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This book offers an insightful analysis of presidential policy towards Rhodesia during the UDI era of 1965-1979. Michel
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Without suspicion of exaggeration it can be said that “The Rise of the House of Rothschild” is one of the most exciting
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An irreverent look at Presidential foibles, follies, fibs, and moral failures Were past presidents smarter, more honest,
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Acknowledgments This project started in early 2009, when, during a conversation about President Barack Obama’s transition effort, one of us asked the other if he had heard about Senator Robert Byrd’s complaints about Obama’s use of czars. From there, a casual curiosity turned into a couple of papers and eventually a book project that would span the entirety of Obama’s first term and well into his second. In the meantime, dissertations were defended, jobs were found, cross-country moves were made, first homes were purchased, and careers were begun. The one continuity throughout the process of writing this book has been the incredible kindness, generosity, and brilliance of our many colleagues, especially those within the presidency research community. We are especially indebted to Jim Pfiffner, whose 2009 congressional testimony played a very significant role in our early understanding of czars and who provided mentorship and thoughtfulness at every turn. Lou Fisher also provided patient and much needed critical feedback at an early stage and helped arrange a valuable and memorable lunch conversation at the Congressional Research Service with Henry Hogue, who also played an important role in the development of our ideas. With regard to our broader development as scholars of the managerial presidency, we also owe a special thanks to Karen Hult, whose steadfast encouragement and direction have proven invaluable over the years. In addition, we have consistently benefited from the graciousness of numerous other colleagues, too many for us to possibly list here in full. Those we could not possibly leave out for this project, however, include Dave Lewis, Richard Ellis, Ken Meier, Shirley Anne Warshaw, David Adler, Jessica Gribble, and Kathy Staudt. We also wish to thank Melody Herr, Susan Cronin, and Kevin Rennells of the University of Michigan Press for all of their kind guidance in helping us to prepare the book manuscript. Page x → Many others have contributed to a sense of scholarly community without which we would be lost. Chief among the individuals in this group are Brandon Rottinghaus, Julia Azari, Mary Stuckey, Victoria Farrar-Myers, MaryAnne Borrelli, Nancy Kassop, Lilly Goren, Matt Eshbaugh-Soha, and Jeff Peake. Naturally, we have only been able to invest ourselves in this endeavor with the support of those closest to us. Our spouses—Elena Tomorowitz and Cigdem Sirin—are without peer when it comes to providing the kind of love and support necessary for us to do our best work. Writing this book, not to mention simply getting out of bed each morning, would not have been imaginable without their presence in our lives. Finally, we dedicate this book to our friend and mentor, George Edwards. Both of us were immeasurably fortunate to have studied with and had our dissertations directed by George, an experience from which we continue to benefit as we seek out new intellectual hills to climb. George taught us how to think about the presidency as political scientists should and, more important, to embrace the full range of our lives with vigor and glee—or, as he often puts it, “to live the good life.” Without him, we quite literally would not be where we are or doing what we do.
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List of Abbreviations The abbreviations below refer to key acts, agencies, and organizations discussed throughout this book. ADAMHA—Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (1973–92) BNDD—Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (1968–73) CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1970–present) CIA—Central Intelligence Agency (1947–present) CRS—Congressional Research Service (1914–present) DEA—Drug Enforcement Administration (1973–present) DHS—Department of Homeland Security (2002–present) DNI—Director of National Intelligence (2005–present) DOD—Department of Defense (1949–present) DOE—Department of Energy (1977–present) DOJ—Department of Justice (1870–present) DPC—Domestic Policy Council (1985–present) EOP—Executive Office of the President (1939–present) EPA—Environmental Protection Agency (1970–present) EPCA—Energy Policy and Conservation Act (1975) EPO—Energy Policy Office (1973) ERDA—Energy Research and Development Administration (1974–77) FBI—Federal Bureau of Investigation (1933–present) FBN—Federal Bureau of Narcotics (1930–68) FDIC—Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (1933–present) FEA—Federal Energy Administration (1974–77) FEMA—Federal Emergency Management Agency (1978–present) FEO—Federal Energy Office (1973–74) GAO—Government Accountability Office (1921–present) HEW—Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1953–80) HSC—Homeland Security Council (2001–present)
HUD—Department of Housing and Urban Development (1965–present) ICE—Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2003–present) Page xii → NATO—North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949–present) NCI—National Cancer Institute (1937–present) NIDA—National Institute on Drug Abuse (1974–present) NIH—National Institutes of Health (1930–present) NORML—National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (1970–present) NSC—National Security Council (1947–present) ODALE—Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (1972–73) OECCP—Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy (2009–11) OHR—White House Office of Health Reform (2009–11) OHS—Office of Homeland Security (2001–2) OMB—Office of Management and Budget (1970–present) ONAP—Office of National AIDS Policy (1993–present) ONDCP—Office of National Drug Control Policy (1989–present) SAODAP—Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (1971–73) UN—United Nations (1945–present) WHO—White House Office (1939–present)
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Introduction In the spring of 2009, an amusing if conceptually problematic meme made its way through the politically inclined corridors of the Internet and along the avenues of web-friendly Washington, D.C.: President Barack Obama officially had more czars than the Romanovs, the imperial dynasty that ruled Russia for more than three centuries and from whom participants in the October Revolution (1917) wrested control of state affairs. Ninety-one years after members of the immediate royal family were murdered in the cellar of a merchant’s commandeered house in Yekaterinburg, their name again became the subject of elite partisan speculation, though this time thanks to tweets by Senator John McCain1 and to columns in periodicals such as Foreign Policy magazine.2 Although the teasing nature of the Romanov reference was a new development, the question of Obama’s czar “problem” had been lingering for several months. Obama faced stark criticism from some in the media and Congress for his appointment of numerous “czars” and the alleged influence these appointees had over public policy. Even before Obama’s 2008 election victory, articles referencing the potential influence of would-be czars in the incoming administration were published in outlets such as the influential website Politico.3 A month before Obama’s inauguration, the Wall Street Journal wrote of the important roles czars were poised to play in the administration.4 Within the Beltway, lawmakers and interest groups soon expressed concern that Obama might be subverting congressional authority and concentrating power in the executive.5 By the time Senator Robert Byrd wrote a letter to the new president in February 2009 warning against giving too much power to White House staffers who would be unaccountable to congressional oversight, the issue had bloomed into a full-fledged controversy, even if it was ultimately one where concern was largely limited to Washingtonians and conservativedominated A.M. talk radio.6 Page 2 → Amid the turmoil, the White House began mounting defensive communication maneuvers, with press secretary Robert Gibbs arguing with reporters about the official title of Pay Czar (a.k.a. “Special Master for Compensation”) Kenneth Feinberg, communications director Anita Dunn stipulating that no one on the Obama administration payroll actually had the title czar, and White House counsel Gregory Craig responding to multiple congressional inquiries (including those from fellow Democrats) by letter while avoiding invitations to appear before committee hearings. For all the furor, occasionally lost in the interbranch commotion was the fact that no one really had a precise understanding of what czars actually were or why they should be so controversial.
Why Are Czars Controversial? Czars are controversial for two key reasons. First, it remains unclear what exactly constitutes a czar, and arguments continue to rage about who should be considered one and why. Even with the continuing uncertainty about what precisely constitutes a czar, it is clear that both the usage of the term czar and presidential usage of personnel in a manner consistent with the term are meant to convey presidential dedication to important and often salient policy problems. Our own definition, which is discussed in greater detail and within the broader scholarly context in chapter 1, reflects this common understanding; specifically, we define czars as members of an administration tasked with coordination responsibilities over a particular policy problem that an administration is intent on either solving or at least addressing symbolically. As we point out in chapter 1, greater operational specificity than that becomes tricky and counterproductive. The second—and arguably more substantive and consequential—reason that czars are controversial concerns the constitutional ramifications that presidential usage of czars engenders. To some, czars are an illegal extension of authority that undermines congressional autonomy. Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA), for example, referred to czars as “unappointed, unaccountable people who are literally running a shadow government, heading up these little fiefdoms that nobody can really seem to identify where they are or what they’re doing.”7 The Constitution and subsequent legislation lay out not only the roles of the respective branches but also the
president’s ability to hire staff and what that staff can do. Those troubled by czars believe presidents exceed those limits when they bring czars into their administrations because they go beyond Page 3 → traditional and accepted duties of advising the president in helping to implement public policy and making policy decisions that breach the extent of their legitimate authority. These critics have a good point here, especially in the worst-case scenario, but the legal situation is a bit more murky. With respect to arguments against presidential usage of czars, Mitchel Sollenberger and Mark Rozell argue that certain acts of delegation violate both the Appointments Clause and nondelegation doctrine and posit that a president cannot unilaterally establish offices without legislative authorization. As a result, they view czars as a “constitutional aberration” and “a direct violation of the core principles of a system of separation of powers and government accountability.”8 The crux of their case against czars concerns the Appointments Clause, which dictates that the president may nominate “principal” (or “superior”) officers that require Senate confirmation. At the same time, Congress may choose to allow the president to appoint certain “inferior” officers without Senate confirmation. Officers who do not require Senate advice and consent are presumed to serve only in advisory or support roles. The problem for critics arises when a nonconfirmed official receives significant responsibilities that exceed what is constitutionally appropriate.9 Any executive branch official going beyond what is typically associated with inferior offices must receive confirmation if the appointment is to have constitutional fidelity. Those who do not (that is, those whom Sollenberger and Rozell dub czars) are operating outside of and in conflict with the constitution. This critical perspective is but one interpretation, however, as other scholars have observed the same cases motivating critical outcry and come to different conclusions. T. J. Halstead of the Congressional Research Service, for example, holds “there is no substantial basis upon which it may be argued that the President’s selection and employment of advisers constitutes a fundamental violation of the terms set forth in the Constitution.”10 Similarly, University of Virginia law professor John Harrison testified before a Senate subcommittee hearing that he was “not aware of any so-called ‘Czar’ who lacks the type of appointment needed to authorize that person’s actions.”11 In addition, Melanie Marlow, a political scientist and proponent of the unitary executive theory, argues that there is “nothing unconstitutional” about czars since they have no legal authority to abuse given they are neither principal nor inferior officers under the Appointments Clause.12 Unless Congress or the federal courts take substantive steps to the contrary, proponents of czars can plausibly argue that presidents may staff their administrations in any way as long as their actions stay within the broad guidelines set forth in the Appointments Clause and subsequent relevant legislation. So far, however, opponents of presidential policy czars have not Page 4 → been able to roll back the administrative practice, with the exception of one instance where the branches were negotiating to avoid a government shutdown.13 Of course, future legislation may someday limit presidential utilization of czars. Until that time, it is incumbent on us to learn more about the nature of these curious bureaucratic positions.
Why Study Czars? The fact that there is no clear consensus as to what exactly constitutes a czar could indicate to some that the subject is in need of further scholarly examination; others, however, might suggest that if pundits and politicians are not even sure what a czar is, the idea of an entire book on the subject might be a little far-fetched. The study of czars is important not only because it is a largely misunderstood phenomenon within the study of the presidency, despite the level of controversy the practice has engendered in recent years, but also because learning more about czars, including particularly their proliferation’s causes and consequences, can tell us a lot about the historical dynamics of the presidency broadly construed. With the exception of a small number of law review and academic journal articles, one academic book, and the congressional testimony referenced previously in this chapter, academic study on czars is virtually nonexistent. To date, the available works on the subject are almost exclusively conservative political texts attempting to use the proliferation of czars as one of a range of examples to support allegations that Barack Obama has a hidden social agenda.14 Given objective scholars’ lack of clarity on what czars are and do, leaving the intellectual debate almost entirely in
the hands of ideologically driven commentators raises some concerns. And by increasing our understanding of czars, of what they really are and what they really do, we can more realistically gauge the way the presidency has changed as an institution, the reasons for these changes, and how they relate to the czar phenomenon. Accordingly, we approach the subject of czar proliferation as a unique bureaucratic phenomenon that exists amid a series of parallel administrative phenomena that stem from the same common sources.
Three Central Frames: Success, Structure, and Source Three central frames carry forward throughout this volume in terms of our conceptualization and theoretical development as well as of the conduct and Page 5 → conclusions of our case study analyses. The first of these concerns the extent to which czars are successful in coordinating the executive branch’s response to the policy problems they have been assigned to manage. We touch on this subject briefly in chapter 1, in which we define czar as a concept and in practice as it applies to three separate examples from the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. This frame becomes particularly important in our separate case studies, where we discuss the successes (or lack thereof) of a wide range of czars spanning four decades and several policy areas. To determine whether a czar was successful, we ask two central questions. First, to what extent (and why) was the czar efficacious in his or her coordinative efforts? And, second, did the czar yield a public relations victory for the administration? Our focus on these two questions is driven by the dual definitional function of czars, which is discussed at length in chapter 1, as both a high-level coordinator and as a symbolic expression of an administration’s prioritization of a particular policy problem. Throughout each case study, we focus explicitly on the consequences of each czar’s choices and actions as well as the choices made by the presidents who deputized them, and we provide specific assessments of success concerning both the policy and public relations dimensions in each chapter’s conclusion. Furthermore, in the book’s conclusion, we identify the overarching determinants of czar success and offer guidance about future presidents’ considerations when determining whether and how to utilize czars. The second theme found throughout this volume concerns the structural factors that shape the ways in which administrations approach the uses of czars. Our theoretical discussion, provided in chapter 2, directly engages this topic, linking political science and public administration research and theory to craft an account of the factors that drive administrations to utilize czars. Building on a theoretical foundation developed by Terry Moe and others, we discuss how changes in presidential leadership related to the expectations gap have led to a growth in the executive branch, which in turn has created incentives for presidents to centralize and politicize the government’s administrative arm—including through the use of presidential czars.15 Amid growing public pressures and political competition from Congress, presidents have sought to expand their influence and jurisdiction over the policy process while suffering the burden of managing an increasingly thickening bureaucracy. In a more fragmented environment fraught with multiple entities sparring over resources, jurisdiction, and authority, modern presidents face a very difficult road in seeing through their programs and policy initiatives. In line with the work of Karen Hult and Charles Walcott,16 we argue Page 6 → that presidential success depends heavily on how well bureaucratic entities and the policy process are managed vis-à-vis the bureaucratization of specific important tasks—tasks that presidential czars, as primary coordinators, can oversee in serving an administration. Further, our case studies delineate the ways in which politics of the moment and the composition of a president’s coalition drive decision making on the extent to which—and how—a czar will be supported and empowered. We bring these two structural dimensions together in the book’s conclusion, in which we also identify at the macro level the tension between politics and policy in czar leadership. Finally, the third theme threaded throughout this volume concerns the essential difference that separates those czars deployed to engage policy matters high on a president’s agenda from those czars that a president inherited. For obvious political reasons, even new presidents who come into office with entirely different agendas than their immediate predecessors are unlikely to do away with positions created by the previous administration to tackle what have been viewed—and in all probability continue to be viewed—as major policy challenges. To be sure, the new president may well replace the individual serving as czar or even largely disempower the position functionally but will likely resist doing away with it entirely for the same reason the czar was originally created:
politics. For example, George W. Bush chose not to do away with the AIDS czar that his predecessor Bill Clinton had created, just as Barack Obama kept on George W. Bush’s war czar. In both cases, though, the new presidents quickly moved to weaken the authority and importance of the respective czardoms even as they took great care and vested significant responsibility and influence in different kinds of czars working on different policy matters. As will be borne out in almost every case study, the extent to which presidents are deliberate in choosing and steadfast in empowering their czars depends on how much they care about the matter, especially if they did not create the position.
Plan of the Book This book provides an account of why presidential policy czars may have proliferated in recent administrations and what the political and policy ramifications of this administrative trend may be. In chapter 1, we engage the challenge of defining czars as we catalog a wide range of efforts by both pundits and scholars alike before providing our own take, which is grounded in examples from recent presidential administrations. Having discussed in detail the range of definitional approaches others Page 7 → have employed when assessing czars and stated our own perspective in chapter 1, chapter 2 explains why modern presidents might have turned with increasing frequency to these kinds of assistants. Our explanation is multifaceted but has at its core the growing divide between what the public expects of presidential leadership and what the constitutional system of separated powers and shared responsibilities permits. By placing the proliferation of czars—and the growth of the White House staff in general—within broader political and institutional contexts, we root the administrative logic that has led to the alleged increasing reliance on czars amid the ever-increasing public pressure presidents face to lead the way in solving policy problems even as structural and political realities limit their ability to do so, at least in an orthodox manner. We follow this focus on definition and explanation with a series of five case studies that span the past halfcentury. Each case study examines a high-profile effort by a president to utilize White House staff in a way that is consistent with the most rigorous yet conceptually valid definition of a czar. In chapter 3, we analyze the rise of the energy czar in the 1970s and the position’s eventual evolution into what is today the Department of Energy. President Nixon initially acted unilaterally, first bringing in Colorado governor John Love and later tapping William Simon to lead the administration’s efforts to respond to the energy crises of the 1970s. Over the next few years, as the political context changed and the administrative structure evolved, Congress and the White House cooperated by elevating the energy czar from a White House staffer to the head of a new cabinet department, the Department of Energy. Chapter 4 traces the drug czar’s path from conservative concern with drug and crime policy, ultimately manifested in the creation of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the latter days of the Lyndon Johnson administration; through Richard Nixon’s vigorous prosecution of the War on Drugs; Ronald Reagan’s continued support for the conflict but ambivalence toward the idea of a national drug czar; George H. W. Bush’s evolving attitudes toward and eventual appointment of the nation’s first drug czar, Bill Bennett; and the organizational evolution that has continued in the subsequent Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations. In chapter 5, we turn to the case of the AIDS czar, an office that was in many ways intended to parallel the development of the drug czar but for a variety of political and procedural reasons spent virtually the entirety of its two decades mired in controversy, staffing failures, bureaucratic malaise, and wavering presidential commitment. We trace the position’s path from early calls for it during the Reagan administration to its role as a campaign Page 8 → issue in the 1992 Bush-Clinton election, Bill Clinton’s subsequent inability to establish the office on firm footing, George W. Bush’s ambivalence toward the idea of the AIDS czar, and Barack Obama’s unfulfilled promises to strengthen the office. Chapter 6 concerns the role of czars in the George W. Bush administration, particularly as the White House sought ways to improve government administration concerning national security after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In this chapter, we focus especially on three key figures—Tom Ridge, John Negroponte, and General
Douglas Lute—and analyze the different experiences both they and their offices had during these years. The final case study in chapter 7 concerns the controversy over Barack Obama’s alleged overuse of czars. Unlike the other examples, Obama’s usage of czar-like staff occurred during a time when the idea of czars in the White House was suspect and contentious. Accordingly, we simultaneously assess the administration’s usage of czars and depict the dynamics of the controversy surrounding them. Last, the conclusion ties together the lessons of these separate cases and discusses what the future holds for policy czars as presidential management tools. We offer some advice to future presidents on how best to use—or, at times, avoid using—czars.
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CHAPTER 1 What Is a Czar? The term czar has been applied in countless different ways, creating widespread confusion about what exactly constitutes a czar. Dating as far back as the Calvin Coolidge years, presidents have at times employed the label as a manner to simplify the otherwise complicated official titles of certain administration personnel. In more recent decades, presidents have introduced “czar” appointees as a means to draw greater attention to an administration’s efforts toward addressing a major policy challenge. Most recently, critics of the Obama administration have employed the term for personnel alleged to be engaging in various forms of executive overreach. Others have decried the debate over policy czars as little more than a battle of semantics. For scholars grappling with the phenomenon, the most immediate challenge posed in attempting to analyze presidential usage of policy czars is that of definition. Although frequently—and increasingly—used in political discourse about executive politics, a definition that is both precise and commonly accepted continues to elude both the political officials who engage with czars while doing the business of governing and the scholars and pundits who analyze those officials’ actions. Indeed, even certain former czars have had trouble defining the institution: for example, conservative magazine Newsmax quotes former homeland security adviser Fran Townsend: “I’m not sure what a czar is, or what it does.”1 Such uncertainty has led some observers to decry the meaninglessness of the term: law professor Aaron Saiger has written, “In short, whether an official is called a ‘czar’ tells you as much about her formal organizational position as whether she works for a ‘department,’ ‘agency,’ or an ‘administration,’ which is to say, nothing.”2 This chapter engages the challenge of defining czars by cataloging a wide range of efforts by both pundits and scholars alike before providing our own take, which we ground in examples from recent presidential administrations. Page 10 →
Key Dimensions of the Czar Moniker The bulk of those who have written on the subject of czars have focused largely on description (at times colorfully so) rather than conceptualization. Many—including representatives of the Obama administration itself—have focused on the media-driven nature of the term. Obama administration spokesman Tommy Vietor noted, “The term ‘czar’ is largely a media creation to make jobs that have existed under multiple administrations sound more exciting. Every president since Nixon has hired smart and qualified people to coordinate between agencies and the White House.”3 This opinion appears to be shared across the ideological spectrum, as Gene Healy of the libertarian CATO Institute suggested that “‘czar’ is a media-coined, catchall term for presidential assistants tasked with coordinating policy on issues that cut across departmental lines,”4 while Bradley Patterson, a longtime public administration scholar whose government service included stints in the Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford administrations, testified that “‘czar’ is not an official government title of anybody; it is a vernacular of executive branch public administration, harking back—in one account—at least to the Coolidge years. It is a label now used loosely hereabouts, especially by the media.”5 Similarly, journalist Randy James wrote in Time, So when does a high-level White House adviser become a czar? No one knows for sure, since the term itself has no formal definition. Essentially it’s a media creation—the White House rarely even acknowledges the title—used as a snappy shorthand to identify and describe the array of policy officials swarming the West Wing.6 James’s contention jibes with that of the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing that the term czar is confusing as it is a title one no one officially holds. Instead, czar is a “short-hand popularization used by the media and commentators as well as individuals in government to describe certain individuals in the administration who seem to be coordinating
national policy and particular policy issues across agencies and programs.”7 Others emphasize the singular policy focus that identifies most czars. A September 2009 Washington Post article on the Obama administration’s czar controversy noted that though such staffers held a range of titles on paper—special advisers, board chairs, agency deputies, among others—the Page 11 → commonality between them was that they had all been asked by Obama to guide high-profile initiatives.8 Ten days later, in the same newspaper, David Rivkin and Lee Casey argued in an editorial that czars are presidential assistants given responsibility for key policy areas and, as such, are among the president’s closest advisers, equivalent to the personal staff of a member of Congress.9 Testifying before the Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing the next month, law professor John Harrison noted that the term has “a popular, but . . . not a legal meaning” and is used to describe an executive branch employee bearing responsibility with respect to some problem or issue.10 Lest this appear to be a modern conclusion, testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in late October 2009, Congressional Research Service scholar Harold Relyea quoted eminent public administration scholar Luther Gulick’s comments on the subject circa 1948: Summarizing the operating experience of the “czars,” Gulick said: These single-purpose administrators had the great advantage of simplicity of mission. They, their staffs and the public knew exactly what they were trying to do. In general, they “got results.” They “bullied their way through,” overcoming many obstacles. But they also made a great deal of confusion for other programs.11 Gulick’s description also includes another hallmark of the broader effort to define czars: a focus on function rather than precise titles and responsibilities. Where Gulick referred to getting results and bulling past obstacles, Patterson noted that “czar conveys the flavor of action,” a bureaucratic superman sent to knock heads, cut red tape, and mow down resistance and in doing so allow the president to collect praise and rebut political charges of insufficient attention and concern.12
Scholarly Efforts to Define Czars Each of the preceding references does a fair job of communicating what one generally means by czar but a poor job of defining precisely what constitutes a czar as an empirical term. The problem of clarity this creates is only exacerbated by the different ways that different kinds of commentators use the word czar. For example, according to the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan legislative research agency, Page 12 → For some, the term is being used to quickly convey an appointee’s title (e.g., climate “czar”) in shorthand. For others, it is, perhaps, being used to convey a sense that power is being centralized in the White House or certain entities. When used in the political-science literature, the term generally refers to White House policy coordination or an intense focus by the appointee on an issue of great magnitude.13 The Congressional Research Service reference to political science is appropriate, as it has arguably been the academic discipline most concerned with conceptualizing and analyzing czars. Testifying before a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing, James Pfiffner confirmed the lack of definitional consensus and offered his own, defining czars as “members of the White House staff who have been designated by the president to coordinate a specific policy that involves more than one department or agency in the executive branch; they do not hold Senate-confirmed positions, nor are they officers of the United States.”14 Several others have attempted to provide procedural definitions, as well. As Patterson noted in his congressional testimony, to be a czar, an individual must report only to the president. (Patterson went on to note his definition of czars excludes Senate-confirmed appointees.)15 Attorney Lee Casey offered a lengthy discussion of his threecategory definition of czars.16 This definition distinguishes among persons holding offices created by Congress, officials who are not vested by law with policy development or coordination functions, and officials who are employed by the Executive Office of the President and/or members of the immediate White House staff. Casey
identifies this last group as the most controversial. Senator Russell Feingold put forward a very similar tripartite definition in a statement before a Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution that he chaired.17 Finally, Mitchel Sollenberger and Mark Rozell define czars as executive branch officials who have not been confirmed by the Senate yet exercise decision-making authority over budget programs, policy administration and coordination, or the promulgation of rules, regulations, and orders concerning the behavior of either government officials or the private sector.18
Constructing a More Definitive Definition: Our Take on Czars Each of these attempts to create an operational definition for czar is thoughtful and conscientious. However, we do not subscribe to any one of them simply because we believe that in their attempts to formalize the term czar, Page 13 → a great deal of the variation in how czars have been used and discussed in recent political history goes unexplained. After all, czar is certainly not a formal title or official term; rather, it is a rhetorical construct meant to convey, in general, an active bureaucratic official charged with managing government action in an important area. However well intended, these definitions effectively lose the conceptual forest for the specific trees. Indeed, many of the individuals to whom presidents have referred publicly as czars would not qualify for the label under these definitions. In other words, as scholars have strived for a reliable measure, they have inadvertently gravitated toward less valid definitions. For example, no czar is better known than the “drug czar,” the informal title of the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. None of the preceding conceptual approaches would classify the drug czar as an actual czar, however, because the position is subject to Senate confirmation. As a result, the efforts to define czar in an operational manner have led to measures of the rhetorical construct that do not include the most high-profile example of the construct in contemporary discourse. Nonetheless, we must be clear about what we mean when we use the word czar. Although czar is a rhetorical construct, one that no one can own or officially define, the term is used most accurately when it is applied to administration officials tasked with coordination responsibilities over a particular policy area, typically one related to a policy problem or priority that is either new or newly important and that an administration is intent on solving with the full force of the federal government—or at least appearing to do so. In this sense, our approach resembles that of William Howell, who notes, “‘Czar’ is political shorthand for a special policy adviser who is appointed by the president, without congressional oversight, for the purposes of coordinating and centralizing the activities of various executive branch offices.”19 Senate confirmation may be a helpful indicator but is not fundamental to our conceptualization. We do not believe the “without congressional oversight” component of Howell’s definition is essential. Indeed, as subsequent chapters in this volume show, congressional oversight has been present in varying degrees for a range of the nation’s most important czars. We find the coordinative role to be the essential characteristic of presidential policy czars. Indeed, some observers have also pointed to the application of the czar moniker to multiple individuals holding the same (or similar) positions handed down over time. For such cases, the best way to approach the study of such individuals is to take them on a case-by-case basis and focus not on the handing down of the label but on whether any particular individual continues to address and coordinate responsibilities over a particular policy Page 14 → area on behalf of the administration. At times, a newcomer may take over the same task as a czar; in other cases, the newcomer’s role may morph into a different kind of position that has more to do with, say, institutionalizing a new, permanent dimension of government rather than addressing (and presumably solving) a more singular, often time-bound policy challenge. To better illustrate our definition, we offer three brief examples not discussed in detail elsewhere in this book: John Koskinen (Bill Clinton’s Y2K czar), Don Powell (George W. Bush’s Gulf Coast recovery czar), and Adolfo Carrión (Barack Obama’s urban affairs czar). John Koskinen as the Y2K Czar In February 1998, Bill Clinton chose John Koskinen, who had previously served the administration in the Office of Management and Budget, to oversee what at the time appeared to be a potentially apocalyptic Y2K scenario concerning the conversion of computer systems for the year 2000. Koskinen was to chair the President’s Council
on Year 2000 Conversion, which Clinton had created via Executive Order 13073 as a response to widespread worry that computers would interpret the rollover from 1999 (x99) to 2000 (x00) as invalid since a dependence on the last two digits in the years did not follow an ascending numbering assumption that had been programmed across a multitude of the nation’s computer systems. The council consisted of some forty members (most of them senior federal government officials representing key departments and agencies) who served across more than two dozen working groups that sought to assess Y2K computer issues threatening numerous government and industrial sectors, including the U.S. oil, gas, and electricity supplies; railways; and general food supply.20 The basic idea was to help create awareness of the potential problems that could be caused by the Y2K bug, assess the gravity of the threats, and help develop contingency plans for emergency responses in the event of a major nationwide computer system breakdown. Although focused at the federal level, the Y2K Council also considered and addressed reports for state, city, and county-level governments—including four thousand counties across the nation that had lacked readiness plans—and reached out to the private sector for cooperation and help with its efforts.21 As the committee’s chair—and thus the Y2K czar—Koskinen was responsible for overseeing these efforts and coordinating not only across federal agencies but also with state, local, and tribal governments as well as the private sector.22 He also served as the public face of the administration’s efforts. Page 15 → In July 1998, Koskinen announced at the National Press Club that nearly all of the federal government’s critical computer systems would be ready for the Y2K changeover by the administration’s self-imposed deadline of March 31, 1999.23 He also noted that a number of key bureaucratic entities were lagging a little behind schedule, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, Transportation, and Health and Human Services as well as the Agency for International Development. Koskinen also asserted that legislation addressing the Y2K problem would soon be introduced with bipartisan backing in both chambers of Congress. The Y2K bill, which sought to protect companies that could share Y2K knowledge with public and private entities, received strong support from the Clinton administration as well as from the most vocal critic of the administration’s Y2K efforts, Representative Steve Horn (R-CA). At its core, the bill was meant to protect companies from being sued for inadvertently providing any information or guidance that might not subsequently help solve the Y2K problem. As such, the bill offered a potential bridge between political opponents and, just as important, a key element for engendering unity and cooperation across public and private sectors to help head off a Y2K disaster. Despite Koskinen’s assertions of a bipartisan process, an agreement on the legislation would require some notable back-and-forth negotiations and fine-tuning. A year later, the Y2K bill was passed into law and signed by President Clinton, though not before the president had threatened to veto earlier versions of the legislation that he did not support. In the end, fears regarding Y2K problems subsided when a major crisis failed to materialize. The subsequent debate in the aftermath of the year 2000 computer changeover centered on whether the administration’s preparation efforts to head off the crisis had worked to get the vast array of computer systems on track for the turn of the century or if the entire Y2K dilemma had been overhyped.24 Either way, with respect to the Y2K czar, Koskinen had largely done what he set out to do: he brought an extraordinary amount of attention to the issue, helped move all levels of the public and private sector to take action on the issue, oversaw successful passage of key legislation intended to help mediate the process, and ultimately coordinated a crisis-free conversion period that occurred toward the end of Clinton’s term in office. In terms of success, then, Koskinen clearly provides a positive example of a successful czar in both aspects discussed previously: he helped lead the administration’s response to the Y2K problem in a manner that achieved the policy goal he was assigned (that is, avoiding a hightech meltdown as the calendar flipped from December 1999 to January 2000), and his appointment helped stem criticism that the Clinton administration was insufficiently concerned about the potential threat. Page 16 →
Don Powell as the Recovery Czar In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast, causing widespread destruction in a swath that stretched from Florida to Texas, leaving nearly two thousand people dead and causing more than one hundred billion dollars in damages. Government response to the storm—especially with respect to the subsequent flooding of New Orleans—was perceived as sluggish and insufficient. Politicians at every level—from New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin to Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco—came under immense scrutiny and criticism, with particular anger directed at national leaders for reasons ranging from the ineffectiveness of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s efforts to allegations of President George W. Bush’s apparent lack of concern for the victims and refugees. As the storm waters receded and the herculean task of recovering began, the administration faced particular pressure to improve its post-Katrina performance, both symbolically and substantively. By fall, officials rolled out a series of programs and efforts from a variety of relevant agencies, pressing Congress for legislative support, which eventually came in the form of the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005. To implement these programs and oversee not only federal efforts but also cooperative initiatives with state and local administrations throughout the region, the White House needed someone on-site to coordinate everything. On November 1, 2005, Donald Powell announced his departure from his post as chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to help the Bush administration head up the post–Hurricane Katrina effort to rebuild the affected Gulf Coast areas.25 He would command a staff of about a dozen, and his official title in that capacity was federal coordinator for Gulf Coast region recovery and rebuilding, though he quickly became known as the recovery czar. In his previous position, Powell had built a strong reputation for his leadership, working to maintain the stability of the U.S. banking system (though that strong foundation began to dissipate a year after his resignation).26 Given his knack for instituting calm and stability, Powell was billed as an ideal candidate to help address the various post-Katrina issues facing the city of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas affected by the historic storm as well as its successors Hurricanes Rita and Wilma.27 To be sure, Powell’s task was daunting, and the administration as a whole would face boundless criticism for the slow recovery period, which extended through the end of Bush’s second term. By most accounts, public opinion was not assuaged by any of the administration’s efforts to address the destruction in the wake of Katrina and the other hurricanes. Powell subsequently Page 17 → became a lightning rod for most of the criticism aimed at the Bush administration. In fact, Louisiana residents and other local officials frequently took their frustrations with the sluggish recovery out on Powell, particularly when the administration did not support higher levels of funding for community redevelopment and protection against future hurricanes.28 The bulk of Powell’s time as recovery czar consisted of fielding complaints about the inadequacy of government resources and mediating conflicts between various levels of government. Even so, Powell was recognized for “freeing up federal money at critical points” as well as showing leadership in determining which recovery proposals to support and which to avoid. For example, he threw his influence behind the “Road Home” project rather than a proposal that the federal government simply purchase thousands of blocks of ruined properties.29 Powell resigned from the post in March 2008, returning to his family in Texas as the administration continued to implement the plans he had originally coordinated and often helped refine. In many ways, in this effort, success would always be elusive given the absence of a concrete, well-defined goal. Indeed, the idea that his czardom would symbolically reflect the administration’s prioritization of the Gulf Coast recovery went nowhere, particularly since Powell’s appointment was driven by the fact that a significant number of Americans viewed Bush as insufficiently concerned with the matter. At best, Powell’s appointment and service might dig the administration out of a hole and get them back to ground-level; as Bush’s approval numbers continued to drop over Powell’s tenure, it cannot be said that his deployment was a boon for the administration. In terms of policy success, Powell’s time as czar was more mixed: his advocacy for programs was often effective, though the programs themselves were administered by other federal and state agencies in frequently incompetent and occasionally corrupt ways beyond his immediate control. A decade after the storms and more than six years after Powell left office, the Gulf Coast is still rebounding from the damage.
