After the humiliating resignation of “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones over the weekend, a defiant President Obama named yet another czar for manufacturing policy at a Labor Day picnic on Monday.
Ron Bloom, who was a member of his auto industry task force, was named as senior counselor for manufacturing policy. Bloom was in Cincinnati Monday with Obama for an afternoon announcement at an AFL-CIO Labor Day event.
The Obama czars are generating controversy because, unlike other official government positions, these individual “advisers” do not have to face congressional scrutiny. They are merely named by the president and start work with huge authority over federal departments and policy but no congressional oversight. And unlike many appointees, they have the ear of the president to do his bidding.
Republicans had been calling for Jones to resign and raising concerns about all the czars Obama has appointed --which by some accounts amount to more than 30. Among the most powerful czars are John Holdren, the White House "science czar," who has espoused controversial theories on climate change and overpopulation; Cass Sunstein, "regulatory czar," who has sought to ban hunting; and Mark Lloyd, "diversity czar," who has sought to stymie conservative voices in the media by strictly regulating the public airwaves.
It was some of these individuals that Glenn Beck referenced in his statement Sunday after the midnight resignation of Van Jones. Beck was the leading voice in exposing many of that czar's more controversial statements and positions.
“The American people stood up and demanded answers," Beck wrote in a statement. “Instead of providing them, the Administration had Jones resign under cover of darkness. I continue to be amazed by the power of everyday Americans to initiate change in our government through honest questioning, and judging by the other radicals in the administration, I expect that questioning to continue for the foreseeable future."
Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman for the Bush administration, told Fox News that presidents like to appoint czars because it can be hard to get political appointees confirmed by an increasingly partisan Congress.
"They have skirted around that process so there is no accountability for the czars," she said Monday. "Nobody has to go up and testify in front of Congress. They don't have to go through the process."
House Republican Mike Pence wants to see background checks on all Obama-appointed 'czars,' along with some congressional oversight. Until then, he wants to see suspension of further “czar” appointments.
Pence was the most vocal lawmaker in calling for the resignation of Van Jones after Jones was associated with the 9/11 "truther" movement: a conspiracy fringe that blamed the Bush administration for the World Trade Center attacks.
"I’m suggesting that the administration should suspend immediately any future czar appointments while both the constitutionality of this practice is examined and while the background and qualifications of individuals who’ve been appointed as czars is carefully examined," Pence said.
The latest czar, Bloom, was a member of his auto industry task force, as senior counselor for manufacturing policy. Bloom planned to travel to Cincinnati with Obama for an afternoon announcement at the AFL-CIO event.
Bloom has already sidestepped congressional approval. He was senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as part of the auto industry task force since February. Bloom, a Harvard Business School graduate, previously advised the United Steelworkers union and worked as an investment banker, according to Fox News.
Bloom will work with the National Economic Council to lead policy development and planning for Obama's work to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, the White House said.
Perino told Fox she doesn't object to the White House focusing on revitalizing the battered manufacturing industry.
"The National Economic Council, which is part of the White House with a seat right inside the West Wing, that's what their job is supposed to be," she said. "I'm not clear as to why they have to add all these additional layers."
Newsmax Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler believes that Obama's lack of management experience is starting to catch up with him.
"You're seeing a White House in disarray," Kessler told Fox, citing the contentious debate over health care reform and the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison without finding a place to send the detainees. "He is not exactly a model CEO."
For a White House trying to fight through health care reform, and encourage bipartisan cooperation in the face of unabashed GOP obstruction and baseless personal attacks, the latest overblown controversy had terrible timing.
As Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained, "What Van Jones decided was that the agenda of this president was bigger than any one individual. The president thanks Van Jones for his service in the first eight months."
Perino said she was "curious how he (Jones) made it that far into the administration when a Google search could have told you he believed that the Bush administration had allowed 9/11 to happen. It'd be like the Bush White House having a former Klansman or Holocaust denier in the West Wing."
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