Dancing With The Czars

I'm usually reluctant to post web ads, since they're produced to try to get free advertising when blogs cover them (as an alternative to paying for TV time), but you've gotta give credit to a good pun. The Democratic National Committee has been in a heavy spat with the Republican Party over criticism of the "czars," with each side sending out many press releases and memos to reporters every day. But the DNC beat their counterparts to the punch of who could appropriate the phrase "dancing with the czars" in talking-point/advertising format, co-opting a joke Glenn Beck himself actually came up with first, as it's the title of a web video they sent out this morning that counts the alleged "czars" of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, there's no actual dancing in it:

Some conservatives are suspicious of the number of "czars" in the Obama administration; right now, it's competing with ACORN as the top conservative meme. Of course, there were just as many Cabinet secretaries, etc., in the Bush administration, but they weren't all called "czars" back then; the term didn't become vogue with the media until the Obama transition.

None of this, of course, gets to the substantive question underlying all the criticism: has the Obama administration concentrated more power into the hands of fewer people in the executive branch?

But would it actually matter? We're talking about positions within executive bureaucracy here; it's not like calling someone a "czar" means the end of Congress and the courts. The alternative to literal "czars" within the executive would probably be more red tape.

As far as I'm concerned, the DNC actually misses the high irony of all this: not that Bush had czars of his own, but that conservatives are criticizing executive czarishness after a Republican administration that expanded executive power more than any other in recent history.