Adolfo Carrión as the Urban Affairs Czar When Barack Obama became the nation’s forty-fourth president, he was not only the first African American to occupy the Oval Office but also the first president to hail from a major urban area since John F. Kennedy rose from Boston nearly half a century earlier; before that, the last two presidents from urban areas were Chester Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt, both of New York City.30 This background, along with the disproportionate impact the Page 18 → economic crash of 2008 was having on employment and housing problems in the nation’s cities, drove Obama to issue Executive Order 13503 in February 2009, less than a month after his inauguration. The order established the White House Office of Urban Affairs and directed it to focus federal investment and coordinate federal action related to urban job creation, infrastructure, and housing.31 Scholars and practitioners of urban politics alike lauded the new approach, which brought millions of new dollars to urban policy projects, dubbing it “the most ambitious new policy for the nation’s cities since the Great Society programs of the 1960s.”32 Charged with helming this new organization was Adolfo Carrión Jr., who brought with him strong qualifications—a graduate degree in urban planning and two terms as New York City’s Bronx borough president.33 In that position, Carrión had been celebrated for dedicating his discretionary part of the city’s capital budget to developing low- and middle-income housing—nearly forty thousand units during his tenure.34 Ahead of Carrión’s appointment, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden released an “urban policy plan” outline that detailed their intentions for addressing housing needs, which included the planned creation of the White House Office on Urban Policy. As director of the new office, Carrión was tasked with coordinating all federal urban programs—including those pertaining to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Commerce—with an emphasis on job creation and housing.35 Carrión’s ambitions for the new post were somewhat grander. In addition to coordinating education, health care, and public safety policies related to urban areas, he noted, he would “look to develop urban neighborhoods in environmentally thoughtful ways.”36 He later announced plans to “bring agencies together to change urban growth patterns and foster opportunity, reduce sprawl, and jump-start the economy.”37 Elsewhere, Carrión colorfully suggested, “This is not your father’s White House. This is a new way of looking at the new city-metro reality.”38 Carrión’s tenure as urban affairs czar started with a two-month-long series of field trips, as he and aides traveled the nation’s cities, observing implementation of new plans and gathering ideas and feedback for future initiatives. He spent much of the rest of his time as czar working to foster cooperation between agencies with related missions but not otherwise directly linked in any organizational scheme. As stimulus money was spent and the nation gradually moved toward austerity and sequester, funding and support for urban affairs programs within the administration waned. By May 2010, Carrión had left the Office of Urban Affairs, decamping initially Page 19 → for a midlevel post in the Department of Housing and Urban Development before leaving the administration entirely in early 2012. Investigations into alleged acts of corruption during his time as Bronx borough president dogged him in his stint as urban affairs czar, notably undermining his ability to effectively lead the office, as did internal White House concerns about his ability to “manage relationships” with other important administration officials.39 Finally, the administration’s own downplaying of urban issues after its early postinauguration burst of announcements, along with disputes over whether Carrión was truly the leader of the White House’s urban affairs initiatives or actually subordinate to others, such as key Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, perhaps played the greatest role in weakening the Office of Urban Affairs. That possibility is underscored by the fact that the White House did not replace Carrión after his resignation.40 Of the three examples discussed here, Carrión’s czardom was the least successful across both dimensions. Rather than provide the president with a source of bragging points and political capital, Carrión became a political problem to be managed and an ineffective manager. Furthermore, by the time he departed for Housing and Urban Development, the administration’s ability to and interest in advancing major urban policy reform had dwindled, with few successes worth mentioning once the initial stimulus funds ran out. Although Carrión cannot be blamed for the latter, he certainly cannot be viewed as a successful czar either in terms of his coordination or as a public
relations boost. Indeed, the administration’s pivot away from urban policies as Carrión departed provides a telling example regarding the power of structural conditions: a growing emphasis on austerity in light of the 2008 economic collapse and rising concerns about federal spending minimized the likelihood that any future urban affairs agenda would gain traction, and the administration’s commitment to health care reform crowded out action on any other domestic policy, a development that effectively ended chances not only for urban policy but also for immigration reform and legislation on climate change.
Conclusion At first glance, the three examples provided above seem to have little in common. Each of these so-called czars faced different political contexts, different kinds of policy problems of varying scope, and different experiences and performance outputs. The central commonality, however, goes back to our definition of czar: an administration official tasked with coordinating Page 20 → a particular policy area, typically one related to a new policy problem or priority that an administration is intent on solving with the full force of the federal government—or at least appearing to do so. Koskinen, Powell, and Carrión were tasked with coordinating the government’s response to problems that for one reason or another had vaulted to the top of an administration’s agenda; Koskinen and Y2K because the date changeover had become a looming concern for both the public and private sectors, Powell because of the need for the government to respond to a natural disaster of epic proportions (especially after its immediate response had been found so lacking), and Carrión because the combination of President Obama’s own background and interest in urban policy and the devastating effects the economic crash of 2008 had on the nation’s population centers made for an ideal opportunity to take action. In the rearview mirror of history, these individuals garnered varying levels of success. Y2K did not wreak social and economic havoc as many feared, and Koskinen’s team received wide accolades for its role leading up to the changeover. The Gulf Coast gradually began its recovery, and Powell was widely regarded as a helpful figure in keeping resources coming, even as he often served as punching bag for a public demanding greater administrative responsiveness and performance. And Carrión’s czardom never quite got off the ground, a function of changing economic realities and the administration’s shifting priorities along with nagging personal problems and internal White House strife and disorganization. Chapter 2 shows how the experiences of these three individuals—and the institutions that they led—were not idiosyncratic episodes but rather a few examples of a systematic change that has occurred in the American presidency. This change is related to a growing gap between what Americans expect their presidents to accomplish and what presidents can do in light of the structural constraints on the office.
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CHAPTER 2 Why Czars? A Theoretical Explanation for the Rise of Presidential Policy Czars Your responsibilities have increased over time, the demands of the office too have increased, as have the expectations placed upon the president. But the Constitution has not really changed, the powers that constitutionally inhere to the office have not changed. How can you be expected to do so much more with the same amount of power? How can you bridge the expectation-resource gap that plagues the modern presidency? Michael A. Genovese, Memo to a New President1 With all the controversy the usage of policy czars seems to bring presidents, one might wonder: Why do presidents continue to use them? Would they not save themselves a headache or thirty-two2 if they simply used staff in a more orthodox manner? Certainly they would, if it was not for one simple explanation: presidents use czars, to the extent they do, because they are needed. This need has been born out of the gap between increases in public expectations for executive leadership and the limits inherent in our constitutional system of separated powers and shared responsibilities. As William Howell notes when discussing the role czars played in Barack Obama’s early administration, Faced with lofty public expectations to achieve policy goals, an inefficient bureaucracy that did not [necessarily] share his goals, and a constitutional solution to the bureaucratic problem that promised to be neither efficient nor politically expedient, Obama did what many presidents before him had done: he sidestepped the bureaucracy and the Senate and appointed czars.3 Page 22 → This chapter examines the historical context that helps explain why presidents possess this particular need. As increased expectations for presidential leadership have led to an ever thickening presidential branch,4 presidents have turned to czars for help in coordinating policy action on important issues where strong presidential performance is key.
Dramatic Expectations for Presidential Leadership A question often raised—especially every four years as the nation formally weighs in on the Oval Office’s next occupant—concerns what Americans expect from their presidents. Considering what scholars have learned about the answer to that question, however, a better question may be what Americans do not expect from their presidents. As James David Barber notes, “Besides the power mix in Washington, the President has to deal with a national climate of expectations, the predominant needs thrust up to him by the people.”5 Moreover, these expectations—which Theodore Lowi refers to as a burden—have grown at a faster rate than has the capacity of the modern American government to meet them, even with its increasing emphasis on president-centric rule.6 In more theatrical verse, Ray Price, an aide to Richard Nixon during his 1968 presidential campaign, informed the eventual thirty-seventh president, People identify with a President in a way they do no other public figure. Potential presidents are measured against an ideal that’s a combination of leading man, God, father, hero, pope, king, with maybe just a touch of the avenging Furies thrown in. They want him to be larger than life, a living legend, and yet quintessentially human; someone to be held up to their children as a model; someone to be cherished by themselves as a revered member of the family, in somewhat the same way in
which peasant families pray to the icon in the corner. Reverence goes where power is.7
Michael Genovese confirms and extends this idea, noting that citizens expect great things from their presidents, including “the wealth of the economy, world peace, the overall state of the nation, and even the weather (global warming).”8 Genovese later adds to this list effectiveness, toughness, skill, authority, leadership, agenda setting, and administrative abilities.9 Empirical documentation supports these claims. For example, George Edwards and Stephen Wayne show that prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration, significant Page 23 → percentages of Americans expected him to satisfy a wide range of tasks, including working effectively with Congress (89 percent), managing the executive branch wisely (84 percent), and fulfilling the proper role of the United States in world affairs (80 percent).10 These numbers were comparable to (and in some cases up from) the expectations preceding George W. Bush’s inauguration in January 2001, when 81 percent of Americans felt Bush would set a good moral example for the nation, 78 percent felt he would use military force wisely, 74 percent expected him to work well with Congress, and 72 percent anticipated proper fulfillment of the U.S. role in world affairs, all of which are clearly widespread assumptions of success and competence.11 These numbers resemble expectations of other recent presidents. In The Public Presidency, for example, George Edwards reports public opinion data that demonstrate sizable majorities expected both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan to reduce unemployment and inflation, increase government efficiency while reducing its cost, and deal effectively with foreign policy while strengthening the national defense.12 Sources of Presidential Expectations Presidential expectations have not always been so high, of course, or so specific. Richard Waterman, Robert Wright, and Gilbert St. Clair discuss how expectations have evolved from the earliest days of the republic through the dawn of the new millennium.13 In their view, the earliest American presidents were not expected “to be (1) politically ambitious, (2) to actively promote a legislative agenda, or (3) to speak or campaign publicly, in other words, to be particularly active in the governmental process.”14 Instead, beyond occasional engagement in making foreign policy, most nineteenth-century presidents rarely attempted to actively lead the governing process; instead, they largely adhered to national custom and disavowed political ambition, eschewed public leadership campaigns, and deferred to Congress on most matters of policy.15 This approach to policy responsibility and leadership began to change, however, as the nation entered the twentieth century amid growing trends of industrialization, urbanization, technological proliferation, and an everlarger role in global politics—a development Bert Rockman terms the “expansion of the public space.”16 These new realities called for energetic national leadership, and the vague and elastic contours of Article II of the U.S. Constitution provided a source of new federal authority for those executives seeking it. From Theodore Roosevelt’s muscular embrace of executive power Page 24 → to the rise of World War I and Woodrow Wilson’s embrace of internationalism, presidents during the opening decades of the new century gradually answered the call for stronger leadership, in turn raising expectations for future presidential performance as the challenges facing the nation—and its leadership—grew in both scope and severity.17 Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, however, cemented the notion among members of the public that the president held the helm of the ship of state. During these years, Roosevelt’s leadership helped the nation emerge from the depths of the Great Depression to wage and—under his successor, Harry S. Truman—ultimately win World War II and take its place as a global hegemon with its powerful economy, vaunted military, and growing global reach. Over the ensuing decades, Roosevelt’s legacy would yield unprecedented expectations for presidential leadership as chief executives were assigned the tasks of managing the economy, ensuring employment, keeping the peace while pressing the nation’s agenda abroad, and taking care of society’s needs at home.18 Roosevelt’s activist leadership, though controversial at the time, eventually primed the public to expect future presidents—all of them—to be extraordinary, a development referenced in the scholarly texts as alternately the “heroic” or “Superman” presidencies.19 Of course, not all presidents can be heroes, fewer still Supermen, in part as a result of human fallibility. However, a great deal of the unmet public expectations can also be explained by the roadblocks and constraints with which modern American presidents must contend. As the second half of the twentieth century progressed, notions of
presidential heroism certainly diminished, and by the time the nation made it past the trauma of the Vietnam War, the debasement of Watergate, and Richard Nixon’s resignation; the futile administrations of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter; and the early partisan polarization and eventual Iran-Contra scandal that tainted Ronald Reagan’s two terms and George H. W. Bush’s single one, an interesting bifurcation in presidential expectations had developed. No longer did Americans expect their presidents to be virtuous individuals; instead, public expectations now centered primarily on chief executives being strong leaders. This persistent insistence on strong leadership stems from several causes, among them presidential prominence in the public discourse and civic culture, the socialization American youth experience when they learn about history through presidential eras, and implicit teachings that presidents are responsible for American freedom and prosperity.20 An additional source of high expectations is the American tendency to personalize politics and public policy, which often results in presidents receiving undue credit when times are good as well as bearing a disproportionate share of the blame when they are not.21 Page 25 → In The Personal President, Theodore Lowi identifies the root of this personalization in the rise of the administrative state in the mid-twentieth century and the considerable transfer of authority to the executive branch in subsequent decades. That, combined with cultural forces that drive Americans to identify with their presidents, has yielded not only these incredible expectations but also an entirely new version of the executive institution: the personal presidency, one where power has been given and results are assumed to be in the offing.22 The personal presidency provides the heart of an altered national system that Lowi terms a plebiscitary republic (a clear and acknowledged reference to ancient Roman practice) in which citizens weigh in not on a problematic issue but the selection of the individual who will oversee its solution from the Oval Office.23 Of course, presidents are hardly blameless with regard to this exaggerated, personalized culpability for policy performance; rather, they often ask for it directly. Modern presidential campaigns are often crusades of promise making where candidates (and sometimes incumbents) offer the implausible for a chance to win the office—one of the underlying paradoxes of the American presidency outlined by Thomas Cronin.24 Although research suggests that presidents generally strive to keep these promises, they do not always succeed, and recent presidents have had a particularly difficult time complementing campaign words with postelection deeds.25 Impediments to Meeting Expectations The American public clearly expects a lot from the presidents it selects, but what makes these expectations so difficult to meet, these campaign promises so impossible to keep once in office? Unfortunately for those politicians successful enough to win the nation’s highest office, satisfying those expectations requires hurdling obstacles of extraordinary complexity and durability. Edwards notes that a main reason why presidents fail to satisfy public expectations concerns the constraints on presidential power and capacity stemming from inherent characteristics of the American political system.26 Genovese elaborates on this observation when he points out that the presidency is dealt a very weak power hand.27 Skilled presidents may fare better than those less suited to play the hand they are dealt, but all presidents will have difficulty skirting what Genovese calls “a variety of builtin roadblocks [that] create an immunity system from leadership in all but the most extraordinary times.”28 Among these roadblocks, Genovese includes the “antileadership” system of government designed by the Framers of the Constitution—one Page 26 → characterized by institutionalized limited government, the rule of law, separation of powers, and checks and balances, all of which minimize presidential agency—and a political culture torn between worship of heroic leaders and disdain for political leadership otherwise.29 To further understand why the enhanced expectations of presidents are so hard to meet, particular attention must go to the challenges presidents face in the legislative arena. After all, if Congress cannot or will not support a president’s policy agenda, the impetus for administrative management and unilateral expressions of presidential power become all the more relevant for presidential leadership. Matthew Dickinson highlights the various ways legislative inactivity and gridlock have challenged presidential policy aspirations over the past half century.30 For example, in the 1950s, presidential leadership was undercut by a notable lack of party alternatives that made it
difficult to hold either party responsible for enacting (or thwarting) the president’s legislative agenda.31 Responsible party advocates sought changes into the 1980s and 1990s that helped to differentiate the Democratic and Republican Parties and make them more cohesive through party loyalty incentives and more distinct party platforms. But rather than producing more responsible and flourishing parties, these efforts have made the legislative arena a far more contentious place in which presidents pursue their policy goals. In fact, the legislative process has been stifled in an increasingly partisan, polarized environment, largely and often exacerbated by a simultaneous expansion in media entities catering to ratings-driven coverage that highlights partisan differences and sensationalized controversy over political compromise and substantive policy discussions. Such developments have led presidents to prioritize their policy needs above efforts to legislate in a bipartisan fashion, a practice pragmatic if also often unavailing. Not surprisingly, presidents have also sought more unilateral, ad hoc ways to meet their growing expectations while their struggle to cope with the obstacles they face has highlighted a notable deficiency in presidential performance capacity.
The Expectations Gap The overwhelming dissonance between what Americans expect from their presidents and what both the public and the constitutional system allow presidents to accomplish has been around long enough that the phenomenon has received its own academic term: the expectations gap. This thesis holds that a gap exists between what the public expects of presidents and what those presidents can actually accomplish.32 Scholars of the presidency Page 27 → have referenced this gap in the academic literature for decades, including mentions by some of the leading scholars of presidential power.33 For example, in the 1990 preface to the revised and updated edition of his classic tome, Presidential Power, Richard Neustadt referred to the continuing presence of the expectations gap over the many years of his study of the institution: “Weakness is still what I see: weakness in the sense of a great gap between what is expected of a man (or someday woman) and assured capacity to see it through.”34 Further, Louis Brownlow—not only the scholar best positioned to comment on the expectations gap but also the one arguably most responsible for the institutional foundation on which modern presidents have based their ever-enlarging administrative efforts—critically laments the imbalance between what presidents can do and what they are expected to do: We have not put the President into this job as a top manager for the sake of giving him power over the largest and most complex machine in the world, or for the sake of giving someone we like and admire an opportunity to exhibit his skill of manipulation. But we have decided in the Constitution and the laws, in our customs and traditions, that one man and one alone may be top manager (just as we have decided that in war one man and one alone may be top commander) because that is the only way we can get results. We may not yet be willing to equip him properly for this job; we may not yet be willing to give him authority commensurate with his responsibilities for this task; but nevertheless we expect him to accomplish it.35 Although a great deal of the scholarship that references presidential expectations has simply mentioned and briefly described the existence of the expectations gap, some important studies have empirically documented it and its consequences. For example, Edwards has shown the extent to which the public holds unrealistic expectations for presidential leadership,36 while others have demonstrated how this gap affects presidents’ standing with the public. James Stimson, for example, shows how the expectations gap explains a pattern of declining approval over time within several individual administrations,37 while Arvind Raichur and Richard Waterman document similar trends as well as broader patterns across different presidencies.38 Similarly, Waterman, Hank Jenkins-Smith, and Carol Silva show that the expectations gap affects presidential approval and incumbent support in reelection bids.39 This empirical research has provided evidence to support Brownlow’s argument that “the nation expects more of the President than he can possibly Page 28 → do; more than we give him either the authority or the means to do. Thus, expecting from him the impossible, inevitably we shall be disappointed in his performance.”40 These expectations gap effects are further exacerbated by the chronic and deepening partisan polarization that has characterized American national politics over the past three decades. Alan Abramowitz and Kyle Saunders show that both members of the American public and political elites have demonstrated increased ideological
polarization, resulting in significant divides between liberals and conservatives.41 At the same time, and related to this development, Sean Theriault shows that Democrats and Republicans have grown increasingly consistent within their respective party caucuses as the two parties have differentiated from one another. Theriault shows that between 1973 and 2006, the Senate became 29 percent more polarized and the House of Representatives became 47 percent more polarized, a function of individual members becoming more ideologically driven and of the public selecting increasingly ideological new members to replace more moderate veterans.42 Charles Cameron examines the profound consequences of this pattern of polarization, noting how it affects every aspect of not only executive-legislative relations but also the way the presidency as an institution functions. The result is a new norm for presidential leadership in which the prospects for presidential greatness are even more remote while the likelihood for scandal, delayed nominations, and combat with Congress over not just policy substance but also bureaucratic delegation and agency design grows. Cameron’s predictions square with subsequent presidential experience in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Numerous volumes—particularly George Edwards and Desmond King’s The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush—discuss the way polarization shaped and was shaped by the Bush years, and similar patterns have continued into the Obama era.43 For example, polling by the Gallup organization showed Obama to have the most polarized approval ratings of any first-year president, with an incredible 65 percent gap between Democrats’ (88 percent) and Republicans’ (23 percent) assessment of his early job performance.44 Such data prompted journalist Dan Balz to wonder in the Washington Post how the candidate billed as postpartisan, the individual who had so many people thinking that “the country had turned a corner after years of bitter partisanship,” could have created such polarization. Balz answers his own question, citing contemporary political science scholarship that underlines how constraining and increasingly manifest partisan divisions have grown to be, both within the public and with respect to presidential-congressional relations.45 Page 29 → Presidents, astute political actors that they are, understand this situation, but rather than content themselves with the awareness that their efforts are never likely to match completely what the public expects of them, they have continually and increasingly demonstrated creativity and persistence in finding new avenues for leadership. This is particularly the case with the way that presidents—often with the cooperation or at least tacit consent of Congress—have enlarged and reorganized the administrative apparatus that supports their office since the 1930s. Although such institutional growth and reorganization initially focused on generally easing administrative tasks and responsibilities, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his successors further sought to concentrate their policy power and activities around the White House whenever possible. Torn between high public expectations for policy performance and a limited amount of formal authority within a fragmented and fractious political system, presidential efforts to centralize and control the policymaking process represents an intuitive and institutionally rational—though not always effective—approach to satisfying the call for greater leadership.46
The Rise of the Administrative Presidency Prior to the Black Tuesday stock market collapse on October 29, 1929, and the decadelong economic depression that followed, the institution of the presidency was not very expansive. For example, in the nine years preceding Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1933 inauguration, the total number of executive staff ranged between 109 and 141 individuals.47 Before that, administrative support was even more difficult to come by. For example, Cronin notes that George Washington hired his nephew as his only full-time aide and paid his salary out of his own pocket. Not until 1857 did Congress officially fund a presidential clerk, and well into the twentieth century, presidents were fulfilling tasks unimaginable today. For example, Abraham Lincoln often opened and answered his daily mail, while Grover Cleveland answered the White House telephone himself and Woodrow Wilson typed his own speeches.48 By Truman’s final year in office, however, that number had increased tenfold, with 1,434 staffers populating nine separate executive office units (where previously there had been only one).49 This growth reflected the federal government’s incredible expansion as it sought to combat the extraordinary challenges of the Great Depression
and later World War II. Moreover, this major explosion of personnel also reflected the needs of the president as chief administrator, overseeing and guiding the executive branch in its Page 30 → unprecedented efforts. As the nation’s problems grew, more was expected of the president, but the institution itself did not possess the organizational capacity to handle the added strain. The personnel allotted to the White House was insufficient to the task of devising, implementing, and managing the kinds of solutions and programs the situation demanded. Prior to the emergencies of the 1930s, as Stephen Hess notes, most presidents could not be said to run or actively manage the executive branch from the White House.50 Instead, the White House staff served the president’s personal needs, operating at first for Franklin Delano Roosevelt much as it did for his predecessors, who had far less need of energetic support. Roosevelt soon realized the limitations of his office as well as his need to extend them and urgently called for more support.51 Perhaps his most important effort in this respect was to establish the Committee on Administrative Management. Brownlow and the Creation of the Executive Office of the Presidency “The president needs help.” Such began perhaps the most important document written about the institution of the American presidency in the twentieth century, at least insofar as how the institution would come to be configured and endlessly reconfigured. Authored by the Committee on Administrative Management, which was chaired by public administration scholar Louis Brownlow and popularly known as the Brownlow Committee, the Brownlow Report advocated sweeping changes to the institutional dimensions of the presidency. Many of these changes were subsequently, though not immediately, implemented, whether by congressional action or executive order, and the organizational face of the chief executive was forever changed. The president now had a mechanism through which to seek increased advisory and implementation capacity, and Roosevelt and his successors used that mechanism. The primary influence of the Brownlow Report was the subsequent creation of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in 1939. The EOP initially consisted of five main units—the White House Office (WHO), the Bureau of the Budget, the Natural Resources and Planning Board, the Office of Government Reports, and the Liaison Office for Personnel Management.52 Since then, the EOP has expanded to eleven offices and several supplemental units. The EOP’s main goal was to provide the president a way of overseeing policymaking by the executive departments and agencies. In reality, however, the EOP has served as a springboard for the president to take on greater responsibility and involvement in leading the policymaking process. Soon after the EOP’s creation, Roosevelt added six key administrative Page 31 → aides to work behind the scenes, often giving them overlapping assignments as a way of increasing intrastaff competition to help maximize the quality of information garnered and influence exerted.53 After Truman succeeded Roosevelt and as the nation emerged from World War II, the institutional dimensions of the presidency continued to receive strategic consideration from presidents now attempting to cope with a paradigm shift in what the nation expected from them. Two of the most important ways in which presidents strategically pursued administrative authority over policy formulation and management came in the form of centralization and politicization.
