. If I have a problem with the way Vicevich covers issues, why would I talk about it at Huffington? There's a laundry list of conclusions you seem to have reached about my opinion of you despite me having never mentioned any of them. Perhaps you're mistaking me for a troll? Maybe Dims can vouch for me on this one.










  22. Dimsdale on September 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I think we are actually on the same page.  "Pundits" from both parties criticize the opposing party in power.  It is an adversarial system, and there are benefits to be had from it, because all government should be scrutinized, and who better than critics from "the other team"?  I just disapprove when the criticism turns into pointless rhetoric designed to to little but create havoc for the other side.  Of course, if the other side is cooperating by screwing up, then it becomes a bit of a feeding frenzy.  I like Jim's perspective because he backs up his small "l" libertarianism with his own experiences, economic, business etc.  You may not agree with him, but he is pretty good about that.


    Was it not Hillary who said that dissent is the highest form of patriotism?  😉

  23. HamHocks on September 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Yeah, but she was running from all that sniper fire at the time.

  24. chris-os on September 19, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Bottom line is that if you believe strongly in a political philosophy, then there are plenty of facts you won't believe and plenty of falsehoods you will. From my vantage point in the middle of the political spectrum, I see examples on both sides of the extremes, but in this country the preponderance of the reality-deniers are on the political right.

    best example, most shockingto moi, was the amount of posters on this blog who said that there were WMD"s!

  25. Dimsdale on September 19, 2010 at 4:35 am

    I am going to have to sit and ponder how you can reconcile your above statements (or any of your statements for that matter) with "From my vantage point in the middle of the political spectrum…"


    I don't think anyone here doubts you firmly represent the far left side of the political spectrum!  😉


    P.S.  EVERYONE, including the Democrats, Saddam Hussein and all foreign intelligence organizations, thought Iraq had WMDs.  I have the quotes from the Dems, if you would like them.  I can assure that nobody here believes that Bush knew, or orchestrated the 9/11 disaster, which is still a running theme for lefties.

  26. Dimsdale on September 19, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Okay, EVERYONE is a bit extreme. I am sure that McDermott from Washington and his other human shields didn't believe it.

  27. Dimsdale on September 19, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Ham: LOL!

  28. chris-os on September 19, 2010 at 5:08 am

    To you, Dims, Karl Rove is a liberal!

  29. sammy22 on September 19, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Ham, a good effort at explaining your views and positions. However, if you re-dead the post by SOS you might have guessed where things would go, if anyone disagreed w/ the slant put on by SOS.

  30. NH-Jim on September 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm


    First, let me hold out my hand to "shake on it" for we are all Americans first and politics certainly get the ire up in this Irishman.  "Attack" was too strong of word choice.  Friends?

    This blog, from what I know, began in December of 2007 by Steve Mcgough and merged with Jim's in '09; that is relatively young by my view.  That leaves one year of the Bush administration to be covered by this blog.  So, what we say here about the present selection of "czars" can be carried back to previous administrations, or not.  The TEA party actually began as an undercurrent during Bush's waning days with TARP and the 1st Stimulus.  It wasn't until Rick Santelli's rant from the floor of the Chicago trade that brought the frustration to the surface.

    I understand your point about the "bandwagon" mentality politics but I believe it is what makes politics hotly contested and carried out by both sides.  Hey, we are playing "tug o' war".

    Our founding fathers definitely did not think that language, such as that in Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution {The President shall have the power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate…}, would be distorted by any party to the extent that our recent leaders have done.  So, yes I agree with you that both sides play the underhanded politics.  Let's speak out, starting now and in the future, regardless of party to bring power back to the states and the people.


  31. Dimsdale on September 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    chris: LOL!


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