Centralization, Politicization, and the Thickening of the Presidential Branch The turns to centralization and politicization were direct consequences of the growing expectations gap. Observing that expectations for presidents’ leadership far outstrip their capacity for performance, Terry Moe argues that presidents possess the incentive to structure their administrations in ways that maximize their control over the bureaucracy and further enhance their policymaking effectiveness.54 In doing so, presidents can develop and seek out their policy goals in a way that satisfies their personal preferences by relying primarily on the responsive competence of their loyal political staff—including policy czars—rather than the advice of agency actors whose ties and preferences likely lie closer to the mission of the bureaucratic entities they serve.55 Moe further argues that nearly all agencies “impinge in one way or another on larger presidential responsibilities—for the budget, for the economy, for national defense—and presidents must have the capacity to direct and constrain
agency behavior in basic respects if these larger responsibilities are to be handled successfully.”56 Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s budget director, Harold Smith, expressed a similar sentiment in 1946 when he argued, “To help [the president] work out the program of the Government [it is] absolutely necessary to have a separate staff operating in a detached, objective atmosphere to supply him with information and to check all information that came in. [The president] must be so well-equipped that [he] can direct the heads of departments and say, ‘here’s what I want done and here’s what I do not want done.’”57 Thus, whenever beneficial, presidential effort is channeled into areas allowing for the greatest flexibility and leads to centralization and politicization efforts, as they generate the kind of opportunities most like what presidents need.58 Before going further, these concepts, which are complementary yet conceptually Page 32 → distinct, merit further definition.59 Centralization occurs when administrative functions shift from the wider executive bureaucracy to the EOP and, in particular, the WHO.60 Research by Andrew Rudalevige links centralization to the expectations gap, noting that presidents attempt to build and shape what is within their grasp, particularly the executive offices and the White House.61 Politicization, conversely, refers to the elevation of political and ideological qualities above the desire for neutral competence and frequently comes in the form of presidents replacing career bureaucrats with loyal appointees or even layering political appointees over career civil service positions already in existence.62 For decades, the result of this centralization and politicization was an ever-expanding institution that increased the amount of work the presidency produced while creating an ever-more complex management problem. However, this expansion eventually slowed and to some extent reversed course following the controversial actions of some of Richard Nixon’s staff members. Indeed, after Nixon, setting goals to reduce the size of the president’s staff became a predictable presidential trend, with Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton all promising to do so.63 Even so, the managerial requirements continued expanding and with them the organizational girth of the presidency. According to George Krause, the presidency grew eightfold between 1939 and 1997.64 These figures indicate an overall growth of the branch that is staggering as well as confirm historical narratives of pre- and postWatergate staffing dynamics. Further, this expansion hindered presidential leadership,65 supporting the conclusion that the president’s problem is one of too much institutional growth, which by the latter years of the twentieth century had resulted in sclerotic policy performance and effectiveness.66 Coordination is key here, for as the number of individuals, agencies, and programs to manage grows, presidents face increasing difficulty in efficiently and effectively mustering their administrative troops. Furthermore, this is as true today as it was in 1975, when Cronin took literary license with Louis Brownlow’s classic phrase, pithily repurposing it as, “Today, the president needs help merely to manage his help.”67
Czars and Bureaucratic Power: A Tool for a Mounting Managerial Challenge In his classic work, Politics, Position, and Power: The Dynamics of Federal Organization, Harold Seidman notes how the organization of the government’s administrative arm—its organizational structure, staff, processes, and Page 33 → procedures—plays a key role in determining how political power and influence are distributed among executive branch bureaucracies.68 Other scholars, including Richard Neustadt, Graham Allison, and James Q. Wilson, as well as political powerhouses such as Henry Kissinger have similarly attested to the fact that how bureaucratic politics plays out within the executive branch greatly affects the policy process.69 As policymaking efforts become increasingly centralized under the president’s direct control and as executive branch agencies are steadily populated by political appointees responsive to presidential preferences through the practice of politicization, presidents increasingly have the tools to engage in the policymaking process but find them scattered across numerous bureaucratic entities, occasionally working at cross-purposes from their peers in different yet functionally aligned agencies with overlapping jurisdictions, vague lines of authority, and duplicated resources. Charles Cameron comments on the problem of having a large pool of “true believers” available to serve the president, referencing in particular the “Oliver North/Gordon Liddy problem”—“rogue operations trying to circumvent congressional strictures, loopy memos, and vindictive actions directed at ‘enemies’ without and within.”70 Managing the problems that arise not only when policy issues touch a variety of agencies with crosscutting jurisdictions but also when lower-level political ambitions threaten efficient progress is a further problem for which presidents have sought a czar’s coordinative assistance.
Ironically, the scattering and overlapping of resources and personnel that has occurred across agencies in response to calls for policy action has created its own set of challenges for presidents and civil servants alike. Such developments can make the policy process less efficient and effective, at times wasteful in terms of resource allocation, and potentially intractable in terms of the turf wars created across entities claiming authority over the process. Nevertheless, external influences on Congress and the president from the public and organized interests continually create demands that lead to “eccentric” administrative and regulatory practices, which Seidman and others recognize as nevertheless politically desirable.71 The president and various legislative elements of influence (that is, key committees, intra- and/or interchamber politics, and so forth) often find themselves competing for jurisdiction over the organizational makeup of the executive branch while functioning as—to use John Kingdon’s term—“policy communities” looking to shape the public agenda in keeping with certain specialized interests.72 The more fragmented the environment, with multiple agencies overseeing a policy issue, the more difficult the task of seeing through a particular program or proposal.73 Once the president and the legislature have responded to Page 34 → demands by creating various bureaucratic avenues for solving broad policy problems, the question becomes how presidents can best manage and utilize a mounting number of executive branch personnel to seek out their policy and political goals. Czar Expertise and Executive-Bureaucratic Collaboration Whether presidential initiatives sink or swim may largely depend on what agency (or agencies) they are assigned to, how relevant they are to an agency’s mission, and how well political action is coordinated among the various organizational entities (including legislative oversight elements) that have a say in the matter.74 Otherwise, attempts to maximize effectiveness and efficiency in the administrative arm of the government may routinely fail because the White House’s real objectives have little to do with promoting efficiency and improving management.75 However, such a fate need not be commonplace for presidents seeking to overcome the expectations gap seen in contemporary executive leadership. This is where presidential employment of czars as a policy coordinative tool can be especially useful, as bureaucratic entities are less likely to neglect programs and policies if a central czar figure is charged with overseeing their development and implementation. Indeed, numerous benefits may arise from having a key presidential middleman striving to coordinate agency responsiveness amid the limits of information asymmetry within the broader principal-agent framework.76 In line with the work of Karen Hult and Charles Walcott,77 we view the American presidency as a bureaucracy that itself is composed of a series of smaller bureaucracies, so that presidential success depends heavily on how well such entities and the institution as a whole are managed. The functioning of the White House relies on the bureaucratization of specific important tasks—tasks that presidential czars can oversee in their attempts to influence the policy process and help improve overall executive performance. Without guidance from above, competing values among bureaucratic entities in a growing and increasingly fragmented environment can lead to turf wars and gridlock that heavily impede the policy process and thus stymie executive performance. However, competing values are often based not on deep-rooted differences or rivalries between bureaucratic agencies but rather on differences in areas of expertise and agency missions that follow varying criteria for achieving effectiveness in organizational and policymaking performance78—differences that nonetheless hold potential for overlap and common ground if approached in a constructive and collaborative Page 35 → manner. Left on their own, agencies with jurisdictional overlap are more likely to view a policy need primarily through their own organizational missions and position themselves in a defensive mode when interacting with their peer entities—arguing over who has primary jurisdiction, whose mission is more relevant, and whose expertise is more apt for addressing the policy issue at hand. As such, bureaucratic entities may benefit from having a guiding figure to help resolve such differences and create pathways toward a common goal. Ideally, while presidents themselves can at times serve as focal, guiding figures working closely with key bureaucratic personnel, the increasingly overwhelming size and scope of the bureaucracy as well as the number of policy challenges faced in modern times often necessitates that presidential czars be called on for such purposes. Though certainly a tall order, czars in their coordinating leadership role are in a position to focus on the big picture to figure out how best to bring all relevant parties in line and collaborate in a way that maximizes agency values and expertise in the most effective and efficient manner for moving the president’s policy agenda forward.
In seeking personnel for czar positions, presidents should select individuals who have an appropriate level of expertise and background helpful for understanding and tackling the policy challenge to which they are assigned. Too often, presidential attempts to centralize and politicize the policymaking process fail because the responsive competence of loyal appointees proves misguided in the absence of substantive know-how, perhaps leading presidents down their preferred ideological route but at the cost of understanding and incorporating the institutional knowledge and expertise necessary for effectively and successfully navigating the policy process.79 Furthermore, czars who lack the right credentials for the job may have a hard time convincing the key constituencies involved to follow their lead and, vulnerable to the pitfalls of information asymmetry, will likely fall short in properly directing and assessing the work of bureaucratic personnel. In other words, czars with the proper expertise are best equipped to generate and use the bureaucratic resources necessary to address their policy challenges. To make the best use of expertise, czars (and presidents) can also benefit greatly from building an environment of positive collaboration in which all of the relevant constituencies feel they have input in the process and are encouraged to constructively engage with their peers in developing policy solutions.80 To help this process along, czars are keen to seek out a policy initiative that not only is politically aligned with the president’s ideological goals but also hinges on substantive policy solutions for effectively addressing an important societal need. Doing so may lend czars greater credibility Page 36 → in the eyes of the agency bureaucrats with whom they collaborate and, with everyone working toward a sound, common goal, should likewise engender the support and expertise they seek from such personnel in a manner that maximizes overlapping values and input across key constituencies. Thus, in principle, particularly competent czars with relevant experience and strong leadership and outreach skills can help presidents navigate the nuances of the federal bureaucracy and resolve jurisdictional turf battles that might otherwise lead to policy stalemate. But how much do we know about the coordinating role czars have thus far historically played in attempting to mediate such administrative challenges?
Coordinating the Presidency: The Role of the Czars Presidential efforts to increase the White House’s policy leadership capacity via centralization and politicization created an enormous managerial burden, and czars have frequently been asked to help shoulder it. Consensus, if not approval, concerning the role of czars as coordinators extends across numerous groups, from scholars of politics and the law to government servants, including both former czars and presidents themselves. James Pfiffner testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security that presidents use czars to coordinate policymaking across different groups.81 In a statement before the same hearing, Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania as well as George W. Bush’s Homeland Security czar, referred to his role in coordinating authority as well as to the political and legal questions concerning his efforts beyond that role.82 White House messages about czars also emphasize coordination. For example, former Obama administration communications director Anita Dunn refuted attacks by administration critics by highlighting czars’ coordinator role.83 Presidents themselves have also focused on coordination when communicating about czars. For example, explaining his veto of the Violent Crime and Drug Enforcement Improvements Act of 1982, which would have created a federal drug czar, Reagan noted that the measure sought to promote coordination of national drug policy.84 A few years later, when the position was finally created via the Anti–Drug Abuse Act of 1988, George H. W. Bush described William Bennett, the first man to occupy the office, as having “a big assignment—a big one. And a lot of it is coordinative.”85 Bush would go on to reaffirm this emphasis on coordination throughout 1989, both in prepared remarks and during exchanges with the press.86 Every subsequent administration has reiterated this emphasis on coordination. Page 37 → Press secretary Dee Dee Myers specifically noted the coordination responsibilities of the drug czar when she discussed President Clinton’s decision to elevate the drug czar to cabinet status.87 George W. Bush interrupted a reporter who asked whether his administration would continue Clinton’s practice of employing an AIDS czar, saying, “Well, there’s going to be a focus on AIDS, and people can apply any title they want. But there’s going to be a person in my office who has got the responsibility of coordinating the AIDS policy throughout the Federal Government.”88 Similarly, when Juan Carlos López of CNN en Español asked Obama about the role his newly named border czar would play, the
president responded, Well, the goal of the border czar is to help coordinate all the various agencies that fall under the Department of Homeland Security and—so that we are confident that the border patrols are working effectively with [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], working effectively with our law enforcement agencies. So he’s really a coordinator that can be responsible to Secretary [of Homeland Security Janet] Napolitano and, ultimately directly accountable to me.89
Where Politics and Policy Collide The continuing expansion of the size and scope of the presidential branch has clearly provided presidents with incentive to seek help coordinating policy efforts. Czars have been an important managerial tool for bringing order and progress to this chaos, particularly with respect to policy problems that have been identified by administrations as ripe for active engagement. To suggest that this is the only function that czars have served for presidents or the only manner in which they have been politically influential, however, would be inaccurate, incomplete, and naive. Indeed, one of the added political bonuses often attributed to czars is the way they can help presidents signal a high-profile commitment to salient policy issues. Former presidential adviser and public administration scholar Bradley Patterson argues that appointing a czar is one way a president can begin important new initiatives and dramatize the extent of his or her commitment to them in a timely manner.90 Legal scholar Aaron Saiger concurs, noting that the appointment of a czar provides a conventional way of suggesting that a president is determined to accomplish something “difficult, important, and substantive.”91 Various other sources refer to czars as a way for presidents “to show the seriousness of their effort to address a problem Page 38 → and their expectations of those they have asked to solve it,”92 as a staffing statement that “conveys the flavor of action,”93 and generally as a symbol of presidential priorities.94 When presidential policy decisions bring with them potential political benefit, informed onlookers’ expressions of skepticism often follow. The utilization of policy czars is no exception. Some scholars, such as Christopher Foreman, seem to view czars as distracting decoys rather than objective indicators of presidential priorities: “Presidential czars are often mainly devices for deflecting political heat, rather than making substantive progress.”95 Saiger, too, suggests that “like the stereotypical blue-ribbon presidential commission, a czardom can be an exercise in public relations. . . . Indeed, Potemkin czars are attractive precisely because czardoms otherwise signal presidential seriousness.”96 Still others view czars as an easy political fix, akin to putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound that probably ought to receive more comprehensive and resource-intensive surgical attention. Some have suggested that administrative responses to overwhelming problems are the easiest and that creating a czar is an inexpensive route that does not require legislative sponsorship or the negotiation of the increasingly thorny thicket that is Senate confirmation.97 Others locate the presidential turn to czars within perceived inattentiveness to good management on the part of the president. For example, Ronald Moe argues that presidents choose to embrace czars as shortcuts that win media approval rather than do the difficult work of reconstructing the presidency’s institutional capacity: “Therefore, among other things, they tend to create ‘czars’ who are deemed, at least initially, to be close to the president and thus can get around the departments and agencies to achieve their policy objectives, many of which are not enumerated in law.”98
Conclusion Regardless of whether one subscribes to the cynical interpretation of czars advanced by Foreman and Saiger or agrees more with our interpretation of the proliferation of czars in recent administrations as objective indicators of presidential (or even national) policy priorities and as acknowledgments of the need for coordinative assistance, the rise of czars in the White House has inarguably resulted from increased pressure on presidential leadership. Further, as the gap has grown between what presidents are expected to do and what the political system and other
governing realities allow presidents to accomplish, presidents have searched for alternative ways to meet expectations. Page 39 → Two of the most vivid administrative alternatives—centralization and politicization—have helped lead to a swollen and decreasingly effective policymaking operation; not surprisingly, presidents have turned to czars as one of the ways of coping with this challenging situation. But what does a czar look like? How does the process work when a need for coordinative support eventually turns into a new White House administrator? And can czars provide their presidents with the support they need? The next five chapters answer these questions and provide added insight into the causes and consequences of presidential utilization of policy czars, examining high-profile examples of czar leadership and politics at work. Beginning with an analysis of the energy czar, Richard Nixon’s answer to a policy coordination problem regarding the government’s response to a series of energy-related problems in the 1970s, we clarify not only why presidents turned to czars in key instances but what those czars did during their tenures and what the administrations did to either empower these czars or undermine the likelihood that they would accomplish their missions. Key recurring factors that prove enormously important include the level of institutionalization a czar’s office achieves over time and the dynamics of presidential commitment to the policy problems the czars were charged with managing, along with the czars’ own skills, backgrounds, and preferences. Page 40 →
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CHAPTER 3 The Gradual Institutionalization of America’s Energy Policy The Case of the Energy Czar Ask most Americans what they recall about life in the 1970s, and the response is likely antiwar protests, political scandals, inflation, a stagnant economy, and waiting in long lines for gasoline. As the nation emerged from World War II with the globe’s most powerful economy, energy consumption began to increase dramatically, something that attentive observers might have noticed but that generated few concerns since the nation had long provided for its own energy needs. Indeed, until the late 1940s, the United States was a net exporter of oil. The reliance on foreign oil developed slowly over the next two decades as oil consumption ballooned, without clear consequence, from 5.8 billion barrels in 1949 to 16.4 billion barrels in 1971. In the 1970s, however, the nation was forced to reckon with the consequences of its massive—and growing—energy appetite. Moreover, because of the political volatility of the Middle East, when that reckoning arrived, it came in the form of a crisis that reverberated throughout the rest of the decade. To cope with the problem, President Richard Nixon’s administration quickly developed a series of policy responses ranging from short-term to permanent. To manage the formulation of these policies and the coordination of their implementation, Nixon relied on a series of administration officials—as did his successors, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter—that fit the bill of what we have previously identified as a czar (see table 3.1). This chapter analyzes the case of the energy czar in the 1970s. Page 42 →
An Acute Need for Executive Action and Coordination Prior to the Nixon administration’s efforts, little had ever been done to assemble a comprehensive national strategy concerning the usage and development of natural resources. To the extent that a national energy policy existed, it generally focused on oil and gas and was primarily designed to achieve two goals: (1) more energy at lower prices and (2) the health and wealth of domestic producers,1 the latter accomplished primarily through oil depletion allowances and minimum oil prices.2 Beyond this limited pro-industry approach, the federal government largely stayed out of the energy arena. Between the industry’s powerful lobbying efforts, key champions in Congress, and friends in the major banks, previous presidents had little incentive to commit the “political suicide” that an attempt to “ride herd on the oilmen” would almost inevitably represent.3 As a result, with the exception of Franklin Roosevelt’s unsuccessful attempt to establish a government-industry partnership in the form of a National Petroleum Reserve Company near the end of World War II, few examples of federal action in the area predate Nixon’s efforts.4 Absent strong policy to guide the nation’s response to the 1973 crisis, the administration spent precious time and resources fumbling toward the right type of response and the right form of leadership necessary to coordinate it. Long-standing congressional inaction on the matter was exacerbated during the crisis by Nixon’s increasing political vulnerability as a consequence of the fallout of the Watergate scandal, which would eventually prompt his resignation Page 43 → in the face of certain impeachment. There was no shortage of places to lay blame for the lack of both a unified policy and a bureaucratic mechanism to coordinate what fragmented policies did exist, as an article in a special 1974 issue of Science underscores: “In the public sector, Congress failed long ago in not establishing a national energy policy. The executive branch of the government failed in not focusing on the issue and prodding Congress into action. The Department of the Interior and its Office of Oil and Gas failed in their responsibility to assure adequate oil and gas supplies.”5
Nixon Steps into the Breach The executive branch may have failed to prod Congress but had not been unaware of the need to address the looming energy problem. Although Nixon’s first term had seen positive disposition of a range of proenvironmental legislation, his stance on the matter had gradually shifted to favor a balance between environmental protection and energy security.6 Nixon attended to the matter on the administrative side, too, as he appointed a special assistant on energy policy, commissioned a National Security Council analysis of the consequences of America’s growing reliance on foreign oil, and in August 1970 created a cabinet-level task force on energy.7 In the spring of 1971, Nixon proposed reorganizing the federal government to create three cabinet departments out of the existing seven, with one of those three, the Department of Natural Resources, to manage almost every aspect of federal energy policy. The need for centralized administration was practically self-evident: although the United States devoured one-third of the planet’s energy resources, no single authority coordinated that consumption; instead, jurisdiction over energy matters was spread across more than sixty departments and agencies, which in turn answered to multiple congressional committees.8 Nevertheless, Congress ignored Nixon’s plan for two years, its resistance driven by ongoing battles with the administration over fiscal policy (most notably in his impoundment of nine billion dollars in allocated funds), war powers (particularly surrounding Nixon’s expansion of bombing and mining in Vietnam without congressional consultation), executive privilege, and government reorganization.9 In May 1971, however, Congress did authorize a two-year study of the nation’s fuel and energy policies,10 and the next month, Nixon issued a “clean energy” message to Congress, the first such message by any American president.11 Nixon’s June 1971 address was as noteworthy for its lack of precedent as it was for its impact on federal energy policy initiatives. According to I. C. Page 44 → Bupp, the speech set the government’s “frame of reference” for the next several years, sending forth the theme that the nation’s energy supply “was inadequate to the job that would be required of it in the coming years.”12 Nixon himself was aware of the importance of the moment. As he later wrote, By June 4, 1971, our study of the imminent energy problem had evolved into the first Presidential message on energy in our history. In it I urged the continuation of the development of the breeder reactor and committed the administration to the creation of a program for converting coal into clean gaseous fuels and to the acceleration of oil and gas lease sales on the outer continental shelf. I also proposed that all the federal government’s energy resource development programs—some fifteen of them—be brought together under one agency. I said, “This message points the way for America—at considerable cost in money, but an investment that is urgent and, therefore, justified—points the way for finding new sources of energy and, at the same time, clean energy that will not pollute the air, will not pollute the environment.”13 The administration further ramped up efforts concerning energy after the speech with the imposition of oil price controls in August 1971 and the delegation of broad authority over natural resources and energy policy to Earl Butz, one of Nixon’s trio of “supersecretaries.”14 However, Butz’s efforts ultimately proved unequal to the task, a consequence of his age and lack of vitality as well as his limited interest in the issue, and by the end of 1972, the White House remained in need of decisive administrative leadership in the area.15 In January 1973, two Pentagon officials testified before Congress that foreign reliance on oil had become a threat to national security;16 by February, Charles DiBona had taken over the energy portfolio from Butz. In April 1973, with DiBona’s involvement, Nixon delivered another major energy address.17 This time he sent Congress five major new requests concerning energy policy. As Nixon noted in his memoirs, “In the twenty-two months since my first message the worsening energy situation had been almost ignored. On our own, the administration had increased funding for experimental research and development by nearly 50 percent, but legislation was needed to forestall the crunch we saw coming.”18 These initiatives included terminating the existing import quota system, partially decontrolling natural gas prices, intensifying offshore oil and gas exploration, constructing deep-water ports (in order to handle massive oil tankers), and a $130 million increase in energy resource research and development funding.19 Response Page 45 → to the message was mixed, with some
in Congress—most notably, Senator Henry Jackson (D-WA), who had plans to campaign for the presidency in 1976—demanding more ambitious efforts. By June, Nixon had moved toward Jackson’s more vigorous recommendations.20 John A. Love, the First Energy Czar Nixon’s address had also called for robust institutional support to house the nation’s energy policy programs. Specifically, he revised his earlier call for a Department of Natural Resources to instead request a Department of Energy and Natural Resources, which would predominantly focus on energy matters, and proposed an Energy Research and Development Administration, which would focus primarily on nuclear technology.21 As he waited for congressional action on those initiatives, Nixon addressed the growing need for policy coordination by creating via executive order an Energy Policy Office and brought Colorado governor John Love to Washington, D.C., to head it.22 Love’s high-profile addition to the administration captured immediate attention, as media elites and Washingtonians quickly dubbed him the nation’s new energy czar.23 As head of the Energy Policy Office, Love was responsible for formulating and coordinating policies while the administration waited for the creation of a cabinet-level department by Congress. DiBona effectively became his deputy, maintaining a role as liaison between the Energy Policy Office and the Oval Office.24 Soon, however, it became apparent that the former Colorado governor’s orientation toward solving the energy crisis was inconsistent with the beliefs of most of the other members of the Nixon administration. For example, in August 1973, Love authored a memo to the president with his suggestions on price controls; virtually none of these suggestions were ultimately incorporated into the administration’s actions.25 Eventually, with the support of Environmental Protection Agency head Russell Train and deputy treasury secretary William Simon, the administration moved closer toward limited mandatory allocation controls.26 Cleavages within the administration over this battle would only deepen, however, particularly between Love and treasury secretary George Shultz. By fall, the administration saw an utter breakdown in the relationship between the Treasury Department and the energy office.27 Matters took on greater urgency in October 1973 when, in protest of American support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War (October 6–25, 1973), Arab oil producers launched an embargo that would last six months Page 46 → and fundamentally alter U.S. energy policy and politics. Although the administration had detected “distant rumbles” of a potential embargo earlier that spring,28 the nation as a whole was caught by surprise, which led to a stunned call for action. As Douglas Evans notes, In spite of the Nixon Administration’s evident awareness of the scope of the energy problem, the mere proposal of legislation has never been sufficient to enable the Federal Government to chart a radically different course for a national economy as diverse and externally pervasive as that of the United States. There has invariably been the need for circumstances to come together in such a manner that the public can discern that its individual short and long-term interests coincide with the nation’s. Such a conjunction began to emerge in the fall of 1973 in a manner which made every American aware of the energy problem as never before.29 Although the amount of oil then sourced from Arab states represented a relatively limited volume of the nation’s oil needs, prompting some to criticize the subsequent national response as “hysterical,” the pinch was soon felt in homes and workplaces throughout the nation.30 Gas shortages affected many people’s ability to use their personal vehicles as they typically had, while gas lines lengthened, service stations closed on the weekends, agricultural experts publicly fretted about potential slowdowns in food production, and violent strikes developed involving coal miners, truckers, and other professions essential to the transportation of the nation’s remaining energy resources.31 In response to what Nixon later described as “an encounter with the future,”32 energy czar Love convened the Energy Emergency Planning Group, from which he created task forces designed to identify actions the administration could take, in both the near and long term. As proposals—for initiatives such as banning
ornamental commercial lighting and prohibiting Sunday gasoline sales—flooded in, so too did the realization within the administration (and Congress) that dramatic long-term solutions must soon be found.33 In November, Nixon decided to speak to the people and communicate the “stark fact” that the nation was heading into the most acute shortage of energy since World War II.34 At the time, estimates were that energy supplies were going to fall 10 percent short of normal needs.35 In a nationwide broadcast, he announced a range of measures designed to cope with shrinking supply, including a bar on switching fuels from coal to oil, a 10 percent reduction in commercial aircraft fuel consumption, a 15 percent reduction in heating oil, a 7 percent reduction in government energy consumption, Page 47 → a reduction of the highway speed limits to fifty miles per hour, and the hastening of nuclear power plant licensing and construction. He also took the opportunity to urge Congress to speed up passage of legislation relating to the energy problem and requested legislative action on the trans-Alaska pipeline, natural gas production, surface mining standards, and administrative structures designed to implement energy policy.36 Nixon’s main emphasis was on the supply side, as he suggested the United States should produce itself out of the crisis by 1980 through a major national effort, dubbed Project Independence and likened to the Manhattan Project.37 Although critiqued as poorly conceived and “unattainable,” Project Independence would become a major component of the government’s energy strategy beyond Nixon’s eventual resignation.38 William E. Simon, the Second Energy Czar Behind the unified facade of the administration’s proposals, however, tensions simmered within the White House about how to proceed in solving the now highly salient problem. Although Love had been hard at work crafting responses to the crisis in the Office of Energy Policy and with his Energy Emergency Planning Group, Simon began playing an increasingly important role in the matter. As head of the administration’s Oil Policy Committee and the Treasury official most involved in the area of energy, Simon’s thoughts on the issue were at odds with Love’s, and the two perspectives vied for presidential support. Simon ultimately would emerge victorious: in December 1973, Nixon signed an executive order creating the Federal Energy Office (FEO), a new institution within the Executive Office of the President, with Simon in charge.39 The move was designed not only to reinvigorate the administration’s ability to control fallout from the crisis but also to highlight publicly congressional inaction: at that point, Congress had held more than 650 days of hearings on more than a thousand energy-related bills but had little to show for the effort.40 The contrast between Love and Simon could not have been more clear. A Time magazine profile described Love as a “pleasant guy who just doesn’t want to make a decision if he can avoid it,” while Simon was known for decisiveness, a talent for bureaucratic infighting, and a bit of a temper, characteristics that left the piece’s author with the impression that Simon would soon impress on the rest of the government the urgency of confronting the energy crisis.41 As head of the FEO, Simon bore responsibility for coordinating “American Page 48 → efforts to cope with the oil embargo and to allocate precious supplies of crude oil and refined petroleum products” as well as for controlling oil and gasoline prices and serving as the focal point for the continuing federal response to the crisis.42 Although Nixon had wanted Love to stay on in the administration and serve as Simon’s deputy, the former Colorado governor viewed such a transition as a demotion and instead left the administration and public service “in a huff,” along with his deputy, DiBona.43 Other observers viewed Love’s departure as a firing,44 driven by the administration’s displeasure with his advocacy for major gas-rationing programs and other proposals seen as too draconian and politically impossible policy preferences that “ultimately eroded his credibility” with Nixon and Shultz, among others.45 Love would subsequently confirm his fall from Nixon’s orbit, albeit with some sour grapes, in a postresignation statement that spoke of the difficulties he faced in trying to get the president’s attention.46 Simon would face no such trouble in maintaining support from and access to the president. Indeed, Nixon himself asserted Simon’s new authority, if in strange and ill-advised ways. For example, when briefing his cabinet about Simon’s new position, Nixon compared it to Albert Speer’s position as minister of armaments and war production in Nazi Germany, noting that Speer’s power to override the bureaucracy had prevented Germany from being defeated earlier than it was.47 Nixon asserted that Simon possessed “absolute authority” and later celebrated his
swift move to impose a strong hand in the area.48 As Simon would later recollect, “I was quite aware of the tremendous responsibility the president had placed on my shoulders and perfectly understood Nixon’s analogy [to Speer], although the informal title of ‘czar’ and comparison to an instrumental figure in the Third Reich were discomforting to say the least.”49 However, with this authority came significant costs, too. The individual empowered to make decisions on allocation and price controls was also highly sought after by members of Congress eager to hear testimony. Daniel Yergin tells one particularly harrowing tale as an example of the demands placed on Simon: Once, rushing out of a meeting to answer a summons to one such hearing, Simon was rapidly walking backward so that he could finish a conversation with two lieutenant governors. As he backed into his car, he cracked his head, cutting his scalp. Though Simon needed stitches, the committee chairman would not put off the hearing, and thus the energy czar sat through five hours of interrogation, with blood oozing from the gash in his head.50 Page 49 → Spending hours giving testimony while bleeding from a head wound was one thing, but Simon’s family also paid the price for his growing notoriety as the man in charge of the nation’s energy crisis response. His wife, whom the press had dubbed the czarina, faced harassment at service stations to the point that she stopped using charge cards that carried his name, and a wilderness skills instructor ostracized his daughter once he discovered her father’s identity.51 Further, in addition to the routine lampooning faced by public officials with unpopular tasks (he was called the Prince of Darkness and was regularly caricatured in the Doonesbury comic strip),52 Simon also received Secret Service protection after death threats were made against him.53 To satisfy the expectations placed on him and use the authority conveyed by Nixon, Simon assembled a staff of personnel from throughout the executive branch, especially from the Department of the Interior and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Particularly important staff additions included John Sawhill, the associate director of OMB, who would serve as Simon’s deputy, and Frank Zarb, a “wonderful man” who had served as an assistant secretary in the Labor Department and came from OMB’s Energy and Natural Resources desk.54 Simon also retained his position as deputy secretary in the Treasury Department. When he agreed to head the FEO, Simon persuaded the president that without it, Simon (and thus the agency) would drift; he needed his own bureaucratic base, and he knew the Treasury Department well.55 Simon’s first major decision occurred only a week after he became czar when he issued allocation rules in midDecember that severely reduced access to oil (from crude to refined products) and pegged 1974 distribution to 1972 consumption rates. Unsurprisingly, the decision was unpopular, and his office came under attack for both the decision and its unanticipated consequences, which ranged from underallocations and trucker strikes to changing driving patterns and long gas lines.56 When the embargo finally ended, it took the nation significantly longer than expected to return to a functional situation, as government control over both price and quantity had eroded the traditional market forces that would have helped ensure that product arrived where it was needed.57 Simultaneously, Simon embarked on a public relations effort designed to ease public anxiety and “create a climate for rational decision.”58 In January 1974, Simon and secretary of state (and national security adviser) Henry Kissinger held a joint press conference announcing the Washington Energy Conference, an attempt by “consumer nations” to present a united front in the face of the continuing embargo. According to Simon, “At the conference, I attempted to remove some of the terror of the crisis, by analyzing its Page 50 → causes, effects, and remedies and urged the consuming countries to cooperate in the development of new energy sources as well as conservation.”59 The same month, the FEO began a comprehensive study of energy issues to advance Project Independence, even though Simon was increasingly convinced that the president’s goal of energy independence by 1980 was not attainable.60 Indeed, by February 1974, Simon would acknowledge the goal was not realistic and endeavor to redefine self-sufficiency.61 The emphasis on Project Independence was not limited just to research efforts;
administration officials had already begun framing all major energy proposals within the self-sufficiency mission.62 Simon formed task forces charged with investigating how the nation could increase its domestic output, with emphases ranging from doubling coal production and drilling on the outer continental shelf to reducing nuclear plant planning and licensing times and building a second Alaskan pipeline.63 Even with the emphasis on turning ideas into action with all possible haste, the public clamored for relief from the pains of Simon’s allocation rules. By the end of the month, Simon had “lost whatever patience” he had for the rules and decided to reverse course by overallocating oil and gas throughout the nation. Despite the risks involved—exhausting national reserves and creating a potentially larger panic down the road—Simon decided to utilize his unprecedented authority and take the risk.64 In his words, The oil companies were, to say the least, nervous, and there was some question whether I had the authority to change the allocations. Well, as President Nixon had said earlier, I was to have the power of Albert Speer. I used it, in what was probably my most dramatic act as energy czar. The first reaction of the oil executives was to suggest that I’d taken leave of my senses and was behaving like a riverboat gambler. But when I explained what I was up to, they came on board without (much) hesitation.65 The gamble paid off temporarily as public hysteria was stifled and gas lines and fuel hoarding problems shrunk. As Simon later noted, “The clamor from Capitol Hill subsided, and [his wife] Carol was once again willing to show her face at the local gas station.”66
Coordinating Postembargo Energy Policy By the time the potential consequences of this decision might have materialized in the spring, the embargo had ended when seven of the nine Page 51 → participating Arab states agreed to lift it on March 17, 1974. As oil began to circulate throughout the domestic markets, policymakers wrestled with the realizations the crisis had brought: the important connection between the energy supply and economic growth and the national security implications of the country’s growing dependence on foreign oil.67 John Sawhill, the Third Energy Czar A month after the embargo ended, Simon left his FEO perch to become the nation’s sixty-third secretary of the treasury. His deputy, John Sawhill, took his place on April 17. By that point, the FEO had nearly twenty-five hundred employees between its Washington headquarters and ten regional field offices, and in the absence of the preceding crisis to focus its mission, the agency was starting to lurch from objective to objective.68 This drift would be short-lived, however, as the office itself would fundamentally change in May, when Nixon signed into law the Federal Energy Act of 1974; by June, the FEO was subsumed into the newly created Federal Energy Administration (FEA). The former FEO would form the core of the new FEA, along with key offices transferred from the Department of Interior related to petroleum allocation, energy conservation, energy data and analysis, and oil and gas.69 For the first time in the nation’s effort to curb the energy challenge, the leading institution involved had congressional sanction and support; indeed, Sawhill himself received Senate confirmation, and the FEA was an independent agency.70 Despite this more robust level of institutionalization, the FEA was also a time-bound organization. Congress had only provided a two-year life span for the agency, scheduling it to shutter on June 30, 1976 (though it eventually would be reauthorized through the end of 1977).71 Much of the FEA’s work was carryover from the FEO’s mission. In addition to managing fuel allocation and pricing policies, it was also charged with planning significant energy conservation measures and researching options for expanding domestic energy supplies.72 And one of the president’s priorities was for the agency to publish a report on Project Independence, dubbed the Project Independence Blueprint, by fall.73 Leadership tensions were also carried over, though not by design. Though now secretary of the treasury, Simon proved intent on keeping his hand in the energy policy debate, seeking to “put his own stamp on whatever policy proposals
emerged from the [Project Independence] Blueprint.”74 Simon and Sawhill had for months held differing opinions on the nature of the energy crisis and the kinds of actions necessary in response.75 By Page 52 → this point, their core disagreement concerned whether to push to remove the controls on oil prices and allocation, which remained in place largely to curb the behavior of large oil companies.76 Simon, a free-market devotee, felt they should be done away with—a technical possibility as long as Nixon produced a finding that there were no longer any energy shortages and Congress formally agreed—but Sawhill minimized the push for decontrol because of the impossibility of getting Congress to support an increasingly embattled President Nixon.77 In turn, Simon pressed Nixon to create a second energy policy-making group that would parallel the FEA’s mission, and with Nixon’s agreement the new Committee on Energy began preparing a Treasury Department plan concerning oil and gas price decontrol.78 Sawhill’s response was to reform the control policies by suggesting an “entitlement system” that involved distributing allotments of old oil so that old and new could be mixed in a manner designed to equalize average costs for refinery firms large and small.79 Sawhill’s plan found champions in Congress but equally vocal opponents within the administration; along with Simon, Council of Economic Advisers chair Alan Greenspan and transportation secretary Claude Brinegar were particularly against it.80 In November 1974, Sawhill’s entitlement program was finally adopted, but by that point he was no longer head of the FEA and Richard Nixon was no longer president of the United States. Nixon resigned in the face of certain impeachment in August 1974, and for a few months the nation’s energy leadership lurched as events “challenged the very existence of the Federal Energy Administration.”81 Chief among them was new president Gerald Ford’s signing of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. This act created two important new energy-related institutions: the Energy Research and Development Administration, which was charged with managing long-term energy research, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was to regulate the nuclear power industry.82 Ford also created via executive order the Energy Resources Council, which had been authorized by the new law and was to “develop, coordinate, and assure the implementation of Federal energy policy” and “‘insure communication and coordination’ among federal agencies responsible for energy policy and to make recommendations to the president and Congress.”83 At the same time, Ford had appointed his vice president, former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, to head a task force designed to develop an energy independence plan.84 Sawhill, as head of the FEA, would still be a player on the administration’s energy policy team, though the rise of new figures and institutions threatened to eclipse both his and the FEA’s importance. For example, although he would be a member of the new Energy Resources Page 53 → Council, the council was chaired by interior secretary Rogers B. Morton, who later signaled the FEA’s precipitous decline by assigning oversight of a new automobile efficiency program not to the FEA but to the Department of Transportation.85 Making matters worse, Sawhill’s personal popularity within the new administration waned as a result of his endorsement of a series of unpopular policies, including a gas tax hike.86 By the end of October 1974, Sawhill had resigned. Frank Zarb, the Fourth Energy Czar Ford’s initial instinct was to replace Sawhill with Andrew Gibson, who had been an assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce, but his nomination was ultimately withdrawn after media inquiries concerning Gibson’s relationship with a major oil firm. Two months would pass before the FEA received a new leader. In the meantime, absent a director and with rising organizational competition from the new institutions created by the Energy Reorganization Act, the FEA seemed likely to perish.87 The FEA experienced a brief renaissance before year’s end, however. After Morton, too, fell from Ford’s inner circle after endorsing a gas tax hike,88 the president selected Frank Zarb, then director of the new Energy Resources Council and Simon’s old FEO ally, to head the FEA. The choice of Zarb was widely applauded, and predictions that he would “be the one to see on energy” soon came to fruition as Zarb became the leading energy policy figure throughout the duration of the Ford administration.89 To buoy the organization, Zarb set out to carve a new mission for the FEA while simultaneously defining its relationship to the Energy Resources Council and creating a coherent internal structure and management system.90
According to Roger Anders, “Zarb decided that the agency should assume a major role in implementing energy policies established by the Energy Resources Council and provide some staff support for the Council. He concluded that the agency would be rebuilt around allocation and pricing programs as well as energy conservation programs.”91 He also set about advising President Ford on the administration’s effort to develop a comprehensive national energy policy, the first of its kind in American history.92 By late 1974, the administration had begun drafting the Energy Independence Act, which would be driven by the FEA and would center on two key complementary goals: independence and conservation.93 By January 1975, the president had sent proposals to Congress, which he addressed during a televised speech in which he outlined four goals: raising the price of energy Page 54 → through oil price decontrol and taxes on both oil and domestic natural gas; encouraging more use of coal through relaxation of environmental standards; establishing an emergency oil reserve; and creating efficiency standards for cars, appliances, and buildings.94 Although skeptics viewed the ideas included in the bill as modest and nothing new, Zarb had argued in favor of the measures during the December 1974 drafting process, noting particularly that a policy of decontrol would lead to greater production and considerably more conservation, making self-sufficiency possible by 1985.95 In February 1975, Zarb made the same case to Congress, arguing that decontrol—along with taxes and tariffs on oil and natural gas—would increase prices and in turn help save hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day within the first year and up to two million barrels per day by 1985.96 Democrats in Congress were unconvinced, however, calling the plan “madness” and suggesting that it jeopardized the survival of Western civilization. Their vehemence prompted Ford, who faced a strongly Democratic legislature and was dealing with his own troubles in the polls, to signal willingness to compromise.97 Compromise took time, though, as the congressional Democrats were themselves disunited. The bulk of the caucus, meanwhile, opposed decontrol and favored the opposite, with suggestions ranging from a National Energy Production Board managed largely by Congress to nationalization of all oil and gas companies and still other proposals advocating forced price decreases.98 Over the rest of the year, Congress marked up Ford’s plan along with various alternative bills, eventually winning a series of concessions from the administration.99 In late December 1975, Congress finally approved the bill, now renamed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) and merged with legislation previously introduced by Senator Jackson. After almost a year of work, Congress had done more than change the bill’s name. As Francisco Parra notes, EPCA “emerged from its lengthy gestation as less of an energy act than an oil act in which the main powers clustered around the price of oil and there were few teeth to bite into demand or stimulate the use and production of alternatives.”100 Despite the changes, however, the legislation marked a triumph for Zarb, as it “reinforced [his] basic missions of petroleum allocation and pricing, conservation, and energy development” and provided the FEA with a new function: modifying petroleum pricing regulations to allow the price of crude to gradually rise.101 The FEA was also authorized to develop rationing and conservation plans; establish efficiency standards for appliances; provide grants to state conservation programs; monitor industry efficiency; provide loan guarantees and allocate resources to aid coal, oil, and gas stores; and create a strategic petroleum reserve of 150 million barrels by Page 55 → 1978 and 500 million by the end of 1982. The bill shifted the FEA’s responsibilities from general policy formulation to program management.102 Despite his backing of the original version of the bill, Ford’s signature on EPCA was not a foregone conclusion. Tremendous opposition came not only from oil industry representatives but also from members of the administration. Observers criticized the legislation as “a monument to political expediency,” inadequate to solve the nation’s energy problems.103 Nevertheless, Zarb persuaded Ford that although EPCA’s phased decontrol program was imperfect, it represented an improvement over the status quo.104 In 1976, as the presidential election approached, Zarb and the FEA were busy exercising the new authority brought by EPCA. By June, the agency had, with congressional approval, removed a range of refined petroleum products from existing pricing controls, including fuel oil, middle distillates, naphtha, and gas oils.105 As the FEA’s preordained termination date loomed, Ford signed EPCA into law in August 1976, not only extending the
agency’s life through the end of 1977 but heaping on it additional responsibilities, including the authority to provide grants and guarantee loans related to various conservation programs and to provide incentives and resources for domestic production and utility management projects.106 In less than a year, Zarb’s leadership of the FEA saw it rise from a doomed institution to an indispensable agency.
Institutionalizing the Government’s National Energy Policy Ford’s campaign that fall would not fare so well, however, as the sluggish economy and his unpopular pardoning of Nixon helped former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter to a narrow victory. Although energy issues had been surprisingly downplayed during the campaign, key events and Carter’s policy preferences soon returned them to center stage following the new president’s inauguration.107 The “hundred year winter” of 1976–77 featured particularly low temperatures, heightening demands for energy, especially natural gas, propane, and fuel oil.108 In response, the FEA revised allocation regulations to increase both residential and industrial access to heat but prompting a natural gas shortage.109 John O’Leary, the Last Energy Czar Carter’s attention to the new crisis was immediate: on his first day in office, he announced that within ninety days, his administration would produce Page 56 → a comprehensive energy program, a cornerstone of which would be the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Energy (DOE). Within a week, he sent to Congress a request for the Emergency Natural Gas Act of 1977, which would allow him to declare natural gas emergencies in areas with severe shortages; it received hasty and overwhelming congressional support.110 Carter also quickly assembled his energy policy team, with John O’Leary tapped to head the FEA until it could be subsumed by the planned Energy Department.111 A former chief of the Federal Power Commission in the 1960s, O’Leary took over from Gorman Smith, who had been the acting director in the weeks between Zarb’s mid-January resignation and O’Leary’s Senate confirmation. O’Leary’s role in the FEA, however, would prove only marginally more influential than Smith’s brief tenure, as unlike Zarb, the one to see about energy in the Carter administration was not the FEA head but instead the new president’s close adviser, James Schlesinger. Like Carter, Schlesinger viewed the new crisis as an opportunity: as he would later say, “We had the natural gas crisis about one and a half days after the administration started . . . and partly because of the natural gas crisis itself, it sort of pulled energy problems to center stage.”112 Schlesinger, who had served as chair of the Atomic Energy Commission and director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Nixon administration and as secretary of defense for both Nixon and Ford, took on the responsibility of authoring Carter’s promised program, working largely in secret.113 Carter and Schlesinger shared a similarly dark view of the nation’s energy future, believing that the planet was running out of oil and gas, a notion to which FEA head O’Leary also subscribed: as he said in early 1977, “I think [natural gas] has had it.”114 As the worsening cold chilled through February and the natural gas shortage forced schools and factories to close, the administration began to roll out Schlesinger’s plan.115 Carter that month began a series of casual televised fireside chats explaining to the public his plan for solving the energy problem and offering advice to citizens for how they could voluntarily help in the nation’s conservation efforts, with suggestions that included setting thermostats at sixty-five degrees and wearing long underwear and sweaters at home.116 In March, the administration released the promised bill to create the DOE. The new department would be charged with developing new energy-efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances, new building construction codes, new standards for office thermostat settings, and tax incentives for conservation and solar energy.117 Complaints from within the congressional Democratic caucus would ultimately strip the DOE of its proposed power Page 57 → to control natural gas pricing, a reflection of the fear some Democrats had that Schlesinger, a longtime Republican, would use that power to hike rates as a way of hurting Democrats in the 1978 midterm elections.118 Instead, that authority went to a new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The bill would also abolish not only the FEA but also the Energy Research and Development Commission, the Federal Power Commission, and the Energy Resources Council. After Congress spent the summer working on the legislation, Carter signed it into law
in early August 1977.119 On August 4, 1977, the Department of Energy was created; two days later, Schlesinger was confirmed as its first secretary. The FEA would cease to exist officially on September 30, with its various functions and personnel—including O’Leary, who became Schlesinger’s deputy—dispersed to a variety of offices throughout DOE. Two years later, Schlesinger and O’Leary would depart when Carter asked for the resignations of his entire cabinet and senior staff.120 Charles Duncan, a former president of Coca-Cola and previously Carter’s deputy secretary of defense, would replace Schlesinger, and Sawhill would return to government service as Duncan’s deputy. Ironically, both Schlesinger and Duncan would be identified as the nation’s energy czar for years to come despite their cabinet status.121 The administration would actively attend to energy matters for the next few years, with Carter signing into law several bills related to the national energy plan and partially deregulating natural gas in 1978. (His successor, Ronald Reagan, would fully deregulate natural gas in 1981.)122 By 1979, however, “exasperated by the nation’s failure to arrive at a solution to the energy crisis,”123 Carter would deliver his roundly ridiculed Crisis of Confidence speech, marking the beginning of the end of his presidency.124 By this time, however, the national apparatus for managing energy policy had become fully institutionalized, and the age of the energy czar had come to a close.
Conclusion The case of the federal government’s response to growing awareness of its energy problems—made acute by the 1973 Arab oil embargo and the subsequent energy crisis—presents an ideal example of how czars function within the American political system. Although an energy crisis was barely on the horizon when Richard Nixon was elected in 1968, the problem—and the concomitant need for the government to do something to solve it—began to manifest not long thereafter. Faced with an intransigent Congress, made all the more so as his presidency began to circle the drain following revelations Page 58 → of the administration’s complicity in Watergate cover-up efforts, Nixon faced considerable pressure to lead the federal response. To do so, he needed assistance coordinating what limited energy policies already existed and creating new programmatic solutions to otherwise unaddressed problems. Nixon and his successor, Gerald Ford, found this assistance in the form of an energy czar—first John Love and later William Simon—and the series of institutions they led. Congress eventually became a full partner in solving the energy dilemma, and the institutional structures that housed these czars evolved over time from unilaterally created White House offices to an independent agency to a cabinet department under Jimmy Carter, and it continues to exist today. Though the czar designation persisted for years after the key energy policy figure in the administration received not only Senate confirmation but became a cabinet official, the actual era of the energy czar was a brief one, lasting from mid-1973 until the fall of 1977. Gauging Success The introduction to this volume discusses the central theme of success. We now come back to that theme as we ask whether the energy czar was a success. To what extent (and why) was the energy czar efficacious in his coordinative efforts? And, second, did the czar yield a public relations victory for the administration? The answers to these questions in the case of the energy czar are necessarily nuanced and vary across the various individuals who at different times held the title. Nevertheless, as an institution spanning across several individuals, three administrations, and most of the 1970s, the energy czar was almost without question a success. It provided a central source of leadership despite the changes in the name and structure of the offices charged with managing the national energy policy in the years during and immediately following the oil crisis. Moreover, it did so in a way that demonstrated presidential engagement with the policy problem symbolically while helping to find a policy solution, particularly in light of the lack of congressional engagement with the problem that characterized at least the first few years of the era of the energy czar. Some individual czars had more success than others. The most successful czar was clearly Bill Simon, who wielded the authority necessary to make bold decisions that helped contribute, however potentially recklessly, to the end of the crisis. Because of President Nixon’s stated and consistent support, in part as a consequence of their
shared view of the appropriate solutions to Page 59 → the nation’s problems, Simon acted in a decisive manner. Conversely, John Love, who preceded Simon and was the first to be considered energy czar, was ineffective, as a consequence of his advocacy of unpopular positions and his lack of a direct path to Nixon. Subsequent czars were neither as successful as Simon nor as unsuccessful as Love, largely because the government’s efforts to manage energy policy became increasingly institutionalized, minimizing the opportunity for strong czar leadership while increasing the efficacy and legitimacy of the evolving institutions. Although there is certainly much to criticize about the way the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations responded to the burgeoning energy crisis, it is difficult to condemn the role the energy czar played and how that position changed and became institutionalized. An acute crisis emerged, the president utilized his authority and assigned a member of his staff coordination and leadership responsibilities over it, and over time Congress designed and then redesigned mutually acceptable institutional and legal structures to support and constrain the actions of the administrative officials involved. The alternatives were either unrealistic (prompt, cooperative interinstitutional lawmaking) or unfathomable (executive inaction until Congress could be spurred to act). As the next case studies show, this experience is not universal. In the next chapter, the process that took only four years concerning energy policy stretched over several decades with respect to drug policy, and although the czar in that area briefly held unofficial cabinet status and currently is subject to Senate confirmation, the office lacks the rank of cabinet secretary. Page 60 →
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CHAPTER 4 Commanding the War on Drugs The Drug Czar and the Office of National Drug Control Policy “The story of American narcotics policy in the twentieth century can perhaps best be described as a history of repeated attempts to control deviance.”1 So argues Kathleen Ferraiolo in a masterful essay on the evolution of U.S. drug control policy in which she documents the institutional evolution and entrenchment of the government’s efforts to respond to the national narcotics problem. Central to this narrative is the role of elites in shaping national drug policy, which has veered from staunchly prohibitive and punitive to being focused on harm reduction and medical treatment and back to an increasingly lopsided focus on crime and interdiction at the expense of rehabilitation and treatment. As Ferraiolo and other seminal works on American drug policy acknowledge, the contours of government efforts in this area have been shaped by a wide range of factors, including public opinion dynamics, the rise of the partisan culture wars, and national security concerns following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Also often referenced though not yet systematically examined is the role that key individuals in presidential administrations have played. This chapter examines the impact and influence of key administrative elites within the president’s drug control administrative apparatus on U.S. drug policy. Known for decades informally as drug czars, individuals from Harry Anslinger to Gil Kerlikowske have simultaneously represented presidential policy preferences on drug-related issues as well as shaped the direction of federal drug policy in ways that reflect their own perspectives (see table 4.1). Much of the individual influence of these figures has been muted, however, since the institutionalization of the war on drugs under the control Page 62 → of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) following Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Anti–Drug Abuse Act of 1988.
Harry Anslinger: The Original Gunslinger in the War on Drugs Although U.S. drug laws can be traced back to Reconstruction-era western state efforts to stamp out opium, national (and presidential) engagement with the issue began in earnest only in the first decade of the twentieth century. Legislation such as the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (which required patent medicines to list narcotic ingredients) and presidential efforts such as Theodore Roosevelt’s call for international conferences on opium (which ultimately took place in 1908 in Shanghai and led to 1912’s International Opium Conference in the Hague, which passed a resolution in favor of international narcotics control) were notable precursors to the Harrison Act of 1914, which marked the federal government’s first direct intervention in narcotics control by prohibiting opium importation and regulating the medical prescription of narcotics.2 The Harrison Act also created the Narcotics Division within the Department of the Treasury, which, along with the Federal Narcotics Control Board created under the 1922 Jones-Miller Act, established the federal government’s initial bureaucratic foothold in drug policy. These two institutions had a series of organizational successes, ranging from an influential campaign to shape public attitudes concerning drugs to a number of judicial decisions that cemented the legitimacy of federal enforcement.3 Not until the 1930s, however, can the federal war on drugs truly be said to have begun. In that decade, a confluence of factors combined to provide traction for what would be a widespread campaign against drug use and abuse that is now in its ninth decade. Those factors include the rise of marijuana as a new drug for the government to combat, with its lamentable, concomitantly portrayed association with a wave of Mexican immigration; the creation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), which merged together the Narcotics Division and Federal Narcotics Control Board; and, most important, the rise of Harry J. Anslinger as commissioner of the FBN.4 Anslinger helmed the bureau from 1930 until 1962, serving as the nation’s dominant voice on narcotics while the nation redoubled its drug eradication efforts, hardening laws and moving away from a public health model toward a punitive criminal justice paradigm.5
A staunch supporter of prohibition of alcohol and drugs, even as the constitutional ban on the former became exceedingly unpopular, Anslinger Page 63 → Page 64 → had ideas about a range of ways the federal government could enforce and strengthen drug policy.6 First and foremost in his mind was the role of punishment, particularly in the form of steep fines and lengthy prison sentences.7 Although Anslinger initially preferred state-based legislative solutions to the drug problem and doubted the constitutionality of the kind of federal drug legislation for which public opinion and state political leaders began to clamor by the mid-1930s, careful crafting of a bill that would assess a prohibitive marijuana tax yet still pass constitutional muster provided the FBN with enforcement powers that allowed it to essentially outlaw all uses of marijuana.8 By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was signed into law, its smooth passage through Congress a testament to Anslinger’s mobilization of media elites and public opinion.9
Over the ensuing decades, Anslinger, along with C. H. L. Sharman, head of the Canadian Division of Narcotic
Control, “embodied and pushed for zealous prohibition and moral reform from the 1920s to 1940s, strategically expanding the mandate and resources of their respective agencies.”10 Anslinger’s decades of unrivaled credibility on the matter of narcotics control were a function of several factors: his opportunity as first FBN commissioner to shape its organizational authority; the lack of meaningful research in the field of narcotics and their consequences; the lack of public interest in the subject of illegal drugs; the predisposition of his audience to listen to and accept his opinions; and his all-consuming zeal for his work.11 Indeed, Anslinger was rarely curbed by the administrations that came and went as he remained head of FBN but instead received support and encouragement in his antinarcotic zealotry.12 This support emboldened Anslinger and enabled him to win ever more stringent penalties on drug pushers and users and increase enforcement power within the FBN, efforts that earned him the label “the J. Edgar Hoover of drugs.”13 Anslinger’s efforts occurred on all fronts, from disseminating antidrug/pro-enforcement propaganda through media and popular culture to working with state-level officials across the nation as well as international drug enforcement leaders. For example, Anslinger supported cinema that reinforced the dangers and evils of narcotics and glorified the role of the FBN and ensured that a more evenhanded documentary film produced in Canada was banned in the United States.14 At the same time, he worked for the passage of uniform state narcotics laws in nearly every state and pushed for greater local involvement and cooperation with drug enforcement agencies and elites abroad. Perhaps the most noteworthy example of Anslinger’s success came in 1951, when the Congress adopted, with his strenuous support, the Boggs Act, which mandated minimum sentences for narcotics possession, Page 65 → marking the achievement of one of his long-sought objectives; five years later, Congress went far further, steepening prison sentences and making the act of selling heroin to minors a crime punishable by death.15 More than a half century later, the 1950s can be considered an era where Anslinger’s preferred “draconian” policies faced little resistance, the apex of the first drug czar’s influence.16 His successes can also, however, be considered the last gasp of three decades of continual prohibitionist tendencies. Though the national leadership would again return to this exceedingly punitive approach in only another twenty years, by the early 1960s, support for Anslinger’s ideas as well as his personal influence were waning in Washington. The antivice coalition of the 1930s was largely absent from public debate by that time, while other cultural dynamics such as the civil rights and antiwar movements began to build support networks with medical-research-based communities by advocating less focus on punishment and more on treating drug addiction.17 Anslinger’s resolve initially held back this rising tide, but attitudes had begun to change; by 1962, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy had secured Anslinger’s resignation, a final sign that the age of Anslinger had come to an end.18 Anslinger’s forced resignation marked more than just the end of one man’s storied if controversial career; it opened up drug control policy to forces outside his monopoly for the first time since the Roaring Twenties. Much in American politics had changed in that time—not only the powerful cultural forces that typically characterize the social movement era. The American presidency had fundamentally transformed in Anslinger’s three decades at the FBN, with the chief executive becoming an increasingly public figure with growing expectations to lead on salient public policy issues. The national strategy on combating drugs was no exception. Anslinger’s next few successors—both at the FBN until it was subsumed in subsequent bureaucratic restructuring later in the decade and as the ranking national figures in federal drug policy efforts emerged—reflect this change, mainly in their proximity to the institutional presidency and in their advocacy of alternative approaches to Anslinger’s ferocious enforcement perspective. In a shifting regime with less personal and institutional support, Ferraiolo notes, Anslinger’s immediate successors did not bring the same drive and ambition to their respective drug czardoms.19 Instead, the FBN’s control crumbled as mental health advocates gained a foothold in the debate. The next (and final) FBN commissioner, Harry Giordano, had a reputation for reasonableness, and other organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health and the Presidential Commission on Narcotic and Drug Abuse, began to rise in stature and influence. For six years, Giordano served largely as a placeholder, Page 66 → offering no meaningful new reforms and steadfastly, if less aggressively, defending Anslinger-era policies.20 The tide had already turned, however, and those six years were also spent helming an agency on the wane. By 1968, the FBN ceased to exist entirely, as the newly created Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) incorporated both the FBN and the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control.
Opening Salvos in the Institutional War on Drugs Although the executive branch had been formally charged with implementing the nation’s drug policy since the passage of the Harrison Act in 1914, high-level officials other than Anslinger rarely engaged in that policy area for the next half century.21 The first major moment in this new era was Lyndon Johnson’s creation of the BNDD in 1968. In creating this new bureau, Johnson sought to foster cooperation among the agencies responsible for the full range of federal drug policy.22 Doing so would not only increase cooperation and reduce redundancy but also allow presidents, by virtue of the individuals they placed atop the BNDD, to exert greater control over solving the drug problem, which by the early 1970s ranked among the three most important problems the nation faced according to regular Gallup reports. Johnson’s announcement that he would not seek reelection left the direction of the administrative war on drugs up to his successors, particularly Richard Nixon, who upon taking office in January 1969 prioritized drug policy and began what we know today as the war on drugs.23 The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 placed narcotics and other drugs under federal jurisdiction, directly outlawed marijuana, set criteria by which drugs were to be regulated, and brought all preceding antidrug legislation under one statute.24 By 1971, Nixon had declared the war on drugs, creating the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP) that June to coordinate all federal prevention and treatment activities. Throughout Nixon’s presidency, key bureaucratic elites and especially those who vied for the moniker of drug czar approached drug policy in a multifaceted and entrepreneurial fashion, expanding the previous Anslinger-era emphasis on enforcement and interdiction to include medical approaches to treatment (particularly concerning heroin addiction) and shifting the focus regarding crime away from its structural determinants and toward consequences of criminal behavior, which data showed were exacerbated by drug use. This new approach was reflected by the professional backgrounds of Nixon’s Page 67 → key drug policy staff and advisers, who came not only from law enforcement but also from the medical establishment. Members of the latter group were ordered to examine the drug problem from a medical perspective, while the politicians in the White House considered the political dimensions.25 Budgets quickly reflected the new reality, with 67–80 percent of the drug budget spent on treatment/rehabilitation—the (relative) height of nonpunitive funding.26 At the same time, the administration fell short of a complete paradigm shift in drug policy. Nixon resisted advisers’ decriminalization efforts and refused to abandon enforcement dimensions of the war on drugs, instead endeavoring to pursue it from the streets of America’s urban areas to the far reaches of the globe. Throughout the administration, drug policy leadership reflected both sides of the enforcement/treatment dichotomy and occasionally the tensions inherent between the two approaches. Chief among these administration elites were John Ingersoll, Myles Ambrose, Jerome Jaffe, and Robert DuPont. John Ingersoll Appointed to lead the newly created BNDD in the waning days of Johnson’s presidency, John Ingersoll brought law enforcement expertise to his role. Ingersoll was responsible for cooperation with local domestic governments as well as with other nations in drug enforcement initiatives while also leading research and other educational efforts on drug abuse.27 Even though Johnson’s attorney general, Ramsey Clark, personally selected Ingersoll to direct BNDD as a way of shoring up his “crime-busting image,” the Nixon administration that inherited Ingersoll consistently viewed him as insufficiently aggressive.28 Dismissed by Nixon as a “do-nothing,” Ingersoll came into conflict with key members of the new administration in a variety of ways, perhaps foremost in his clashes with domestic policy adviser Egil Krogh, whose portfolio included drug and crime policy and how to measure and conduct drug enforcement.29 Even as Ingersoll expanded BNDD from an incipient agency to one with international range and relevant enforcement statistics, qualms about his leadership endured. In the face of reports showing that arrest statistics were dropping while addiction numbers were rising, Krogh “pointed out to Ingersoll that a series of private polls, commissioned by the White House staff, indicated that the American electorate considered heroin ‘to be a prime problem,’ and believed that the Nixon administration was not doing enough to control it.”30 Page 68 →
The ambivalent nature of the relationship between Ingersoll and the administration was further underscored by Ingersoll’s reluctance to engage in street-level enforcement, preferring instead to focus on major dealers and international interdiction.31 Ingersoll’s rationale was multifaceted, a reflection of both the BNDD’s relative incapacity to execute such enforcement activities and his wariness of the corruption scandals such programs had historically tended to yield. Further, during the FBN days, these efforts had led to corruption scandals in numerous major American cities.32 Indeed, in 1968 Ingersoll authorized an investigation of his own agency that found evidence not only that agents in New York were selling heroin and protecting known drug dealers but also that the bureau was a major national heroin supplier.33 Such scandals convinced Ingersoll that street-level enforcement was best left to local police and that federal efforts targeting large-scale traffickers would be a better use of already scarce federal resources.34 Even with this focus, however, Ingersoll’s results failed to meet administration expectations, particularly as reelection concerns became more acute. The White House made it “manifestly clear” that BNDD needed to bring at least one major international trafficker to trial to lend credibility to the operation.35 Ultimately, although Ingersoll served in his position until 1973, when the position was abolished and Reorganization Plan No. 2 created the Drug Enforcement Administration to coordinate all narcotics control efforts, his always tentative standing in the administration was eclipsed by more ambitious enforcement activists as well as an increasing focus on the treatment side of drug policy. Myles Ambrose Compared to Ingersoll, Myles Ambrose was “Nixon’s kind of law enforcer.”36 In his mid-40s, Ambrose served as commissioner of customs. In 1969, as Ingersoll’s style was alienating him from Nixon administration elites, Ambrose had overseen Operation Intercept, an interdiction attempt that had effectively shut down the U.S.-Mexican border and pressured Mexican politicians into complying with American policies.37 Not only was his style more in keeping with administration expectations—“gruff, handsome, bull-shouldered, and sporting a walrus mustache, he was a central-casting Irish cop”—but his ambitions for drug enforcement activities matched Nixon’s own.38 “Full of brash schemes for snagging drug dealers,” Ambrose surreptitiously submitted a plan to Nixon, via the undersecretary of the treasury, that would involve federal narcotics agents in the same kinds of street-level activities that Ingersoll disdained.39 Further, Ambrose argued that such activity Page 69 → not only would help avoid corruption but would help stem it, since overlapping federal, state, and local agencies would have an incentive to keep an eye on one another.40 Ambrose’s proposal won favor with Nixon, and Ambrose was introduced—to Ingersoll’s surprise—as the new special consultant to the president for drug abuse law enforcement during a December 1971 television special.41 Further, Nixon soon created a new drug agency that operated in parallel to the BNDD, the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE). Housed in the White House (though Ambrose was technically tasked to the Department of Justice), ODALE dragooned agents from several other agencies—“just enough to give the feds a telegenic presence on the street”—and quickly supplanted BNDD in substantive importance and symbolic visibility.42 Indeed, while ODALE was developed largely in secret, it would soon result in Ambrose replacing Ingersoll as the new drug czar, at least on the enforcement side of the equation.43 The rise of ODALE was not without conflict, particularly within the drug war community: BNDD and ODALE had numerous squabbles over international jurisdiction, going so far as to hide evidence from one another, kidnap each other’s witnesses, and even engage in a gunfight.44 Now perceived as the administration’s point man on drug policy by elites within and outside the administration, Ambrose set out to establish the foundations of his agency.45 Operating without precedent to guide him, Ambrose assembled his team deliberately.46 Having done so (and, indeed, while doing so), he embarked on a nationwide program of appearances and speeches that would enable him to promote more vigorously the administration’s war on heroin and other drugs.47 In the meantime, ODALE—which had been established as an experimental eighteenmonth program—conducted operations throughout the country, evaluating and demonstrating their impact on heroin trafficking at multiple distribution levels.48 Despite Ambrose’s individual success at representing the administration and ODALE’s efforts to bolster enforcement, by 1973 the experimentation with ODALE had come to an end and Nixon consolidated it, the BNDD, and other drug enforcement operations in agencies such as Customs and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) via Reorganization Plan No. 2 into a new superagency, the
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Although many considered Ambrose to be a leading candidate for the DEA’s top administrative position, controversies throughout his tenure at ODALE and his lack of interest in the position led the administration to choose Jerome Jaffe.49 In two years, Ambrose’s star turn as czar had concluded, and federal involvement in drug enforcement began a new institutional era. Page 70 → Jerome Jaffe While the transition from the Anslinger era through the Ambrose-Ingersoll conflict that ultimately led to the creation of the DEA was taking place, the traditional emphasis on enforcement and interdiction in federal drug policy gradually became complemented by an increasingly robust treatment dimension. Although this development reflected the contributions of several individuals, chief among them was Jerome Jaffe, a psychopharmacologist from Illinois. Jaffe had created a pilot program for addiction treatment that eventually became the first methadone clinic in the state of Illinois, known in 1968 as the Illinois Drug Abuse Program. In October 1970, domestic policy adviser Jeff Donfeld, an aide to Egil Krogh, asked Jaffe to prepare a report on policy alternatives to fight addiction in the United States “if there was, say, $50 million to spend.”50 The report had to be less than one hundred pages, completed in six weeks, and not leaked to the press. Pleased with the report, Krogh asked Jaffe in May 1971 to come up with a plan for dealing with heroin addiction in Vietnam and subsequently to brief the Pentagon (and still later the president and cabinet) on his solution, which involved testing soldiers serving in Vietnam and delaying the departure of those who tested positive long enough that getting out of Vietnam became incentive enough to avoid relapse.51 When the time came for Jaffe to meet the president, Krogh introduced him as a “miracle worker,” an impression that apparently lingered after Jaffe’s presentation.52 Jaffe’s June 1971 briefing to the president and cabinet, which also included advice regarding the need for better coordination among drug-related agencies, prompted Nixon to announce the formation of SAODAP and to ask Congress to appropriate funds for a comprehensive testing and treatment program for soldiers in Vietnam and a network of domestic methadone clinics.53 SAODAP would operate out of the institutional White House with enough authority to allow the new agency to “knock heads” at the Food and Drug Administration, BNDD, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, “and every other agency with a piece of the drug-abuse budget.”54 As was the case with Ambrose and the creation of ODALE, SAODAP represented the opening of a bold new front in the war on drugs, and, as its commanding general, Jaffe, too, earned the informal title of drug czar.55 Nixon sought to have SAODAP provide coordinative leadership to the menu of government programs that attempted to deal in one way or another with the treatment approach. He also wanted to make sure he had organizational leadership within the institutional White House so that he could have more control over the administrative response to burgeoning domestic issues concerning drugs and crime as the administration approached the Page 71 → 1972 reelection. To provide SAODAP with the necessary organizational heft, Nixon asked Congress to provide the agency with a proper legal foundation; in March 1972, the Drug Abuse and Treatment Act, which formally established SAODAP within the EOP (and subjected the director and deputy director to Senate confirmation), effectively provided the office with exactly that legitimacy.56 Nevertheless, Jaffe’s tenure as head of SAODAP was rocky.57 He was not considered a strong manager, most notably in his extreme aversion to conflict and in his neglect of basic administrative duties to the point that he undermined SAODAP’s effectiveness.58 By summer 1972, a White House–requested administrative audit of the office provided a scathing critique of Jaffe’s managerial performance, noting problems including contradictory decision making and policy reversals that, along with duplication of assignments, led to directionless project development, confusion about priorities, and a lack of staff responsiveness.59 Jaffe’s reputation for administrative incompetence grew at a strategically poor time. As the White House was worrying about his leadership, Myles Ambrose was becoming increasingly visible and shifting priorities in drug war efforts away from treatment and toward enforcement. Ambrose’s willingness to act as a partisan, combined
with his Republican affiliation, cemented the notion that his approach was more in tune with the voters Nixon needed to win over for reelection.60 Jaffe’s role in the administration soon began to shrink, a combined function of growing concern over his poor administrative leadership, Ambrose’s increased visibility, and diminished White House concern about the optics of the war on drugs once the 1972 election had been won. After the election, Jaffe was largely cut off from White House staff—even his pass to the White House cafeteria was revoked in early 1973.61 Six months after Nixon’s second inauguration, Jaffe resigned from his position. Despite the identified deficiencies in his managerial style, Jaffe is largely credited with a successful two-year stint at SAODAP and with establishing a robust public health model, though subsequent administrations and drug czars would ultimately dismantle it.62 Jaffe’s immediate successor, Robert DuPont, endeavored to continue what Jaffe had started but was ultimately destined to wage a brief and unsuccessful fight on behalf of the public health model. Robert DuPont It is difficult to tell the intertwined stories of Jaffe and DuPont in a linear manner. In many ways, DuPont’s actions as a young psychologist in the Page 72 → nation’s capital inspired the White House to look for someone to create a national public health model of addiction treatment, with Jaffe ultimately selected to fill that role. Described as “a young and articulate psychiatrist who had been operating with missionary zeal a drug-treatment center in the District,” DuPont was simultaneously a street-level medical practitioner and a national-level theorist about how to fight the war on drugs.63 According to what he called a “magic-bullet” scheme, DuPont contended that crime statistics across the country could be reduced quickly by breaking addicts’ dependence on illicit suppliers. In other words, since most addicts committed crimes to fund their drug use, curing the addict of the disease would cause the need to commit crime to disappear. DuPont’s vision initially centered on Washington, D.C., where he felt a Narcotics Treatment Administration could, with proper federal support and funding, operate a citywide network of addiction treatment centers that would, in turn, help lower drug-related crime rates.64 DuPont “stalked Capitol Hill” with evangelical fervor, carrying studies (including one of his own) under his arm showing the link between drug use and crime and how methadone treatment could reduce the costs of drug-driven criminal activity.65 DuPont eventually impressed staffers attached to the Senate committee with oversight responsibility for the District of Columbia, who helped arrange congressional hearings and subsequent media coverage of DuPont’s plan. Observers in the White House, including Krogh, indicated that they would be amenable to the idea of Congress funding such a program for the nation’s capital. Congress authorized $7.5 million, which allowed DuPont to open twenty centers, where he provided treatment for twenty-five hundred addicts daily by July 1970.66 Within five months, street crime declined, and Krogh and Jeff Donfeld began the national search that ultimately led them to Jerome Jaffe.67 While Jaffe began building what would become SAODAP, DuPont stayed on at his D.C. methadone clinics for two more years. In 1972, however, DuPont left the clinics to become Jaffe’s deputy at SAODAP, ultimately replacing him in the summer of 1973.68 DuPont’s tenure as head of the office was short-lived, however, as he soon took a position as director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse as the postelection dismantling of SAODAP that had prompted Jaffe’s resignation continued.69 In his new position, DuPont continued to work with the White House, helping craft a drug policy white paper in 1975 for the Ford administration,70 until the Carter administration forced him to step down in 1978.71 Later offering observations on the public health model’s loss of momentum, DuPont stated, “The priority and focus of the issue declined, and so the game became Page 73 → holding on, rather than expanding. We lost our morale—and direction. And that continued into the Ford administration.”72 By this time, the era of the special Nixon administration programs—ODALE and SAODAP—was nearly over, much like the Nixon presidency itself. The dawn of the DEA had supplanted the dueling BNDD and ODALE, and the DEA’s new director, John R. Bartels, had previously been a key ODALE administrator. Despite his experience and consolidation of agency authority, Bartels also got off to a difficult start when plans to replace key civil service employees who also had historical ties to the previous agencies with political appointees (including
Ambrose, G. Gordon Liddy, and E. Howard Hunt) were derailed as a consequence of the involvement of many of them in the Watergate conspiracy.73 Instead, Bartels inherited hundreds of agents and employees from the remains of the BNDD and ODALE as well as from Customs and the CIA, along with the tensions between those groups that existed from pre-DEA days. Bartels proved unable to manage the unification of these factions as scandals proliferated, and he eventually was replaced, first by Henry Dogin, who only lasted six months, and ultimately by Peter Bensinger, a fellow drug policy hard-liner who advocated increasing federal penalties for possession and who served as DEA administrator until the Reagan administration.74
Drug War Confusion and the Carter Presidency With the fallout from Watergate, the decline of the public health model, and the DEA’s early stumbles creating an atmosphere of administrative chaos in the drug war from Nixon’s second inauguration through the Ford administration, it was not until the election of Jimmy Carter that efforts were renewed to fundamentally restructure federal drug policy. For all four years of the Carter presidency, drug policy would be attended to at the highest levels, but in a fractured and bisected way that reflected the preferences and backgrounds of the two men who held the title of drug czar during the administration, Peter Bourne and Lee Dogoloff. Peter Bourne Perhaps more than any other drug czar before or since, Peter Bourne had the experience, pedigree, and political connections to be influential in his Page 74 → position. Bourne had previously worked in SAODAP but left to help with Carter’s presidential campaign. His relationship with Carter was close and long-standing; Bourne had been one of Carter’s advisers when he was in the Georgia governor’s mansion and had headed the state’s drug program. He was also one of the earliest to encourage Carter to run for president in 1976. After the election, Bourne was selected as Carter’s drug adviser, with an institutional home as drug abuse policy director and an office in the West Wing. Carter was determined to shift the federal focus back to treatment and rehabilitation after enforcement had again emerged dominant in the latter Nixon and Ford presidencies. The new president was confident that Bourne was the man to run the new effort, describing the British-born psychiatrist as “probably the world’s foremost expert on heroin, cocaine, and marijuana—even alcohol—all the drugs that are bad.”75 And indeed, Bourne’s open access to the president and expertise in the area made him the highest-ranking and most influential drug policy leader in U.S. history.76 Bourne’s influence and Carter’s trust in him are perhaps most evident in the fact that he received control over both the supply and demand sides of drug policy.77 Nonetheless, Bourne’s view of which drugs were bad differed somewhat from that of his employer: he perceived few health-related dangers to marijuana or even to cocaine, which was becoming a drug of choice among moneyed elites. Instead, he believed that heroin was the main threat and that emphasis should go toward treatment and harm reduction. Indeed, Bourne favored legalizing marijuana, going so far as to testify before Congress in support of decriminalization two months after Carter’s inauguration.78 Bourne promoted to Carter a proposal that swapped civil penalties for existing criminal punishments, a compromise one writer described as “an intricate and subtle one more typical of an anthropologist/psychiatrist and a Baptist deacon than of two people savvy in the ways of image politics.”79 This replacement of criminal penalties with civil fines would simultaneously allow the administration to register its disapproval of marijuana use and avoid ruining the lives of otherwise harmless drug users.80 Instead of wasting resources fighting marijuana, Bourne preferred to keep the government’s antidrug efforts focused on heroin via a plan to eradicate poppy plants, particularly in Mexico.81 Although largely successful—reports showed that eradication was leading to shortages and thus a decrease in overdose deaths82—this program would ultimately lead to Bourne’s resignation and the reversal of the decriminalization movement’s momentum. Even though he was the highest-ranking figure to endorse legalization of marijuana, Bourne’s advocacy of the Mexican eradication program rankled leaders of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Page 75 → (NORML). After a scandal involving Bourne’s writing of a prescription for quaaludes for a coworker under a false name, the final nail in the coffin for his tenure as drug czar came when
NORML members publicized that Bourne had used drugs at parties.83 Lee Dogoloff Upon Bourne’s resignation, his deputy, Lee Dogoloff, became the new White House drug czar. Unlike Bourne, Jaffe, and DuPont, Dogoloff was not a medical practitioner but rather a social worker. Nevertheless, he had a wealth of experience in drug policy administration, having previously worked for DuPont in his Washington, D.C., treatment agency and for Jaffe at SAODAP before coordinating drug funding in the Office of Management and Budget during the Ford administration.84 Thanks to the successes of Bourne’s antiheroin program, Dogoloff turned his attention toward the burgeoning concept of prevention, an idea that was widely used at the time yet still ill defined. Briefings from academic experts on prevention efforts failed to convince him how people could be taught to stay away from drugs; not until he began meeting with leaders of parents’ groups concerned with teenage marijuana use would he connect prevention with a new direction for the administration’s drug policy efforts.85 These groups provided reams of information about how marijuana was harming their children along with emotional appeals about the dangers young children were now facing because of the direction of drug policy under SAODAP and Bourne’s Drug Abuse Policy Office.86 In 1979, with reelection on the horizon, the Carter administration began to see drug policy in an increasingly politicized light. Dogoloff’s meetings with parents’ groups coincided with survey data that showed rising marijuana use among high school students and growing concern about it among their voting parents.87 In response, Dogoloff distanced Carter and the administration from Bourne’s previous embrace of decriminalization, the White House unveiled the Adolescent Drug Abuse Prevention Campaign, and the White House Strategy Council initiated plans for a “war on marijuana” as the administration moved away from its previous hard/soft drugs distinction and the accompanying decrease in concern for heroin treatment and increased focus on marijuana.88 By August of that year, Dogoloff’s view of his mission as drug czar had evolved, expanding from the goal of stamping out drug use to reversing the erosion of parental authority in general and thereby saving the American family.89 By the summer of 1980, the Carter administration’s Page 76 → drug policy had come full circle; heroin was almost entirely absent from Dogoloff’s agenda, replaced instead by the new focus on teens and marijuana, which would also become a central issue in Carter’s reelection campaign.90 This shift was arguably the biggest change in drug policy in American history, as officials snatched leadership away from the medical research community and “handed it to untrained, emotionally motivated parents,” thus redirecting efforts away from the most dangerous drug and instead toward the drug about which parents cared for cultural reasons.91 The scope and function of the war on drugs had changed; it was now seen as a mission to change how Americans thought and functioned together, not just policy initiatives designed to reduce drug use and trafficking. It is perhaps here that the war on drugs was also at its most ironic: advocates for marijuana reform helped feed the scandal that led to the demise of their strongest ally in the government, ultimately turning the liberal presidency of Jimmy Carter into, at least as far as drug policy was concerned, a mere stepping-stone to the elevated culture wars of the Reagan era.
The Reagan Administration’s Culture War on Drugs The cultural forces that drove Lee Dogoloff and the Carter administration’s drug policy conversion continued through the 1980 election, landing Carter’s opponent, Ronald Reagan, in the White House. Nevertheless, despite Reagan’s position on key culture war issues and his prohibitionist stance on drugs, the new president proved himself in no great hurry to fill the position of drug czar. Indeed, only after months of concentrated pressure from the same parents’ groups that had reversed the Carter administration’s position did the president finally turn to the activists’ first choice, Carlton Turner.92 Carlton Turner Turner, a pharmacologist who had served as director of the five-acre marijuana farm at the Research Institute of
Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi, then the only legal source of research marijuana in the United States, was a staunch prohibitionist who paired academic expertise with a track record of antimarijuana rhetoric.93 He had published dozens of scholarly essays on marijuana while traveling the nation to speak against decriminalization and meet with parents’ groups.94 Further, he had helped Page 77 → Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot establish his antimarijuana blue ribbon commission, Texans’ War on Drugs.95 Although Turner’s antimarijuana stance was the reason why the parent groups so solidly backed his selection as Reagan’s drug czar, his resonance with the broader cultural issues driving the so-called Reagan Revolution arguably endeared him to administrative elites such as Edwin Meese. When Meese asked Turner in his third and final job interview what he would do as drug czar, Turner’s response emphasized law enforcement. “You’ve got to do interdiction, crop eradication, and have a good international program on something besides heroin,” Turner argued, emphasizing the cornerstones of what Ferraiolo refers to as the renationalization of drug control policy96 before turning to culture war themes: “Most of all . . . you’ve got to clean up society. You have to create a climate in which society will take a stand.”97 Turner’s ability to see and embrace both dimensions of the conservative view of the war on drugs—the parents’ (and First Lady Nancy Reagan’s) concern about demand reduction and the administration’s commitment to strong enforcement—endeared him to the White House.98 Unsurprisingly, Turner continued Dogoloff’s refusal to distinguish between hard and soft drugs or between hardcore addiction and casual or recreational drug use; similarly, he shared his predecessor’s antipsychiatric animus, noting that his philosophy as drug czar was to get rid of the psychiatrists.99 “They’re trained to treat, and treatment isn’t what we do,” he reportedly said to his new staff in the Reagan administration.100 Furthermore, his adherence to key conservative policy preferences such as mandatory sentencing minimums and testing overrode any lingering anxiety about Turner’s partisan loyalty, an initial concern because he had been a registered Democrat while living in Mississippi.101 Initially hired as Reagan’s drug adviser, Turner was appointed director of the Drug Abuse Policy Office in June 1982, following the president’s centralization of control over drug policy via Executive Order 12368.102 Once established in this new position, Turner set out to ensure the federal focus in the war on drugs was firmly centered on marijuana; by 1983, he had increased the number of states where the DEA was eradicating marijuana to forty from seven in 1981, simultaneously recruiting agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to help crack down on marijuana growing in national forests.103 Turner’s efforts continued overseas, as he pushed Colombia to eradicate its crop just as Peter Bourne had pressured Mexico a few years earlier.104 To intercept the marijuana that did make it out of Colombia, Turner oversaw Page 78 → the creation of the South Florida Task Force, the most ambitious drug interdiction effort in American history, designed to keep marijuana entirely out of the United States.105 The task force, which received cabinet-level status and was headed by Vice President George H. W. Bush, became the prototype for what would eventually become thirteen separate task forces across the country by 1984.106 Indeed, Turner pointed to these overseas efforts when pushing American officials to be more diligent in their eradication efforts. For example, Turner constantly pressed U.S. attorney Joseph Russoniello and California attorney general John Van de Kamp to do something about marijuana growing in Humboldt County, telling them their inaction was undermining American foreign policy by making the administration look hypocritical when it pushed other countries to eradicate.107 For more than four years (five counting his service as drug adviser), Turner wielded control over the administration’s drug policy, consistently advocating a marijuana-centric prohibitionist policy that fit within the broader culture war narrative espoused by the Reagan administration. Turner’s tenure as drug czar came to an abrupt end, however, when he indicated a causal relationship between homosexuality and drug use, with drugs causing sexual orientation, during a late-1986 Newsweek interview. An outcry from both the gay community and treatment providers created pressure for Turner to move on. Shortly after the New Year, Turner resigned; his replacement was Florida pediatrician Ian MacDonald. Ian MacDonald
Like his two predecessors, Ian MacDonald was an ally and devotee of the parents’ antimarijuana movement. His thoughts on the root causes of American drug use, however, came not from his medical training but rather from ideological notions about the cultural legacy of the civil rights era: he believed that the culture of the 1960s was responsible for the drug problem of the 1980s.108 He read the civil rights movement as “one of rights granted rather than justice restored” and argued that it had eventually evolved into a “right-to-smoke-pot movement.”109 MacDonald’s status as a medical practitioner willing to point fingers and take firm positions on marijuana use made him popular on the antimarijuana lecture circuit, where he became an increasingly visible presence, appearing often with Turner and DuPont, now an antimarijuana convert.110 MacDonald’s stature in the medical field also proved consequential; as president of the Florida Pediatric Society, his advocacy for random urine testing for all Page 79 → children in grades 6 or higher came with fanfare on the heels of an announcement of the development of a new test that was 95 percent effective.111 MacDonald’s support among the parents’ groups came to the attention of the Reagan White House, which shared MacDonald’s “uncompromising” attitude toward drug use.112 When the position of director of the U.S. Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA) became available in 1984, then-czar Turner was inundated with recommendations that MacDonald receive the appointment.113 MacDonald’s rise to ADAMHA’s directorship was not insignificant; instead, control of the organization, which saw to the “soft” side of federal drug policy (that is, treatment and education), was crucial. MacDonald’s relative lack of drug-treatment training and policy experience was viewed as a deficiency by a small faction within the administration (most notably secretary of health and human services Margaret Heckler), but Turner and other allies of the parents’ groups maintained positive relationships with the physician.114 Further, according to Dan Baum, “Turner wasn’t bothered by MacDonald’s lack of treatment or policy experience. What was important was that MacDonald believed.”115 After two years at ADAMHA, where he implemented his beliefs that drug policy agencies “should serve their masters” (the administration in power) rather than “pursue ‘their own tired agendas,’” MacDonald was well positioned for ascent when Turner’s unexpected and rapid demise occurred in 1986.116 His stint as Reagan’s second drug czar would not be a walk in the park, however. Crack and cocaine were increasingly drawing public attention at the expense of the focus on marijuana that MacDonald, Turner, and the parents’ groups had urged. Rather than adapt to the changing policy dynamics, however, MacDonald attempted to make the facts fit his own preferences. According to Baum, It bothered Ian MacDonald that the country was getting het up about crack and cocaine while losing interest in the illegal drug that most often sidetracked young people: marijuana. By now, the antidrug campaign was so completely severed from reality that as drug czar MacDonald was pushing outright falsehoods. When the publishers of the Just Say No Club Members Handbook asked him to review a copy, MacDonald sent back this suggestion: “Change the last sentence to read, Marijuana also is a drug you can get addicted to.”117 MacDonald knew full well that marijuana did not possess addictive properties, but this effort was among his last gasps at keeping federal drug policy hitched to the antimarijuana wagon. The effort was futile, however. The rise Page 80 → of crack and cocaine had changed the nature of the American drug problem, and Congress, led by Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), was about to restructure the institutional dimension of the federal war on drugs in a way that would fundamentally reorient the government’s actions and the responsibilities of the drug czars who led those efforts.
The Rise of the Office of National Drug Control Policy While conservative forces had been fighting to reform federal drug policy in a way that made it more focused on enforcement and marijuana (and thus less engaged in treatment and with heroin), they were also pushing back against congressional Democrats’ efforts to institutionalize the national drug office in a manner that required Senate confirmation of the drug czar. In late 1982, Congress passed a bill that created a drug czar to be appointed by the president but subject to Senate confirmation.118 Reagan vetoed this bill, arguing in a memorandum,
The Act would create a drug director and a new bureaucracy within the Executive Branch with the power to coordinate and direct all domestic and international Federal drug efforts, including law enforcement operations. The creation of another layer of bureaucracy within the Executive Branch would produce friction, disrupt effective law enforcement, and could threaten the integrity of criminal investigations and prosecutions—the very opposite of what its proponents apparently intend. Although Reagan stressed that he, too, was interested in improving the coordination of the war on drugs, he felt that this goal could be (and was being) met through existing administrative structures; he also suggested that the war on drugs needed not more bureaucracy but rather more action.119 For the moment, Reagan had beaten back congressional efforts to exert control in the drug policy arena.120 By the fall of 1986, however, polls showed that Americans felt drugs represented the No. 1 problem in America; even as the Reagan Administration pushed for cuts to drug-related budgets for the 1988 and 1989 fiscal years, a resurgent Congress was poised to make another effort to institutionalize more fully the drug policy regime.121 In an election year thrust to put drugs on the political agenda, Congress sent the Anti–Drug Abuse and Control Act of 1988 to Reagan’s desk.122 The bill created the Office of National Drug Page 81 → Control Policy (ONDCP), with a director subject to Senate confirmation, and gave it the responsibility to determine national priorities and implement a national narcotics control strategy.123 This legislation was more palatable to the administration since it included increased criminal penalties and new federal offenses related to drugs and other developments consistent with the Reagan administration’s preferences, making the institutionalization of the czar a far less bitter pill to swallow. Even so, as the legislation was being drafted, Reagan, attorney general Edwin Meese (who headed the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board, which Reagan had created after vetoing the 1983 bill), and Vice President (and then Republican presidential nominee) George H. W. Bush spoke out against it. Bush argued that he did not need a new drug czar, echoing Reagan’s comments from several years earlier, and pledged that if elected, he would christen his running mate, Senator Dan Quayle (R-IN), as his own drug czar, building on the influential role Bush had played during the Reagan presidency.124 Nevertheless, despite Bush’s opposition to the bill and his victory over Democrat Michael Dukakis in the election, the legislation passed Congress and was signed into law by Reagan on November 18, 1988. The development left Bush in an odd position. Not yet president, he would soon have to appoint a cabinet-level drug czar even though he had rejected doing so during an entire year on the campaign trail. The period between Election Day and his January 1989 inauguration provided some time for Bush to modify his thinking on the drug czar matter. At a November postelection press conference, he acknowledged the need to comply with the new law but also expressed his view that presidents can have people report to them in any way they want; at a Christmas Eve press conference, he indicated his qualified acceptance of the idea but described the search for the drug czar as less pressing than the need to find cabinet secretaries and make plans for his first one hundred days in office.125 Bush’s reticence about the drug czar position—both before and after the November 1988 election—might have led most observers to expect the new position to receive little attention from the president. Such expectations, however grounded, would soon be proven wrong by his selection of former secretary of education William Bennett and Bush’s extensive efforts to raise his new czar’s profile and authority. Bill Bennett Although many viewed William von Raab, the U.S. customs commissioner, as having the inside track to the drug czar’s position, thanks in part to a Page 82 → heavy-handed behind-the-scenes campaign for the post, Bush ultimately selected someone who had caught his attention before the legislation creating the ONDCP had passed.126 One Sunday during the 1988 campaign, Bush saw William Bennett rail against the “liberal elite” on an episode of Meet the Press; impressed with his performance, the vice president and presidential nominee called Bennett to congratulate him on his appearance and urge him to keep in touch after the election.127 Six weeks after Bush’s victory, Bennett called the president-elect and said, “‘I don’t know what you’re planning to do about the drug job. But if you are really serious about it, and want someone to go after it for you, I’ll volunteer.’ Bush thanked him and said he’d keep that in mind.”128 In many ways, at least with respect to drug policy, Bush and Bennett were kindred spirits. Although George Bush
was neither by temperament nor by philosophy inclined to take bold action as president, drug policy was a significant exception.129 Not only did it rate highly among the electorate as an important issue, but it also related directly to Bush and Bennett’s shared puritanical notion that drug use was a moral matter, a reflection of individual and national character.130 After a postelection sit-down between Bush and Bennett was arranged by John Sununu, who had been tapped to serve as Bush’s chief of staff and was a close friend of Bennett’s (and the person whom Bennett had lobbied strenuously for the position), Bennett explained to the president-elect that the war on drugs was one area where his otherwise consistent preference for less government spending and involvement in public policy was reversed. Noting that he felt the same way, Bush offered Bennett the job.131 ONDCP provided Bush with an official arm within the EOP for enacting his drug policy agenda, and installing Bennett as its director gave him an energetic persona with a knack for drawing attention to the president’s preferred policies and programs.132 Having previously served as director of the National Endowment for the Humanities and later secretary of education in the Reagan administration, Bennett was “an attention-getting conservative” whose professional background as a philosopher provided the foundation for his ideas about personal responsibility that extended to the relationships among government, society, and drugs.133 Prior to his appointment as director of ONDCP, however, Bennett had always been a generalist; ascending to the top of the organizational ladder in an arena that dealt with the nuances of a single policy matter required more in-depth knowledge and understanding than he initially brought to the position. As a result—and in response to the criticism that he knew very little about drug policy, at least compared to the expert practitioners who had preceded him in previous administrations, Page 83 → if not in precisely the same institutional setting—he quickly sought to remedy the deficiency. His efforts to do so took numerous forms, from the conventional (convening several roundtables with relevant experts) to the innovative (going on ride-alongs with Detroit narcotics officers, observing a sting in Miami, holding a crack baby in Harlem).134 Bennett and his platoon of staffers, a mix of policy experts and long-term veterans from his time in other administrative positions, viewed their mission as not unlike a military unit tasked with fighting and keeping a key piece of terrain, “the hottest hot-button issue of the decade.”135 With a majority of Americans viewing drugs as the nation’s greatest problem and strong support for mandatory drug tests, random roadblocks, and warrantless police searches of suspected dealers’ homes, Bennett’s team was essentially offered “a chance to preach and kick ass on the nation’s brightly lit center stage.”136 Not long after his confirmation on March 9, 1989, Bennett was making headway in his charge to commandeer the nation’s drug-war-fighting apparatus. He zealously traveled the nation, visiting “scores of communities” while pushing states, municipalities, the private sector, and members of Congress to act on the drug problem in ways consistent with the administration’s goals.137 Bennett’s chief assignment, however, was to craft the nation’s new drug control strategy, which Congress mandated had to be reported within 180 days after he took office. Bennett’s aspirations for the document were high: it would link specific policy initiatives at all levels of government focusing on multiple dimensions of the war on drugs. More important, it would ground them within his own philosophical framework; according to Michael Massing, “Bennett hoped to make it a grand summation of his philosophy, a sweeping Magna Carta of national drug policy. And attacking casual drug use would be at its core.”138 Toleration—or, rather, the absence of it—was the hallmark of the new national strategy.139 The document called for “user accountability” and “zero tolerance” for any kind of drug use, reframing the problem as one of morality and not of health.140 Like the czars during Reagan’s administration, Bennett harbored antipathy toward those who viewed drugs and drug policy through the treatment prism.141 Instead, the only way to really get addicts into treatment was to increase the punitive dimension of criminal justice policy, which also served a broader purpose: the reconstitution of social and legal authority. Bennett told the Washington Hebrew Congregation that the drug crisis was “a crisis of authority, in every sense of the term, ‘authority,’” and said the purpose of imprisonment and incarceration was not to rehabilitate but instead was a moral one—“to exact a price for transgressing the rights of others.”142 To Bennett, the problem was not that drugs were dangerous or unhealthy and Page 84 → that the public therefore should be protected from them; rather, drugs were illegal, and those who were using them were doing so in defiance of society and authority—that was what needed to be remedied.143 In Bennett’s jeremiad, America’s
drug problem had resulted because the traditional narrative of freedom and liberty had become “distorted into license and ‘do your own thing’ and the ‘gospel of the sixties,’” and his new drug control strategy was the way to firmly lead the nation back to the right path.144 With Bennett garnering national attention and President Bush using the bully pulpit to exert public leadership on drug issues, the administration’s efforts crescendoed throughout its first year in office. By 1990, the office had moved into a new building and had expanded to include 130 staff, received a $16.5 million budget, and held primacy in the public relations battle with Congress and the press over the war on drugs.145 ONDCP and Bennett were substantively engaged in a vigorous prosecution of the war on drugs based on the philosophical underpinnings of the national strategy, but signs showed that Bennett’s hard-line antitreatment position was softening. His rhetoric on the matter had become less confrontational, at least in conversations among staffers, and he even agreed to put out under his own signature a white paper on treatment.146 This turn would never come to fruition, however, for just as quickly as Bennett had made his mark on the new drug establishment, he was gone. In early November 1990, a mere eighteen months after accepting a position he had previously committed to keeping for “a long period of time,” he offered his resignation to the president.147 His sudden and unexpected departure just as the Republicans were adjusting to their poor performance in the midterm elections left many questions unanswered, both about the reasons behind Bennett’s resignation and its impact on the ONDCP’s status in Washington. According to Bennett, the decision to resign was based his desire to turn to other challenges now that the ONDCP was established and the national strategy was under way.148 Though few in Washington were persuaded by this logic, it fit a pattern set by Bennett throughout his stint as drug czar; in February 1990, he had declared to U.S. News that the war on drugs was “at the end of the beginning,” and the next month, he commented to Newsweek that the nation was starting to win.149 Indeed, with the exception of a late spring 1990 rough patch that coincided with an ill-executed drug-enforcement showcase, Bennett’s routine answer to whether the nation was winning the war on drugs was always a resounding yes.150 Alternative explanations for the hasty resignation proliferated, however, with most revolving around either the perceived decline in media attention to Bennett or to the war on drugs in general or Bennett’s personal financial Page 85 → needs.151 The public—and the president—were turning their attentions overseas, where not only were historic post–Cold War developments taking place with increasing frequency but Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had invaded Kuwait. Simultaneously, Bennett was reportedly feeling the pinch of too many years in the public sector, with a government salary of less than one hundred thousand dollars that was not covering his expenses. He could match that amount by delivering just four speeches as a private citizen.152 This interpretation seemed further bolstered when Bennett accepted the position of head of the Republican National Committee, only to resign two weeks later after learning that he would not be allowed to command lofty speaker fees while serving in that capacity.153 As Baum notes, “The Age of Czar Bennett was over. 154 Bob Martinez Regardless of the explanation, many in Washington reacted poorly to Bennett’s decision to resign, particularly after he had declared the war on drugs the nation’s highest priority and urged all Americans to join in the struggle.155 Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), for example, called Bennett’s service as czar “a colossal failure.”156 Four months would pass before President Bush announced Bennett’s successor, turning to another victim of the Democratic resurgence in the 1990 midterm elections, former Florida governor Bob Martinez. A Bush family friend for whom the president had campaigned extensively, Martinez was appealing because of his gubernatorial-level experience in waging the war on drugs: he had both been the first governor to appoint a statelevel drug czar and worked with the federal government during the Reagan-era South Florida Task Force effort helmed by Vice President Bush. Martinez was in many ways a different kind of czar than his predecessor. Not only was Martinez a veteran of the electoral side of Republican politics, whereas Bennett hailed from the intellectual component of the party, but the former governor was a far more passive persona than the former philosophy professor. David F. Musto credits Martinez’s unobtrusiveness, distinguished from Bennett’s prominence, as a reason why subsequent assessments of
Martinez’s tenure as drug czar have considered it a missed opportunity for leadership.157 Massing concurs with this assessment, noting that Martinez’s performance was inarticulate, stiff, lacking in political acumen, and substantively unprepared.158 Further, rising influence among key Bennett deputies—most notably John Walters and Bruce Carnes—led to additional invisibility for Martinez in Washington.159 Baum adds Martinez’s Page 86 → lack of passion for the position to the list of explanations for his lack of success as drug czar. Conceding that Martinez was a fine administrator, Baum notes that the former governor brought with him several former aides (none of whom had prior drug policy experience) but no new ideas or vision for the war on drugs, instead preaching “more of the same—heavy funding for enforcement and interdiction, lip service to treatment and education.”160 Martinez’s meek performance as drug czar was not entirely anticipated, however. Indeed, Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and a dozen other senators had initially challenged Martinez’s nomination because of his “get-tough orthodoxy,” fearing that he would continue the pattern of harsh and punitive measures as well as the marginalization of treatment that had occurred when he was governor of Florida.161 Instead, the war on drugs continued largely as it had during the Bennett era, minus the high-level public engagement.162 Indeed, if anything, Martinez and the Bush administration quietly went in the direction Bennett had subtly indicated prior to his resignation. For example, a major initiative during Martinez’s tenure as drug czar was Operation Weed and Seed, which linked enforcement activities and community-based human services programs.163 Though evidence regarding the effectiveness of the program was mixed, the operation indicated a shift in the drug war’s tone as the enforcement emphasis of the first two years gave way to a more balanced approach that also stressed social service provision.164 Part of this drive for a more balanced, community health approach can be explained by the rise of HIV /AIDS—and its linkage with needle-based drug use—in the 1980s. Moreover, it represented the more progressive and humane dimension of the administration’s AIDS response: officials who increasingly sought to work with community health organizations also resisted institutionalization of a national HIV/AIDS directorate and particularly opposed programs that advocated needle exchanges. Of course, Martinez was not the first or only administration official to oppose needle exchange—in the 1980s and 1990s, Congress passed at least eight bills that barred or otherwise inhibited federal funding for such programs—he was among its most vocal and visceral opponents. Indeed, Martinez’s stand against needle exchange may have been both the most energetic effort he made during his stint as drug czar and his most successful. It also marked the end, at least temporarily, of the culture war logic of the war on drugs, as subsequent drug czars hailed from different intellectual as well as partisan backgrounds and became increasingly enmeshed in conflicts over the institution’s existence rather than its direction. Page 87 →
The Decline of the ONDCP Bill Clinton’s defeat of George H. W. Bush in the 1992 presidential election seemed to foreshadow dramatic changes in the nation’s approach to the drug problem. A member of a generation who had come of age during the 1960s and an admitted user (if not inhaler) of marijuana in his youth, Clinton had campaigned on promises to make the war on drugs more humane and effective.165 Indeed, his early actions as president concerning the ONDCP marked a major shift: he quickly reduced the office’s staff by 83 percent in a broader effort to shrink the size of the White House.166 Though there was widespread support for Clinton’s effort to shrink the size of the executive branch, this particular approach to doing so (the ONDCP reconfiguration accounted for one-third of all White House cuts) was wildly unpopular, leading members of Congress to demand information about how the administration would wage an effective drug war and later to mandate that ONDCP retain at least forty staff and double Clinton’s proposed budget for the office, thereby limiting but not entirely reversing the damage done to ONDCP’s institutional clout.167 Following this significant weakening of the office’s institutional capacity, Clinton dragged his heels on identifying a drug czar, waiting until six months after election day to name Lee Brown to the post.
Lee Brown The man Clinton eventually chose as his drug czar came with the desired reputation and résumé. A successful chief of multiple major urban police departments as well as the holder of a doctorate in criminology, Lee Brown represented a bold pick for the new Democratic administration. Whereas many observers might have expected Clinton to choose someone from the “treatment fraternity,” he instead went with a “cop with a conscience.”168 Most recently the commissioner of the New York City Police Department (where he had overseen a massive expansion of the police force and seen decreases in crime for two consecutive years) and president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Brown’s move to ONDCP could have been considered a step down, particularly in light of the office’s reduced capacity after the early staffing cuts.169 To combat concerns that the position of drug czar would be impotent, Clinton gave the position cabinet rank, thereby providing a boost to the damaged image of the ONDCP.170 Page 88 → The move helped install the liberal Brown—“he supported affirmative action, opposed mandatory minimum sentences, and lamented the number of black men in prison”—as the nation’s next drug czar.171 Known as a “philosopher-cop,” Brown’s ideas early on provided a counterpoint to Bennett’s perspectives four years earlier.172 Brown’s views concerning the war on drugs were perhaps most evident when considering his discomfort with the phrase “the war on drugs.”173 Brown felt that a country should not declare war on its own people and that the better way to proceed in the fight against drugs was through treatment. Further, in abandoning the “war” frame, Brown also reached back to Jaffe- and Dupont-era drug policy leadership as he emphasized the importance of viewing drug addiction as a health problem—“a chronic relapsing disease.”174 He rejected Bennett’s and Martinez’s emphasis on total abstinence and zero tolerance, noting that even small successes in treatment of addiction could lighten the burdens on society. Brown’s ideas about the nation’s drug effort were crystallized in a new national drug strategy that changed the emphasis away from Bennett’s culture-war-grounded enforcement and toward an aggressive treatment approach.175 This effort focused on what Brown estimated to be the top 20 percent of drug users, who he stated consumed 80 percent of illegal drugs, particularly cocaine, sold in the streets. Such habits, which resulted from addiction, led to most of society’s drug-related crime and health costs and had heretofore gone unaddressed.176 Unfortunately for Brown, he was not a member of an administration that had clear drug policy priorities, nor was his voice unchallenged within the president’s inner circle. Further, Brown had neither the skill nor the verve required for high-level public policy leadership. Accounts of his testimony at congressional hearings and the poor reception accorded to his speeches paint a picture of a czar who lacked the “political savvy and forceful style needed to use the bully pulpit effectively to convey his message.”177 Simultaneously, others within the administration—most notably controversial surgeon general Joycelyn Elders—advocated positions (that is, legalization and the idea that it would markedly reduce drug crime) that differed from Brown’s agenda and absorbed significant and valuable amounts of media attention.178 Nonetheless, even more than his communication shortcomings and the occasional gaffe from Elders or other members of the administration, the individual arguably most responsible for Brown’s ultimate lack of success as drug czar was President Clinton himself. The president remained silent on drugs for most of 1993 and even 1994, as Brown traveled the nation attempting to sell the new pro-treatment strategy and continually petitioned the administration for more support.179 Page 89 → Instead, as perceptions of the administration’s failure to lead on drug policy were reinforced by reports that teen drug use was again rising, the White House felt political pressure to adjust its approach. Republicans took drug use as a theme for the upcoming presidential campaign, and even congressional Democrats attacked the administration’s evisceration of the ONDCP. Into this context stepped Rahm Emanuel, then second in command in the administration’s communications operation. Repeating actions seen in the second half of Jimmy Carter’s administration, Emanuel began to push for an increased focus on teenage marijuana usage because of the issue’s resonance with middle-class voters. ONDCP was tasked with coming up with a plan and by August 1994 had received approval from Emanuel for a new role for Brown. The drug czar, who had previously been attempting wholesale progressive reform of the nation’s war on drugs, was now relegated to attending staged antimarijuana
events.180 Brown never regained his foothold in the administration’s antidrug effort and ultimately resigned—shortly after Congress announced plans to cut ONDCP’s budget by 20 percent—nearly a year before Clinton’s reelection.181 As he stepped down at the end of 1995, the Clinton administration was spending 35 percent of the federal drug budget on treatment, exactly the same amount that had been spent when Clinton took office in early 1993.182
The Militarization of the War on Drugs Brown’s resignation gave the Clinton administration an election-year opportunity to make a major symbolic statement concerning the war on drugs. Tasked with heading the search for the new drug czar, Emanuel presented four archetypes from which Clinton could choose: cop, prosecutor, inner-city leader, and soldier. Clinton opted for a soldier, and Emanuel directed his head-hunting energies toward the military community.183 Within the defense establishment, few officers were as qualified or as engaged in the drug problem as General Barry McCaffrey. Barry McCaffrey McCaffrey had helmed the Pentagon’s antidrug efforts in Latin America when he was head of Southern Command in Panama but was equally comfortable engaging in the politics of the nation’s capital and, rhetorically at least, with both treatment and enforcement dimensions of the nation’s drug Page 90 → problem.184 McCaffrey communicated his more “holistic approach” during his Senate confirmation hearings by adopting his predecessor’s ambivalence about the “war on drugs” frame.185 Like Brown, McCaffrey argued that the war metaphor was the wrong way to portray the government’s actions; instead, the confrontation “would be a gradual process of changing minds, with the stress on the need for more treatment.”186 Indeed, McCaffrey testified that he believed that three-quarters of his job as drug czar would be related to treatment and education.187 McCaffrey’s testimony defused fears that he would conduct policy in an overly punitive manner while simultaneously winning the Clinton administration a respite from criticism concerning the president’s efforts (or lack thereof) on drugs during his first three years. McCaffrey was confirmed in early March 1996, and as the White House deepened its focus on winning a second term, he prepared for the challenges and responsibilities of his new position. Perhaps his greatest trial was coping with congressional skepticism that the administration would improve its performance. Republicans and many Democrats still stewed over Clinton’s weakening of ONDCP. McCaffrey’s political challenges were not just in Washington, D.C., however; individual states, particularly in the West, began to challenge the prohibitionist status quo by holding public ballot initiatives concerning medical marijuana and the banning of imprisonment for first-time nonviolent drug possession offenses. Some of these measures passed.188 The state-based legalization of marijuana, even if only within the limited scope of medical prescription, presented a two-dimensional problem for McCaffrey and ONDCP: not only did enforcement of federal statutes in states where medicinal usage of marijuana had become legal make for a touchy issue of federalism, but the optics of imprisoning suffering patients for using drugs that were technically legal in their states were poor, especially for an administration hoping to win reelection. Instead, McCaffrey decided that the government would target doctors, announcing DEA plans to revoke the prescription licenses of any physicians who recommended marijuana to their patients.189 This move was controversial and drew criticism from a range of sources, leading McCaffrey to mount a high-profile public relations campaign that included a massive billion-dollar five-year advertising program, speeches across the country, frequent television appearances, and even a debate against New Mexico’s Republican governor, Gary Johnson, about the administration’s drug policy record and the merits of legalization efforts.190 McCaffrey’s central argument in these appearances was that such ballot initiatives represented the “narrow edge of the legalization wedge” and that failing to stop them would allow a broader legalization movement to proceed.191 Page 91 → As drug czar, McCaffrey carefully avoided many of the institutional pitfalls that had minimized Brown’s efficacy.
He spoke for the administration on drug policy, a reflection of his communication skills as well as Elders’s resignation and his successful wrangling of $500 million (later reduced to $250 million) from the White House as he negotiated the terms under which he would accept the drug czar position.192 These funds, which had been reprogrammed from the Pentagon and put at his direct disposal, were intended to allow McCaffrey to put substantive weight behind the initiatives he endorsed as he sought to transform the federal drug policy effort. His choice of how to spend these funds, however, deviated greatly from the assurances he offered during his confirmation hearings. He ultimately would choose to spend more than 80 percent of the funds on increased interdiction efforts in Latin America, with the largest single expenditure ($98 million) going to upgrading the U.S. Navy’s P-3B airplanes.193 The irony of this decision—and its dismissal of treatment-based policy—was reflected in the fact that McCaffrey identified the main goal of this spending package as the disruption of the PeruColombia air bridge, a program on which he had worked and that he had found entirely wasteful and ineffective during his stint at Southern Command. McCaffrey was equally concerned with drug interdiction in Mexico, pointing out he visited the border area numerous times during his tenure as czar and spent a great deal of his time “conjuring up ways to escalate the drug war in Mexico.”194 Such ideas would include providing the nation with dozens of Huey helicopters and other aircraft and naval vessels for use in counternarcotics operations, training hundreds of Mexican military personnel, assigning additional National Guard troops to the border, and especially pushing for the installation of X-ray equipment along the border that would facilitate Customs searches of otherwise opaque container trucks.195 McCaffrey’s approach to staffing ONDCP proved equally unconcerned with the treatment dimension of drug policy he had stressed prior to confirmation. Along with the reprogrammed funds, McCaffrey obtained permission from the administration to restore ONDCP’s staff to pre-Clinton levels. In particular, McCaffrey was allowed to bring thirty staffers from other government agencies. Rather than selecting those with expertise in addiction treatment or education, however, McCaffrey selected thirty Pentagon veterans. He also created a new strategic planning office within ONDCP and staffed it with military personnel. Similarly, he reassigned responsibility for drafting the congressionally mandated annual strategy document to a U.S. Army officer on assignment who had no prior experience in drug policy.196 McCaffrey’s energetic effort to militarize the war on drugs—despite his expressed Page 92 → disdain for the war metaphor and his pledge to focus on treatment-side solutions—was perhaps most fully evident as ONDCP prepared its 1998 strategy document. When observers noticed that the Pentagon had submitted budget data indicating that it would spend $35 million less on antidrug efforts than it had previously, McCaffrey insisted it add $141 million to its request. When the Pentagon refused to comply, McCaffrey decertified the Pentagon’s budget request. The conflict was solved when the two sides compromised on an $80 million increase, the bulk of it going to anticoca efforts in Peru, Caribbean naval patrols, and interdiction efforts on the Mexican border. By 2000, as the Clinton era was nearing its end, McCaffrey had helped fundamentally reorient national drug policy, though not in the direction anticipated by his early supporters and many of the senators who had voted to confirm his nomination. The nation increasingly focused on interdiction, with initiatives that bordered on foreign policy goals (such as building and supporting Mexican governing institutions) and less concerned with drug abuse at home.197 Despite rhetoric to the contrary, McCaffrey’s approach merely represented a continuation of his expertise as a soldier. John Walters The focus on drugs as a major American policy problem had faded from the limelight in the late 1990s and would largely stay that way throughout most of the next decade as the nation was captivated first by the drawn-out electoral battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore and then, only eight months later, by the events of September 11, 2001. Because of the close election and extended legal wrangling over its outcome, Bush’s drug policy efforts were initially delayed. He did not name his czar until May 2001, when he selected John Walters to be ONDCP’s director. Walters was a drug war veteran, having previously been Bill Bennett’s chief of staff and an enormously influential staffer in charge of supply reduction under Bob Martinez.198 More important, he was a perfect fit with the Bush approach to drug policy leadership: understated, experienced, and with a proven commitment to the notion that the drug problem was a demand problem, an idea firmly rooted in the conservative
culture war notions of the 1980s. Walters had held such beliefs since he first became involved with drug policy as an aide to Bennett at the Department of Education. (Walters had previously served as Bennett’s aide at the National Endowment for the Humanities as well.) Hailing from an academic background like Bennett— Page 93 → though in Walter’s case it was political science, not philosophy—he had gone from devotee of the individual-responsibility mantra to a scholar with a keen interest in the international dimensions of the drug war, taking responsibility for all international programs during the Bennett era. One of Walters’s significant achievements during the first Bush presidency would be pushing for a massive (two-billion-dollar, five-year) interdiction effort in the Andes aimed at source disruption.199 When announcing Walters’s appointment as the new drug czar, Bush also rolled out his plan for the drug war. In keeping with the belief that demand reduction was the most effective way to reduce drugs in America, the administration promised to couple traditional interdiction efforts, which had proliferated so significantly under McCaffrey, with an enhanced emphasis on treatment. The first step in this new effort was a major state-by-state analysis of needs and service capacity that would help ONDCP design policies aimed at closing the treatment gap.200 Major historical developments would soon interfere with these plans, however. The events of September 11, 2001, ushered in the ongoing war on terror, which saw the specter of national security cloak countless government initiatives, including drug policy. Although Walters would serve the duration of Bush’s two terms, attention to the war on drugs and control over the interdiction and much of the enforcement dimensions of it would be eclipsed by other key figures and organizations, including those in the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security. In particular, September 11 and the ensuing war on terror changed the focus of the drug war to narcoterrorism, particularly in Afghanistan, where heroin trafficking had long been connected with the Taliban.201 Walters’s experience under George W. Bush ultimately bore a stunning resemblance to what Walters had seen under the forty-third president’s father: a presidency that initially showed promise for increased and novel attention to the nation’s drug problems, only to see the president’s focus and energies pulled away to more pressing matters overseas. Funding and organizational support were never in short supply—a boon from the war on terror—but alternative domestic approaches, particularly those related to treatment, fell by the wayside.202 Gil Kerlikowske The war on drugs would largely be understood in this militarized/securitized manner for the rest of Bush’s administration. The campaign and election of Page 94 → Barack Obama prompted another reconceptualization of the nation’s fight against its drug problem, an opportunity resulting from both the change in control of the White House and the upcoming fortieth anniversary of Nixon’s declaration of the war on drugs. By 2009, when Obama took office and assembled his drug enforcement team, the war on drugs was widely considered a massive failure that had resulted in wasteful spending and had wreaked havoc in communities across the nation as well as in nations where American interdiction efforts were most vigorous. Obama himself had declared the war on drugs a failure on the campaign trail, as had numerous other political leaders and media elites, including the Global Commission on Drug Policy, an august body made up of influential leaders such as Kofi Annan, George Shultz, and Paul Volcker.203 Obama’s victory also coincided with rapid changes in public attitudes toward drugs and their legality: a 2011 Gallup poll announced that a majority of Americans favored the legalization of marijuana, a figure up from 36 percent only five years earlier.204 Considering this context, Obama’s selection of former Seattle chief of police Gil Kerlikowske as his drug czar is unsurprising. A three-decade veteran of law enforcement, Kerlikowske was a fervent supporter of community policing, having held a position as community policing administrator during the Clinton administration.205 His demonstrated interest as chief of police in a holistic approach to dealing with drugs won him allies in groups usually skeptical of the enforcement approach to drug policy. This holistic approach likely resulted from Kerlikowske’s work in Seattle, where public initiatives formally demanded a reduced focus on drug enforcement,
as much as his own personal opinions.206 Further, though Kerlikowske staunchly opposed legalization, he also outspokenly favored a public health model. Kerlikowske seemed aware of the unusual yet rhetorically powerful aspect of a person with his background espousing such views. He noted, “I’m a police chief who talks about education and public health. For a police chief that would have talked about this a few years ago, you would have been categorized as either soft on drugs or soft on crime.”207 Kerlikowske was equally vocal about his disdain for the “war on drugs” frame. In his first interview after receiving Senate confirmation, Kerlikowske said, “Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them. We’re not at war with people in this country.”208 Within months of his appointment, he publicly declared the “war on drugs” over, going so far as to excise the phrase from official policy documents, though subsequent analyses indicate that this pledge was more rhetorical than substantive.209 Kerlikowske’s banishment of the “war” frame was designed not to be Page 95 → merely a new way of talking about continuing policies but rather to be “a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.”210 Referenced by the administration as a “third way” of dealing with the nation’s drug problem, Kerlikowske’s new, “more holistic” approach aimed to complement a traditional criminal justice policy with a public health model.211 He framed this new strategy as the right course between two equally unacceptable poles, legalization and enforcement-only policies. He believed that neither legalization nor arresting “our way to a drug-free society” was plausible, “humane, realistic, or—more importantly—grounded in science.”212 Rather, Kerlikowske argued that “what works is to get people into recovery programs and then support them as they fight their daily battles against addiction.”213 Kerlikowske’s “paradigm shift” represented not only planned changes in policies and funding priorities but also a repudiation of the conservative culture war mentality that had governed the war on drugs since at least 1978. It also represented a change in the drug czar’s personal thinking on the subject, as he acknowledged becoming more aware of the disease dimension of addiction and less likely to think “people just need to find God” after becoming ONDCP’s director.214 Kerlikowske specifically rejected the notion, so predominant during the previous administrations, that drug use and especially addiction were moral problems. Rather, addiction was a chronic disease of the brain, a conclusion based on decades of scientific research and the impetus for his plan to create a branch of ONDCP dedicated solely to recovery.215 Indeed, by 2011, ONDCP announced that federal drug spending included more appropriations for drug education and treatment than for law enforcement, by a difference of ten billion dollars, a figure that does not include funds spent on interdiction efforts.216 Despite this new focus on treatment, however, Kerlikowske and the Obama administration incurred significant criticism for their personal stances on legalization and the administration’s efforts to push back against medical marijuana operations that were legal under state law but violated federal statutes. The stakes were particularly high during the 2010 Proposition 19 ballot initiative in California: Kerlikowske and all previous drug czars as far back as Bill Bennett coauthoring a high-profile antilegalization op-ed in which they argued that the social costs incurred by legalizing marijuana would be greater than any revenue derived from taxing now legitimate drug sales.217 This was a continuation of Kerlikowske’s long-standing antilegalization position, which was based on his belief that marijuana was dangerous and had no medicinal benefit; indeed, he said that legalization was a word that was in neither his nor the president’s vocabulary.218 Further, Page 96 → Kerlikowske opposed contemporary debates on the subject, believing that the idea of marijuana as medicine was driving changes in teen attitudes on marijuana use. A 2010 ONDCP survey found that marijuana use had dramatically increased since the early 1980s, more than tripling in that time among high school seniors.219 Such beliefs and data helped to justify the Obama administration’s incursion into state drug regulation, a dramatic development some considered an escalation of the war on drugs even if Kerlikowske and others shunned that rhetoric.220 In light of changing public attitudes on medical marijuana and particularly Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to leave licensed medical marijuana dispensaries alone provided that they followed state regulations, the administration’s assault on dispensaries eroded drug reform advocates’ cautious optimism about Obama’s election and Kerlikowske’s appointment.221 As a result, Obama’s muteness on drug issues as president (apart, that is, from
“providing lame excuses for the federal government’s aggressive undermining of state medical marijuana laws”), was in danger of costing him many of the hearts and minds he had initially won over with his progressive attitudes and public acknowledgments of youthful drug use.222 The continuation of Bush-era federal intervention in state drug regulation—actions magnified by their inconsistency with early statements made by Obama, Kerlikowske, and attorney general Eric Holder—has overshadowed the administration’s embrace of treatment. Similarly, instead of being credited as the drug czar who ended the war on drugs, Kerlikowske gained a reputation for saying one thing but doing another, ramping up new enforcement dimensions via the state raids even as he claimed that the administration was following its third way. In August 2013, after receiving credit from many previous critics for embracing anew treatment aspects and calling for addiction to be treated as a public health problem,223 Kerlikowske was nominated by the president to serve as the next commissioner of customs and border protection in the Department of Homeland Security, taking office in March 2014.224 He was replaced on an acting basis by Michael Botticelli, who had previously worked in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and had only been in the administration a short time before Kerlikowske’s new post was announced.
Conclusion From Harry Anslinger to Gil Kerlikowske, the history of the American war on drugs runs parallel to the evolution of the institution of the drug czar Page 97 → and the stories of the individuals who served in that position. Among the highest-profile of all czars, some have been exceptionally influential and central to their administration’s efforts, while others have been unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. The cases discussed in this chapter lead to a pair of observations about the role czars have played in this aspect of presidential leadership and the conditions under which their service is most effective. Gauging Success Although it may seem obvious, czars work best when they have a specific, important mission to accomplish, one in which they and their presidents believe deeply. The most effective czars are those chosen by their presidents to lead new initiatives, typically as titular heads of new organizations. Chief among these are Myles Ambrose, Jerome Jaffe, and Bill Bennett (the latter’s early exit notwithstanding). Each not only had strong ideas about how the government should deal with the drug problem but was championed—at least for a time—by his employer. The counterpoint to their experience can be found in those czars that presidents did not choose (for example, John Ingersoll) or who served after the initial burst of organizational energy had been spent (for example, Robert DuPont and Bob Martinez). Organizational prominence is a related determinant of czar success, particularly for those serving in the ONDCP era. Those individuals who spoke for their administrations without challenge (Barry McCaffrey) or contradiction proved more authoritative than those who did not (Lee Brown), though the nature of the organizational structure hamstrung many czars after 1989. The second essential factor that shaped the prospects for drug czars’ success is, perhaps ironically, the one least possible in the current context: entrepreneurship and organizational flexibility.225 For almost the first half of the ongoing four-decade war on drugs, presidents consistently resisted locating responsibility for the antidrug effort in a single office. Gerald Ford refused to fund a formal precursor to the ONDCP that had congressional authorization, and Ronald Reagan avoided creation of a similar institution until very late in his administration.226 Instead, they created temporary institutions and placed them under the control of individuals who represented these presidents’ specific values and preferences. A president who wanted more emphasis on treatment had the same opportunity as one who wanted greater focus on enforcement: both could find like-minded experts to serve as czars and equip them with the organizational and political resources necessary to succeed. Perhaps unintentionally, presidential ability to take this approach Page 98 → was severely constrained when the 1988 antidrug bill that created the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the current iteration of the drug czar was signed into law. Since the creation of the ONDCP, drug czars have had a permanent organizational structure, but rather than
improving drug war leadership, that structure has led to sclerotic and unresponsive management. Drug czars in the ONDCP era, at least since Martinez, are mandated to manage the war on drugs in precise ways determined by the legislation that created the office. They must oppose drug legalization even if states legalize specific drugs via legitimate democratic processes. Czars must continue enforcing laws and sending violators to prison even if officials would prefer to prioritize treatment. Although the antidrug effort can be manipulated at the margins—Clinton severely reduced staffing for a short time, Kerlikowske promised to create a treatment division—the structure of the ONDCP and thus the czars’ bureaucratic role is largely set. Rather than possessing the active qualities typically suggested by the czar moniker, they have become mere bureaucrats charged to go in a single direction even as political dynamics and public preferences suggest another path. A third important factor is presidential will. Chapter 5, which discusses the frustrated and later confused development of the nation’s AIDS czar under President Bill Clinton, illustrates the importance of presidential commitment to a policy issue and what happens when a czar is brought on board not to solve a problem but to create the appearance of doing so.
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CHAPTER 5 Founding and Fumbling the AIDS Czar Bill Clinton and the Office of National AIDS Policy As Ronald Reagan stood on the inaugural dais in January 1981, the medical scourge that would one day be known as AIDS had already begun, though only a small number of physicians in major urban areas seemed aware of it. Six months later, the New York Times reported on the story, linking a rise in Kaposi’s sarcoma with male homosexuals, and for the rest of the decade medical and political elites across the nation debated the definitions and root causes of the new epidemic.1 For several of these years, however, the Reagan White House remained silent on the matter, even as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identified the disease under its current name, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, in 1982, and references began to permeate popular culture as early as the following year.2 Indeed, not until May 31, 1987—after the deaths of an estimated twenty-thousand-plus people from AIDS—did Reagan give his first speech exclusively devoted to the disease.3 Although his administration had been meeting on AIDS (via the Department of Health and Human Services) since the summer of 1983 and working on the policy matter through the Working Group on Health Policy and the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) since September 1985—with Reagan himself attending meetings on the matter at the end of that year—direct and public presidential engagement with and leadership on AIDS policy can be dated to that day in 1987.4
Ronald Reagan and the Early (Non)Response to AIDS The history of AIDS in America can hardly be told without reference to the presidency of Ronald Reagan. At the same time that this disease of historic Page 100 → proportions was receiving recognition, the nation was also ushering in an era of conservatism that transformed the relationship between society and government.5 Similarly, the rise of AIDS and the government’s response to it can be viewed as a metaphor for the Reagan regime; the administration’s historic reputation certainly has been linked to its handling of the AIDS epidemic.6 As Victoria A. Harden notes, “Because the first cases of AIDS appeared in the homosexual communities of large U.S. cities, AIDS was initially stigmatized as a disease that resulted from a lifestyle found abhorrent by people who came into political power via the Reagan revolution. Their reaction to AIDS paralleled their disgust for the homosexual community, and they were often openly hostile to AIDS victims.”7 This is not to say that any other administration would have handled the problem with aplomb. Because of the stigmatization of AIDS and its victims, presidents from either side of the partisan divide would face challenges creating the kinds of civic-government coalitions necessary to mount a policy battle against the public health danger; the Reagan administration, however, with its foothold in the so-called moral majority and connection with evangelical leadership, was “particularly unenthusiastic” about unveiling major initiatives.8 In effect, AIDS victims suffered a public policy failure double whammy in that not only did the arrival of the disease coincide with conservative efforts to shut down executive branch health agencies in general (such as closing the U.S. Public Health Service’s hospital system, slashing the CDC’s budget, reining in research spending by the National Institutes of Health), but education, research, and treatment programs specifically related to AIDS came under particular assault.9 Reagan’s unwillingness to utilize the bully pulpit also had a stultifying effect on the official response to the crisis. Although the president avoided the more vitriolic and frequently homophobic rhetoric of the right wing, Jonathan Engel notes that “his reluctance to fully embrace the disaster in all its magnitude” exposed his disengagement with the matter and perhaps his struggles with attitudes toward homosexuality.10 Disengagement within the administration was not limited to the president alone, however, nor was it always passive. For example, surgeon general C. Everett Koop was not permitted to provide national leadership as a spokesperson until more than four
years after his 1982 confirmation.11 Other officials in the administration were equally silent, largely in the face of countervailing attitudes and values among the right wing and within the administration. As Kenneth MacKinnon contends, Reagan’s failure to speak can be explained as reluctance to “help those who, in New Right thinking, had brought their illness upon themselves, but also on the general neoconservative lines, that people should look out for themselves if they were ill.”12 Page 101 → Further, Victoria Stephan Nelson argues that the administration’s “rhetorical paralysis” instituted an unofficial approach that largely consisted of “ordering up yet another report” rather than taking proactive public leadership stands.13 Instead, it was evident early in the epidemic that Congress would have to fill the leadership gap the Reagan administration left on AIDS.14 In general, the administration’s approach was marked by a consistent pattern of modest funding requests and an apparent belief that while federal agencies should indeed do something about combating AIDS, it should be done without further resource support. Instead, internal priorities should change, and money should be shifted away from less urgent research efforts.15 For its part, Congress attempted to go beyond the administration’s meager requests. When the Reagan White House declared AIDS its “highest priority” but simultaneously imposed stringent budgetary constraints, it led Congress to provide supplemental appropriations and amended budgets for a range of AIDS projects.16 Even so, the administration consistently failed to spend the full budget allotted by Congress to AIDS projects.17 Further, Congress uncovered evidence that federal agencies were dishonest about their needs for funds, moving congressional leaders to threaten legal action to obtain evidence about such dishonesty. Investigations ultimately found that that at the same time that officials at agencies including the CDC and the National Cancer Institute were testifying that they did not need additional funds, they were also writing “strong memos” to administration bosses requesting more resources.18 By 1985, however, the administration began to become more engaged. With reelection accomplished and with the press and public increasingly aware that AIDS was a general medical crisis not exclusive to gay men, the administration started to provide additional support and resources. Particularly energetic was the DPC, whose head, William Roper, repeatedly engaged the matter publicly. Further, in closed-door sessions, administration officials were developing a consensus in favor of a well-coordinated federal strategy that emphasized education, research, treatment, public health funding, and prevention.19 Several staffers also favored testing throughout the country, though the president ultimately chose a path of deference to the states and declined to press the matter.20 Nevertheless, proponents of a strong executive branch began advocating more presidential involvement, while members of the medical establishment within the administration emphasized the need for open discussions about sexuality and dissemination of condoms, the latter a position pushed by Surgeon General Koop.21 Koop’s role in the White House’s response to AIDS in Reagan’s second term was particularly important. The surgeon general exploited an unexpected opportunity when Reagan announced in a February 1986 speech that Page 102 → he was asking Koop to prepare a special AIDS report. Although Koop never received a formal request to compile such a report, he did so anyway,22 pulling no punches, “startl[ing] government observers with its candor, frankness, and progressive recommendations,” and “offend[ing] constituencies across the political spectrum.”23 In particular, Koop’s preference for a “value-neutral” approach to the disease infuriated conservatives who expected and called for more of an emphasis on morality.24 These calls, however, were muted by a near-simultaneous release of a 390-page report by the National Academy of Sciences that harshly criticized the administration’s efforts. The private yet congressionally chartered organization described the administration’s efforts at public education as “woefully inadequate,” declared that AIDS-related expenditures needed to be increased dramatically to two billion dollars, and contended that the government needed new institutional capacity to study and coordinate efforts to defeat the disease.25 The suggestion regarding institutional capacity reflected ongoing concerns about the organizational efficacy of the administration’s AIDS policy team, which as late as 1987 was described as possessing a “sluggish malaise.”26 By 1987, the administration was prepared to fundamentally shift. Not only did it face a sea change in public and
scientific attitudes, but Reagan himself was thought to have finally found personal investment in the matter, a consequence of the death of his longtime friend, actor Rock Hudson, of the disease.27 With less than two years left in the Oval Office, the administration changed gears in two major ways: Reagan began to avail himself of the bully pulpit on the matter, and the White House bowed to calls for a policy board with greater influence in the government’s response to the epidemic. Reagan did not make his first public mention of AIDS until September 1985, when he answered a press conference question about whether children with AIDS should be allowed to attend school. Reagan noted that although he sympathized with both sides on the issue, his medical experts stated that children with AIDS posed no threat to their classmates.28 In 1987, less than two weeks before Hudson’s death, Reagan made his first speech solely dedicated to the matter, balancing the roles of presidential teacher and of policy advocate as he explained that AIDS was not a “casually contagious disease” and that people would not get it from sharing telephones, swimming pools, or drinking fountains. He went on to call for expanded testing protocols as a way of measuring the scope of the battle facing the nation’s public health apparatus.29 Nelson argues that this call for testing and identification of those infected with the disease was driven by a view that irresponsible individuals could inflict the disease on “innocent people.”30 As an initial step in establishing the testing framework, Reagan announced plans to institute testing Page 103 → programs in veterans’ hospitals and federal prisons, along with a plan to exclude immigrants who had the disease and encourage states to require blood testing as part of the marriage application process.31 The same summer, the administration also established the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, which the White House’s DPC had recommended the preceding spring. The commission would advise the president on AIDS policy and mediate between the public and the administration on policy actions concerning the disease.32 The commission officially had one year to conduct hearings and write a report, a short time frame explained by the fact that the administration itself would soon end as well as by conservative protests that the AIDS board would undercut the authority of the DPC.33 The commission was also limited by the actions of its members, who had little professional understanding of the disease: two commissioners, including the first chair, resigned. Nevertheless, the group went on to make major headway34 despite the fears of administration critics who expected the commission to be a foil for accusations of inaction.35 From the outset, the commission was controversial, and months passed before it was staffed, in part as a consequence of heavy lobbying by activists of all stripes.36 By the end of July, all thirteen commissioners had been selected, with eight of them medical practitioners. In June 1988, the commission produced an immense document including nearly six hundred policy recommendations, many of them far more liberal than anyone inside or outside the administration expected. In particular, it came out against administration-favored policies such as testing and mandatory partner notification, instead emphasizing the need for privacy, nondiscrimination, and civil rights protections.37 Unsurprisingly, the administration largely ignored the Watkins Report (named after the commission’s second and final chair, Admiral James Watkins) as part of a focus more on cutting government expenditures than on expanding government’s reach.38 As a result, commission members received thanks for their service and comments that “many of the recommendations needed to be considered, pondered, and perhaps implemented slowly, if at all.”39 The administration introduced a ten-point action plan in August 1988, three months before the next presidential election and only five months before Reagan’s term was scheduled to end. However, continuing a pattern ongoing since the rise of the disease, Congress responded to the administration’s slow-walking of the commission’s recommendations by passing legislation that created a bipartisan National AIDS Commission on a two-year trial basis (though it could be extended at the president’s request). The Page 104 → commission was to be populated by a bipartisan set of twelve members, each to have experience and/or expertise relevant to the epidemic.40 Moreover, with the timing of the various reports, the nation was primed to expect more action on the matter from the next president, who would turn out to be Reagan’s vice president, George H. W. Bush. Although the preferred candidate of gay rights and AIDS advocates, Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, lost in the general election, many observers felt some amount of optimism about the direction Bush would take
federal AIDS policy. As an editorial in the Boston Globe suggested, he could not “possibly do less than President Reagan, and there is reason to expect that Bush will do far more.”41 Indeed, as vice president, Bush had been far more engaged with AIDS policy than Reagan was during the same stretch of time. A visit to a lab involved in the production of AZT, a drug used to treat those diagnosed with HIV as a way of delaying the onset of AIDS, symbolically demonstrated his concern about treatment and progress, likely helping to cement his perception as socially tolerant for a Republican and generally more supportive of federal involvement in the fight against AIDS than Reagan.42 Nevertheless, like Reagan, Bush was a strong supporter of widespread testing efforts, an oft-discussed policy solution that was quickly forming a wedge between different factions of the polity about how best to respond to the epidemic. Indeed, Engel refers to Bush as universal testing’s “most prominent advocate,” noting that the vice president also gave a 1987 speech on AIDS in which he endorsed the idea.43 Responses to the speech were predictable, with gay advocacy groups portraying him as “homophobic and possibly fundamentalist,” while supporters credited him for realizing the need to identify the population of carriers as a requirement for fighting the disease.44 Bush continued his support for testing as president, though with greater emphasis on anonymity and confidentiality, a middle position between advocates of mandatory universal testing and those fighting for the civil rights of the disease’s victims.45 Midway through his term, however, Bush’s AIDS legacy became inextricably linked with the August 1990 passage of the Ryan White CARE Act. The law, named in honor of an HIV-positive teenager with hemophilia who went to court for the right to attend school, created the nation’s largest program designed to care for Americans living with AIDS.46 In the face of slashed funding for AIDS patients, Bush’s AIDS commission urged him to support the bill, which he ultimately signed despite concern that it set a “dangerous” precedent for government funding of specific disease research and treatment.47 Bush also supported government responses that went beyond the treatment dimensions included in the Ryan White Page 105 → Act; he also lent his backing to education and information campaigns. During the 1988 campaign against Dukakis, Bush argued that providing citizens with accurate information about the disease was vital, foreshadowing his efforts as president to draw mainstream attention to the issue.48 Perhaps most noteworthy among these symbolic efforts was his appointment of professional basketball star Magic Johnson to the National AIDS Commission. Arguing that this nomination signaled to the nation Bush’s commitment to fighting the disease, Engel writes, “If AIDS policy before had simmered in the margins of public life, it was now moved to center stage, where the federal government could flood it with funds, brains, and legislative muscle. It was now everybody’s concern.”49 As Bush’s bid for reelection grew closer, the federal government played an increasingly strong role in the war against the disease on a variety of fronts: “clinically, biologically, epidemiologically, and pedagogically.”50 Nevertheless, the administration’s critics continued to condemn what they saw as an “absence of leadership and tangible commitment” to the cause.51 Moreover, as the war in Iraq wound down and the nation’s attention returned to domestic policy, AIDS was for the first time positioned to be a significant issue up for debate in the 1992 campaign.52 Of particular importance was a new debate over the best way to coordinate the disparate staff and federal resources being drafted into the fight against AIDS.
AIDS in the 1990s: A Mainstream Policy Issue Several factors combined to force the debate over the government’s response to AIDS to the top of the heap of campaign issues in the 1992 election, in which the incumbent, President Bush, faced off against Democrat Bill Clinton, the governor of Arkansas. Chief among such factors was the fact that Democrats were considered to have an advantage on the issue because they were likely to gain greater support among minority constituencies that wanted more attention paid to the disease, more than offsetting the number of potential conservative or independent voters who might be offended by the liberal party’s approach.53 Further, dynamics in the Republican primary season, when Bush fended off a challenge from Pat Buchanan on the party’s right wing, had created a scenario where Bush had to become more conservative, allowing Clinton to occupy the middle on the issue while still appealing to progressive activists with promises to prioritize AIDS research.54 This is not to suggest that activists in the Democratic Party were unanimously content with the party’s approach. Kathleen German and
Jeffrey Courtright Page 106 → note that gay leaders in the party were themselves divided over policy prioritization: some members felt that AIDS was being pushed aside in favor of efforts regarding equal rights in employment, marriage, adoption, and military service, while others believed that new funding for AIDS research and treatment was leading to the neglect of work on cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Nevertheless, taking advantage of the political opportunity, Clinton pressed Bush on his AIDS leadership record throughout the campaign, criticizing his support for policies that discriminated against HIV-positive immigrants and questioning both the resources and the resolve offered by the Bush administration in meeting the AIDS policy challenge.55 In May 1992, Clinton said, “This [Bush] Administration ignores its own commission reports, underfunds research and treatment and leaves red tape.”56 Bush pushed back, reminding the nation of the 33 percent increase in funding for AIDS-related initiatives during his administration, though Clinton allies challenged that assertion, claiming that the figure was overstated by nearly half.57 The clash over AIDS persisted throughout the campaign, with both sides attempting to demonstrate leadership and comity with the preferences of the American people. Through stump speeches, dedicated segments during national party conventions, and exchanges during the fall presidential debates, AIDS not only emerged as a key campaign issue but also began to be “normalized.”58 When Clinton garnered a plurality of the popular vote and an Electoral College majority, much of the country also expected follow-through on his pledge to mount the equivalent of the Manhattan Project to fight the war on AIDS, which would be helmed by the nation’s first AIDS czar, an appointment Clinton promised in his sole high-profile speech on the issue, five days before the election. Bush’s response, delivered one night later to a Kentucky Fried Chicken Convention in Nashville, reiterated the president’s concern with the problem as well as his belief that another level of bureaucracy was not the way to solve it.59 Clinton’s emphasis on an AIDS czar mirrored similar arguments concerning the management of the nation’s war on drugs in the previous decade. Indeed, as he argued in a presidential debate held in St. Louis on October 11, 1992, “Over 150,000 Americans have died of AIDS. Well over a million and a quarter Americans are HIVpositive. We need to put one person in charge of the battle against AIDS to cut across all the agencies that deal with it.”60 As part of his crusade to be recognized as the nation’s “AIDS president,” appointing a White House AIDS coordinator was a key cornerstone of his administration’s early policy efforts, as was increasing research funding by 25 percent and empowering newly confirmed secretary of health and human Page 107 → services Donna Shalala to create an AIDS task force charged with setting the administration’s research and treatment priorities.61 These initial developments showed a promise that was not borne out by the remainder of the Clinton years. Fiscal reality led the AIDS task force to put forth a “restrained” set of recommendations that resisted calls for further funding and instead suggested greater presidential communication with the public about the AIDS crisis, removal of superfluous immigration and employment restrictions, and the establishment of the promised AIDS office, with particular emphasis on “developing a strategic plan with interoffice cooperation mechanisms, coordinators, and articulated goals.”62 A subsequent effort met an equally ambivalent end: despite the creation of an eighteenmember commission designed to bring together government leaders, drug makers, scientific researchers, and the activist community, AIDS was far from the top of Clinton’s policy agenda. Before his first term was up, the group had disbanded, with members acknowledging their inability to remove any of the obstacles that had motivated its creation and citing Clinton’s lack of clear support as the singular reason for that inability.63 These experiences foreshadowed the pattern that would develop with Clinton’s decision making about his AIDS czars and their performance. One month after his inauguration, the new president was already receiving criticism for slow progress on naming his administration’s AIDS czar, a delay attributed to differences among staffers concerning how the post should be structured and who should hold it.64 The Clinton Experience: An AIDS Czar in Name Only? By June 1993, Clinton named Kristine Gebbie to the post of coordinator of the Office of National AIDS Policy
(ONAP), a newly created division of the Executive Office of the Presidency. With the appointment, Gebbie became the first of ten individuals to date who would carry the “AIDS Czar” moniker (see table 5.1). A former nurse and health care administrator in Oregon and Washington as well as a member of President Reagan’s 1987 AIDS Commission, Gebbie was initially viewed as an individual who had a long history and much experience fighting AIDS from a variety of positions and, in the words of Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), had “a clear-eyed understanding of the AIDS epidemic as a health professional, as a state administrator, and as a federal adviser.”65 However, at the same time, activists and observers were only cautiously optimistic, viewing the naming of the nation’s first AIDS Page 108 → czar as less important than the actual influence she would wield. As David Rogers, the vice chair of the National AIDS Commission and an individual who had previously declined the AIDS czar position, remarked at the time, “Whether [Gebbie] can be effective or not is completely dependent on how much authority the president will vest in this, how much the coordinator will have the ear of the president.”66 Rogers’s nuanced warning was to prove prophetic. Although Clinton frequently empowered Gebbie and subsequent czars rhetorically, having them act as key surrogates in the administration’s AIDS discourse,67 previous analysis of the administration’s leadership efforts on AIDS shows them largely tied to other officials—namely U.S. trade representative Charlene Barshefsky (who oversaw resolution of trade disputes with African nations concerning patents and drugs central to AIDS treatments), Secretary Shalala, and Vice President Al Gore—and not the czars, who were supposed to be, at least in Candidate Clinton’s 1992 promises, powerful and effective leaders.68 Instead, scholars have documented how the administration often offered the existence of an AIDS czar as evidence of a commitment to fighting AIDS despite the fact that the czar possessed few tools and fewer opportunities to make a substantive impact. For example, Mitchell McKinney and Bryan Pepper discuss the response to a controversial comment Clinton made to students at a junior high school that some activists felt conflated homosexuality with AIDS transmission. Press secretary Dee Dee Myers responded Page 109 → to a question about whether the president was “spreading homophobia” by saying, “I mean, clearly the President has been a strong supporter of doing more to fight AIDS and to continue to fight the misperceptions about AIDS and to fight the fear about AIDS. And he’ll continue to do that. That’s why he appointed an AIDS czar in Kristine Gebbie. . . . He’ll continue to fight the disease and work with the AIDS groups to do so.”69 Clinton himself used this defense. For example, at a Billings, Montana, town hall meeting where an audience member charged that the president’s AIDS leadership efforts were insufficient, Clinton replied, “First of all, it’s not true that I have made no major speeches about AIDS. I appointed the first AIDS czar the country ever had. . . . This administration has done far more on research and care and raising the visibility of the issue than anyone ever has.”70
Gebbie’s position featured proximity to the Oval Office but little if any actual power. Mitchel Sollenberger and Mark Rozell note that not only did she lack the power to issue orders or regulations and authority over budget or personnel, she was not truly even an actual coordinator, reliant instead on the approval of Secretary Shalala and the DPC to advance any policy changes.71 By July 1994, Gebbie had resigned after months of criticism about her lack of effectiveness and political savvy as well as the dearth of influence allowed by the Clinton administration; as Daniel Bross, executive director of AIDS Action Council, noted at the time, “There has been incredible dissatisfaction with both the office and the person. I think the issue is both.”72 Kiyoshi Kuromiya, another leading AIDS activist, affirmed this assertion more colorfully: “Kristine Gebbie had nice things to say. She met with anyone and everyone. But in one year, we haven’t seen her do anything except arrange meetings.”73 This is not to say that Gebbie had made no effort to improve what Bross had described as a horribly ill-defined job and mission. She had conversations with White House chief of staff Leon Panetta about the need to better define the position, if only for the benefit of her successor, and to adjust expectations to fit clarified roles. The experience of the office’s next two occupants, however, seems to indicate that the conversations with Panetta did little to improve matters. The month after Gebbie resigned, Clinton named Patricia Fleming as her interim replacement; three months later she was named director (rather than coordinator) of the Office of National AIDS Policy.74 The change in title has been explained as a symbolic demonstration to AIDS and gay rights activists of the administration’s commitment to them and to the fight against AIDS; in reality, the position would serve as an institutional liaison with that community, something that did not escape notice and was reflected by a statement made by Steve Michael, a Washington, D.C., AIDS activist: “I Page 110 → don’t see [Fleming’s] office imparting a whole lot. . . . We don’t even bother protesting her events, because she has no power.”75 Fleming’s appointment had not always generated such skepticism, however. A former chief policy adviser to Shalala and longtime AIDS activist, Fleming was initially expected to be a placeholder, keeping up the administration’s “momentum” while it conducted a search for Gebbie’s replacement.76 Vested observers saw the search as an opportunity for the position to be clarified and restructured to align expectations and influence. Fleming’s appointment as director in part constituted recognition for her success in revitalizing the position.77 Bross, who had been critical of Gebbie’s performance, noted that Fleming’s tenure as interim coordinator showed her to be “a key advocate for fair and effective federal AIDS policy.”78 This apparent effectiveness resulted not only from Fleming’s experience—in addition to working for Shalala, she had spent a decade on Capitol Hill working for members of Congress Ted Weiss (D-NY), Shirley Chisholm (DNY), and Andrew Young (D-GA)—but also from her effort to clarify her position.79 According to Fleming, “My task is to make sure that our brilliant scientists and public health experts have a clear path. I will fight for the resources they need to stem the spread of HIV and, ultimately, to find a cure for AIDS.”80 Accomplishing this task meant continuing to serve as the president’s spokesperson on the disease and administration liaison with the AIDS activist community, but with looming conservative gains in Congress, it was also expected that Fleming would use her legislative experience to help protect the AIDS budget.81 This mission was echoed by activists such as Eileen Durkin, who noted that Fleming “demonstrated a very sophisticated understanding of the importance of research and the millions of dollars and thousands of lives . . . spared by increasing the body of knowledge about HIV” and stated the challenge Fleming faced in “sustain[ing] and increas[ing] research funding levels and not allow[ing] this vital funding to fall victim to partisan politics and political backlash.”82 Clinton himself seemed aware of the need for the AIDS czar position to be influential—or at the very least viewed that way—and he promised that Fleming would have “direct access” to him.83 Indeed, for the remainder of Clinton’s first term, Fleming maintained a higher profile than Gebbie had and certainly demonstrated a greater awareness of her duties: public relations and lobbying Congress for funding. Still, she was largely left out of major developments, and as Clinton restocked his administration after his reelection, Fleming was among those replaced. As had been the case with Gebbie, attitudes concerning Fleming’s tenure as AIDS czar were mixed: although some observers commended the White House’s ability to retain Page 111 → AIDS funding despite conservative gains in Congress, others condemned her lack of status. Argued activist Steve Michael, “The White House has wasted this position. We need someone with stature and power.”84
Six months after his reelection victory, Clinton chose his third and final AIDS czar, Sandra Thurman, a longtime AIDS activist from Atlanta.85 With a decade of experience fighting AIDS at the local, state, and federal levels, Thurman generated optimism in many quarters, though other voices expressed skepticism. Wayne Turner, a representative of the gay rights organization ACT UP, dismissed her selection as a “Democratic Party insider,” just another in a series of “ineffective, no-name bureaucrats.”86 Reports suggested that ACT UP had preferred both the selection of a more senior official and the elevation of the position to cabinet status.87 More restrained, Pat Christen, a San Francisco–based AIDS activist, noted, “President Clinton must grant the new AIDS czar access, responsibility and delegation of meaningful authority.”88 Some observers were reassured by the idea that Thurman was a partisan insider. Along with managing a major AIDS service organization in Georgia, Thurman had headed Clinton’s 1992 Georgia primary campaign and later done work for his convention and inaugural committees, facts that seemed to give credence to Clinton’s assertion that his door would be open to her. Indeed, Thurman’s appointment coincided with the announcement that ONAP would finally receive office space in the White House complex.89 Both Clinton and Thurman seemed aware of the ongoing criticism of the AIDS czar position.90 Introducing Thurman, Clinton first spoke generally of ONAP’s purpose and importance in the war against AIDS: The Office is charged with coordinating all our Federal policy and programs regarding AIDS. It also builds our partnerships with other levels of government and with private-sector communities and organizations. Our Office is charged with keeping us on track in treatment and in education and to keep our focus on research for ways to prevent and cure this disease.91 When her turn to speak came, Thurman emphasized the need to reinvigorate the office, noting that an effective relationship needed to be built between the White House and the AIDS community and that “a stronger front” needed to be established at the White House. According to Thurman, “The President has listened to my concerns about this, and has moved the Directors’ office into the White House complex, which should allow the director to keep HIV issues on the forefront of the national conscience, reminding the administration of the importance of AIDS issues.”92 Page 112 → Tellingly, however, when asked during the subsequent press conference how Thurman’s czarship would differ from those of the two previous occupants of the post and what he would like to see changed, Clinton again emphasized the communication aspect of the position, not the policy coordination aspect most associated with his campaign promises or the concept of czars in general: What I would like to see is to rely on the President’s Advisory Council and the AIDS Office even more heavily to mobilize even more people to have support for the work we’re doing in research to find a cure and also to do more at the grassroots level and to tie the efforts at the community level to what we’re trying to do nationally. And I think that Sandy will do a very good job of that because of her personal experience in Atlanta.93 This emphasis on communication rather than policy substance foreshadowed Thurman’s rocky first months in the position. In October 1997, several members of the Presidential Advisory Council on AIDS threatened to quit en masse to protest the White House’s decision not to spend federal money on needle-exchange programs, which scientific studies showed reduced the spread of HIV but were politically unpopular. (Patricia Siplon reports that the administration came within one hour of announcing a plan to reverse the ban on needle-exchange funding but ultimately demurred because of polling.)94 By December of that year, the council released a scathing report on the administration’s progress, accusing Clinton of lacking the courage and political will to fund needle-exchange programs specifically and more generally suggesting that progress in the fight against AIDS had stalled and that AIDS issues seemed to be a diminishing priority for the second-term president.95 Thurman was front and center in the administration’s response to the report. Arguing that “there is no absence of
will to meet this challenge,” Thurman responded to criticism not only about the needle-exchange decision but also about the White House’s perceived failure to expand Medicaid to include newly developed drug therapies, contending that Clinton had worked hard to save Medicaid itself and that expanding benefits had proved “more difficult than anticipated.”96 Following the late-1997 dustup, a significant decline occurred in public attention to the AIDS czar specifically and the Clinton administration’s domestic AIDS agenda in general. Indeed, with the exception of a few lingering squabbles about needle exchange, by mid-1998 the administration’s efforts increasingly focused on the developing world. By the summer of 2000, Page 113 → the administration was openly touting its global focus, with a particular emphasis on Africa that was underscored by both an extended trip by Clinton to the continent and the naming of Thurman as presidential envoy for AIDS cooperation. Thurman kept her position as ONAP’s director, but as domestic attention drifted toward the electoral contest between Vice President Al Gore and Texas governor George W. Bush, the bulk of her energy went toward the new mission.
AIDS Czars in the Post-Clinton Era By January 2001, as George W. Bush emerged from the protracted Florida recount battle with Gore and was inaugurated as the forty-third U.S. president, the number of individuals harboring realistic expectations that a formidable AIDS czar would ever exist had dwindled. Not only had Bush come from the social conservative wing of the Republican Party, which had stymied the AIDS leadership aspirations of his three Oval Office predecessors, but he expressed a disdain even for the idea of czar leadership (or at least the idea of czar as a rhetorical device) in the White House. He conveyed this disdain in response to a question about his plans for leadership within ONAP. During a discussion with journalists following a visit to an elementary school on February 9, 2001, Bush was asked about whether he would appoint an AIDS czar. He responded, Well, there’s going to be a focus on AIDS, and people can apply any title they want. But there’s going to be a person in my office who has got the responsibility of coordinating the AIDS policy throughout the Federal Government.97 As promised, Bush appointed a director for ONAP, but unlike his predecessor, Bush never publicly referred to the holder of the post as a czar. Two months after that elementary school exchange, Bush selected Scott Evertz, the leader of Wisconsin’s chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest gay Republican group, for the post.98 As had been the case in the waning months of the Clinton administration, the new czar would address AIDS from a global perspective. This emphasis was particularly acute with respect to funding, where Bush pledged to seek several hundred million dollars for the international battle against AIDS while domestic funding would go unchanged.99 Nevertheless, those optimistic about Evertz’s performance in the position pointed out his strong existing relationship with Page 114 → Bush’s choice for secretary of health and human services, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, and Evertz’s campaign-era encouragement of Bush to continue supporting federal action on the epidemic.100 Many observers were surprised by the continued existence of the AIDS czar position, as those on the left feared that Bush would do away with a position that was seen as inconsistent with its ideological commitments and that had never truly hit its stride during the Clinton years. As the introduction to an interview with Evertz candidly noted, “That Scott Evertz is an openly gay man with a job in a Republican administration isn’t the most surprising thing. The most surprising thing is that his job still exists.”101 Indeed, until Evertz was named, many viewed ONAP as a potential black hole under the new administration. Stated a National Public Radio report, “For the first few months of the Bush administration, there was a White House Office of National AIDS Policy, but no one seemed to be working there. Public health officials and AIDS activists were concerned there would be no Bush AIDS policy.”102 Once Evertz was in place, it became clear the challenges he faced were at least as mighty as those confronted by his three Clinton-era predecessors. With domestic AIDS spending under Bush’s budget “flat-funded,” Evertz identified his top priority as “addressing the challenge of getting more people into care and treatment with
basically the same amount of money.”103 A more acute problem was balancing the often incompatible demands of the AIDS community and the socially conservative “profamily” bloc. A key example of the difficulty of this balancing act concerned the role of condoms in AIDS prevention programs. When secretary of state Colin Powell made supportive comments on condoms and HIV prevention with which Evertz agreed, the popular retired general was simultaneously cheered by the AIDS community and strongly criticized by the abstinence-only crowd. Considering that the latter and not the former had voted for the new administration, Powell and Evertz found themselves in a less-than-comfortable position. Nonetheless, Evertz initially expressed optimism that such conflicts could be resolved by relying on a combination of federalism (that is, allowing local municipalities to choose the kind of prevention policies they preferred) and increased funding for abstinence programs while subjecting both abstinence-only and traditional prevention programs to the same effectiveness standards.104 The reformed structure of the AIDS czardom under Bush created its own set of unique administrative challenges. International efforts to fight the disease received a boost with the development of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which constituted the nation’s largest effort Page 115 → to date to combat a specific disease.105 Evertz consequently found himself serving two masters: whereas Clinton’s AIDS czars were technically directly subordinate to the president, Evertz simultaneously served under Bush’s domestic policy adviser, Margaret LaMontagne, and sat on a task force co-chaired by Secretaries Powell and Thompson.106 The difficulty of adequately performing in such a situation was further exacerbated by administration foot-dragging on providing Evertz’s office the three staffers it was initially announced he would have.107 Further, as an individual, Evertz faced additional tensions. Mistrusted by many in the gay and AIDS activism communities because of his partisan affiliation, he was also a frequent target of criticism from right-wing groups within the Bush coalition such as the Family Research Council.108 As an article in the Baltimore Sun noted, “From AIDS activists, Evertz faces skepticism that a Republican in a budget-cutting administration can fight effectively for their cause. From Republicans, he encounters doubts that a homosexual can resist trying to advance a gay and lesbian agenda from a post on the White House staff.”109 Evertz eventually succumbed to the pressure, moving from early comments in favor of needle-exchange and condom programs to vagaries about “all options are under review” while avoiding comments about what he thought the Bush administration should do concerning AIDS.110 Evertz’s place in the no-man’s-land of moderation ultimately proved untenable, and by July 2002 he was replaced as AIDS czar, decamping to Thompson’s staff to work on the administration’s global efforts to fight AIDS.111 Many viewed Evertz’s reassignment as a victory for the abstinence-only community despite administration officials’ statements that Thompson had initiated the move so that Evertz could work in a high-level position in the Department of Health and Human Services. According to Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Critics of the administration’s AIDS policy said the White House forced Mr. Evertz out for advocating that gay and bisexual men use condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS”; Evertz had also “angered other presidential advisers by questioning the administration’s policy of doubling the financing for sex education programs that advocate only abstinence.”112 A January 2010 report authored by Evertz supports this conclusion, not only with respect to his position but also regarding ideology’s role in the construction of federal AIDS policy under Bush.113 Evertz’s replacement, Dr. Joseph O’Neill, came from the Department of Health and Human Services, where he had been acting head of the AIDS and HIV policy office and director of the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration, where he had been responsible for Page 116 → managing the budgetary components of the Ryan White CARE Act. The administration’s press release touting O’Neill’s selection also provided a conventional definition of his duties: As the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, Dr. O’Neill will work with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State and other federal agencies to develop and coordinate HIV/AIDS policy and programs for the Administration. The Office provides support to the AIDS Task Force, co-chaired by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, which coordinates the Administration’s activities and responses to all aspects of the domestic and global AIDS epidemic.114
A physician who had been involved in HIV/AIDS medicine for more than two decades and who had been on a team within the administration assembled by deputy chief of staff Josh Bolten to craft AIDS policy recommendations, O’Neill was less of an unknown than Evertz had been.115 Even skeptical observers lauded O’Neill’s credentials while anticipating little change from the ineffectiveness of his predecessors.116 Such observers were likely unsurprised when, after one year, O’Neill was “promoted” out of the AIDS czar position and into a deputy coordinator role in a new State Department office designed to fight the global AIDS pandemic.117 His tenure as AIDS czar had been largely free of the tensions experienced by Evertz and took place at a time when the administration was rolling out its PEPFAR initiative, which O’Neill had helped develop. Announced in January 2003, PEPFAR called for fifteen billion dollars in funding over the next five years to fight the global AIDS pandemic. (In May 2007, Bush called for reauthorization with a funding increase up to an additional thirty billion dollars; Congress later authorized forty-eight billion dollars.) The commitment included five billion dollars in existing bilateral programs, along with one billion dollars (two hundred million dollars per year) for the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and nine billion dollars for new programs in more than a dozen African and Caribbean countries. By May, Congress had passed authorizing legislation that amended Bush’s initial request in three key ways: first, at least one-third of prevention funds would have to be spent promoting sexual abstinence; second, faith-based groups could reject strategies they found objectionable (such as condom distribution); and, third, the administration was authorized to quintuple the annual U.S. contribution to the United Nations Fund (though that spending was not mandated).118 Although full Page 117 → implementation took a couple of years, by the time of Bush’s reauthorization request, the program had proved successful and popular: by 2012, AIDS-related deaths in African nations where PEPFAR was most active dropped by 20 percent.119 The program was not, however, without controversy, largely involving funding levels and ideological disputes concerning implementation, abstinence requirements, condoms, and the involvement of faithbased groups.120 O’Neill was replaced on an acting basis in August 2003—and officially in May 2004—by Carol Thompson, a longtime administration official who had previously worked as a White House domestic policy adviser as well as in the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.121 Although critics decried Thompson’s selection—she was a heterosexual woman with little experience with the epidemic—as Bush’s third AIDS czar in as many years, she did have experience crafting and implementing PEPFAR. Thompson was also tasked with working on the reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act, which occurred initially in 2005 (for one year) and again in 2006 (for an additional three years). (It was also reauthorized in 2009 for four more years under the Obama administration.) Despite this portfolio, Thompson’s profile—and indeed that of ONAP as a whole—quickly receded as a direct consequence of the rise of Randall Tobias within the administration. A former CEO of Eli Lilly, Tobias became the first U.S. global AIDS coordinator in July 2003, a month before Thompson took over ONAP on an interim basis. Although Thompson helmed the office originally created to house Clinton’s promised AIDS czar, Tobias soon took on the functional role of czar in that he became the high-profile member of the administration dedicated to the disease. Every contemporary reference to the nation’s AIDS czar identified Tobias, not Thompson. As the nation’s first global AIDS coordinator, Tobias was officially charged with implementing PEPFAR, and for the next three years, he grappled with this task while attempting to handle growing criticism from other key international actors (chief among them United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan) that the United States was not doing enough to fight the pandemic and that what it was doing was too hamstrung by domestic political considerations.122 Criticism came from within the United States, too. For example, an August 2006 op-ed coauthored by Sandra Thurman and Scott Evertz made the case against the abstinence-only dimensions of Bush’s war on AIDS.123 In 2006, however, Tobias concurrently became the nation’s first director of foreign assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Tobias was replaced as global AIDS coordinator by former ambassador Mark Dybul, who oversaw PEPFAR implementation for Page 118 → the remainder of the Bush administration but lacked his predecessor’s high profile. That same year, Thompson, who had been overshadowed by Tobias, left ONAP for a position in the Department of State that concerned African affairs. ONAP would not have another director for more than two years.124
When Barack Obama named Jeffrey Crowley as ONAP’s director in March 2009, observers initially celebrated the move while lamenting the decline in the position’s influence. As Cohen noted at the time, “The director of ONAP, once given the elevated moniker of the ‘AIDS czar,’ has lost cachet as of late—the Bush Administration did not even fill the post for the past two years.”125 Eventually, however, it became evident that the Obama White House had the same clarity issues with respect to the AIDS czar that the Bush and Clinton administrations had suffered. For example, three months after Crowley was named ONAP’s director, Obama selected Eric Goosby—who had served as the office’s interim director between Fleming and Thurman during the Clinton administration—to be global AIDS coordinator; in late 2012, Goosby was promoted to lead the newly created Office of Global Health Diplomacy, though at the time it was announced he would continue to head PEPFAR implementation efforts.126 Throughout Obama’s first term, the media referred to both Crowley and Goosby as the administration’s AIDS czar, despite their different titles and portfolios, an indication of the lack of clarity concerning their roles (as well as an example of the growing ubiquitousness and meaninglessness of the term as used by the mass media). Also leading to the lack of clarity was Crowley’s dual appointment: not only was he directing the White House’s AIDS policy shop, he was also serving the president as disability policy adviser. Critics blasted the arrangement as an indication of Obama’s “part-time” commitment to HIV/AIDS eradication. In 2010, AIDS activist and blogger Michael Petrelis wrote, “Putting the new facts (to me at least) about Crowley’s part-time position in the larger context of the Obama administration’s ridiculous slowness in creating and unveiling their National AIDS Strategy, among other issues such as not fully funded at-home and global drug programs, illustrate a diminished commitment to solving myriad AIDS problems.”127 At the same time, Obama reportedly charged Crowley (along with secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius) with developing a national HIV/AIDS strategy.128 In July 2010, after an eighteen-month process, the White House introduced the strategy—which it described as a “roadmap for policymakers, partners in prevention, and the public in steps the United States must take to lower HIV incidence, get people living with HIV into care, and reduce HIV-related health disparities”—to both accolades and criticism.129 Page 119 → Many observers saw the national strategy, which featured three primary goals—reducing the number of new infections, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities—as an important recommitment to the domestic fight against AIDS after years in which international efforts had outpaced those at home.130 Detractors, however, argued that the approach was underfunded. In the words of AIDS activist Michael Weinstein, “Access to care for HIV is declining in this country. You can’t say this is a new strategy, if you don’t intend to spend any money on it.”131 In late 2011, after spending a year and a half working on implementing the strategy, Crowley announced that he would be leaving the Obama administration. The following March, his replacement, Dr. Grant Colfax, previously the head of San Francisco’s HIV prevention program, was selected as Crowley’s replacement. Absent a major project such as the development of the national HIV/AIDS strategy, Colfax, like Goosby, has maintained a relatively low profile during his tenure as AIDS czar. On July 15, 2013, however, the administration took action that might presage a renewed importance for the AIDS czar when Obama issued an executive order creating the HIV Care Continuum Initiative. The president directed Colfax and Sebelius to chair a working group designed to “gather information from federal agencies on HIV testing and care, review HIV research, and recommend ways to accelerate and improve HIV treatment and care,” with a report to be submitted to the president within 180 days.132 Their work led to the official announcement in December 2013 of a new treatment model, coordinated by ONAP and designed to help identify issues and opportunities related to improving delivery of care and services to those living with HIV.133
Conclusion Although originally conceived as a parallel institution to that of the drug czar, the office of the AIDS czar never received similar institutional support or clarity of purpose. The failures of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations to provide the czar with a defined mission and firm backing yielded two separate yet functionally fatal (from the perspective of organizational efficacy) problems. First, an underinstitutionalized and ill-resourced office cannot possibly accomplish its mission, particularly if that mission is inadequately defined. Second, having
such a position without proper institutionalization or resources generates impossible expectations at the same time that the structure (or lack thereof) undermines them. Page 120 → In some ways, this outcome should not be surprising. Indeed, scholar Christopher Foreman nearly predicted as much. In an essay published in the first summer of the Clinton administration, Foreman warned against placing too much faith in a czar-based AIDS strategy.134 Noting that the creation of the new czardom would yield expectations that AIDS receive higher political priority and that—at least for public health matters—the decentralization trend in American policymaking would be reversed, Foreman identified a range of reasons why hopeful observers should be wary, including perhaps most presciently the fact that czars could not operate without being undermined by vested interests as well as their own chief executives. The subsequent reality of the AIDS czar position underscores Foreman’s concerns. Presidents Clinton and Bush each employed three separate AIDS czars, signifying what some observers perceived as a lack of serious commitment.135 Further, during the Bush and Obama administrations, the identity of the AIDS czar was often unclear, since the title could be applied to either the largely toothless director of the Office of National AIDS Policy or the holder of an evolving series of posts related to foreign aid and the global pandemic. Gauging Success Although the AIDS czar position has been largely unsuccessful, some czars have achieved better results than others. Not one of the three individuals who held the position during the Clinton administration could truly be said to have succeeded, though those results primarily reflect the administration’s insufficient attention to the institution and lack of substantive engagement. Indeed, if Bill Simon’s performance as Richard Nixon’s energy czar can be cited as a successful czar, the performance of the AIDS czar under Clinton can be considered the nadir. Where Nixon gave Simon significant authority and conveyed his position clearly and consistently to the members of the cabinet, Clinton utilized his AIDS czars as public relations tools and buried them under layers of bureaucracy. Although he promised each new czar that she would have unfettered access to the Oval Office, such was not the case. Subsequent czars under Bush and Obama had mixed experiences. While Scott Evertz was largely used in the same way Clinton used his trio of czars, as Bush became increasingly engaged in fighting AIDS in Africa, that policy area came to house some of the most effective managers in his administration. What is unique about that development, however, is that it was not the AIDS czar who was empowered, at least insofar as ONAP’s director Page 121 → is considered the AIDS czar. Rather, the successes accrued to a series of individuals—most notably Randall Tobias under Bush and Goosby during the Obama administration—in an evolving set of positions and institutions charged with implementing PEPFAR. As the institutional structures these individuals occupied became more developed, their influence and effectiveness increased. At the same time, however, the original AIDS czardom, housed in ONAP, became increasingly obscure and unimportant. Indeed, the media’s tendency to refer to both the head of ONAP and the series of PEPFAR managers as “AIDS czar” reflects this development; in one agency was a czar in name only, while in the other was an occasionally influential and effective coordinator engaged in policy management that focused on Africa. Indeed, as the drug czar case study also suggests, the effectiveness and influence of the AIDS czar has for the past two decades depended on presidential will. As Cornelius Baker, an activist based in Washington, D.C., said in response to President Bush’s selection of Carol Thompson (and her deputy, Chris Bates) to replace Joseph O’Neill, “It’s great that the president has put good people in the AIDS policy office, but they can’t do the job alone. There is an AIDS leadership void that can’t be filled by the office. The office reports to the president. He is the boss, and he has had no clear agenda about arresting the epidemic.”136 Presidential will arguably trumps strategic considerations about how to empower czars and to design the institutional structures they occupy; if a president is not intent on having a czar provide meaningful policy
leadership, it does not matter what equipment or skills that individual possesses. As the next chapter demonstrates, whether a president empowers a czar is often determined by why the czardom has been created. As often as not, presidential embrace of czars is a function of external pressure rather than internal determination. In such cases, effective coordination becomes exceedingly unlikely, if not impossible. Page 122 →
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CHAPTER 6 Coordination in a Post-9/11 World George W. Bush’s Czars and the War on Terror Unprecedented in their scope and complexity, the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, shocked the American public and roiled the nation’s political and policy communities. For many citizens, the bubble of safety and security surrounding their lives had burst; for many officials across every branch of government, the events of that infamous day were to yield a series of policy problems and questions that had never before been addressed, at least not in any similar context. As demand for action arose, the administration of George W. Bush responded first with bombings and later with a complete land invasion of Afghanistan, where the political leadership of the Taliban had supported the machinations of al-Qaeda and its commander, Osama bin Laden. Seventeen months after launching Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the United States began Operation Iraqi Freedom, seeking to depose Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, who, the Bush administration alleged, had not only been illegally stockpiling weapons of mass destruction but had also been in cahoots with bin Laden. Although both of these allegations would later prove unfounded, the nation’s efforts in the two wars would be enmeshed for the next several years. As the Bush administration attempted to respond to the fallout of 9/11 and wage the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it found itself constantly needing to adjust the government’s structural capacity to meet needs related to collecting and analyzing intelligence, developing and implementing national security policy, and coordinating efforts involving actors from dozens of government agencies, cabinet departments, and the private sector. Although the spirit of bipartisanship and national accord that followed the 9/11 attacks initially Page 124 → facilitated cooperation between the executive and legislative branches to meet some of these institutional challenges, the nature of the crisis (and often the Bush administration’s philosophical embrace of unitary executive theory) led to unilateral executive action on several occasions. Countless volumes have addressed and assessed these decisions and actions, but little attention has yet been paid to the role czars played in coordinating emergent policy responses to the series of crises that stemmed from 9/11. To be sure, the administration’s responses to these events involved many more personnel types than just the czars discussed here—and, arguably, the most controversial actions concerned key officials rarely referred to by anyone as czars.1 However, the experiences of Bush’s post-9/11 czars are important, particularly because of what they convey about presidential-congressional relations and the need for administrations to manage publicly what often occurs in secrecy. This chapter focuses on three key czars during George W. Bush’s administration: Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor who became the nation’s first homeland security czar before becoming its first secretary of homeland security; John Negroponte, the career diplomat who became the nation’s first national intelligence czar; and Douglas Lute, the U.S. Army general who from 2007 to 2013 served as the nation’s war czar under both Presidents Bush and Barack Obama. Each of these cases is unique, both in the nature of the responsibilities of each official and with respect to when they entered administrative service. However, taken together, the experiences of these czars also complement one another and yield key insights on the politics of presidential policy czars in the twenty-first century.
Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Czar (October 2001–January 2003) The days immediately following 9/11 were filled with anxiety and confusion, the latter over not only who was responsible for the attacks but also why the nation had been so unprepared to stop them. On September 13, the government reported a significant amount of evidence pointing to the culpability of Osama bin Laden and alQaeda, and as the days passed it became increasingly clear that poor communication and information sharing between the numerous agencies that made up the nation’s pre-9/11 infrastructure had helped enable those
terrorists to strike such a devastating blow. By September 14, Congress had authorized Bush to use force against any nations, organizations, or individuals he determined had been complicit in planning and executing the attacks. The administration quickly ramped Page 125 → up efforts to prosecute what would come to be known as the nation’s war on terror, but first it was essential to attend to the suddenly obvious deficiency in bureaucratic leadership. In a September 20 speech before a joint session of Congress where he outlined to the nation his plans to respond to the attacks, Bush announced the creation of a new cabinet-level office within the White House whose inaugural director, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, would report directly to him.2 Bush’s selection of Ridge was not surprising. Indeed, as Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism expert who worked for the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, has written, Ridge looked as if straight from central casting: “Tall, square-jawed, a wounded Vietnam veteran, Ridge had been a successful governor of a big state.”3 Moreover, he had been considered briefly as a running mate in 2000 and as a candidate for secretary of defense, though his pro-choice background and liberal voting record on defense issues during his time in Congress had thwarted him both times.4 Ridge had also received national prominence in the days following 9/11 because of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 near Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. After the crash, Ridge had toured the site via helicopter and later given an emotional tribute to the passengers. He had also joined First Lady Laura Bush at a ceremony honoring the dead and, the day before his name was announced as director of the Office of Homeland Security (OHS), spoken before a moment of silence on the eighteenth green of a PGA tour event in Laurel Valley, not far from where the remnants of Flight 93 lay scattered across the Pennsylvania countryside. The homeland security czar, as the media soon started calling the position, was tasked with leading, overseeing, and coordinating a “comprehensive national strategy to safeguard [the United States] against terrorism and respond to any attacks that may come.”5 On October 8, 2001, Bush signed Executive Order 13228, formally establishing the OHS as well as the Homeland Security Council and outlining the nature of Ridge’s position.6 The council was to be the main coordinating body and was composed of the president; the vice president; the secretaries of the treasury, defense, health and human services, and transportation; the attorney general; the directors of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); and, of course, the director of homeland security.7 The OHS and Homeland Security Council were specifically designed to parallel the National Security Council (NSC).8 That same day, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas swore Ridge in as the first OHS director. In remarks preceding Ridge’s swearing-in, Bush Page 126 → said, “Together, we will confront the threat of terrorism. We will take strong precautions aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and prepare to respond effectively if they might come again. We will defend our country, and while we do so, we will not sacrifice the freedoms that make our land unique.” Bush went on to describe Ridge as the right person to coordinate the effort to develop new defenses to the nation’s new threats, noting his experience as a chief executive as well as his decorated combat service in Vietnam, and to reiterate Ridge’s mission: “to design a comprehensive, coordinated national strategy to fight terror here at home.”9 Bush drove this message home five days later when, during his weekly radio address, he reminded citizens that he had charged Ridge with “coordinating a comprehensive national effort to protect our country against terrorism, to frustrate terrorists’ plans, to help protect vulnerable points, and to prepare our response to potential threats,” again noting that Ridge would report directly to him and have the full support of the entire government.10 And yet again, during a November 8 national address from the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, he referenced Ridge’s responsibility to coordinate between all agencies at all levels of government and the private sector.11 The administration’s high-profile effort to convey the importance of Ridge’s position and the influence and resources it would command failed to convince all observers, however. As Richard Conley notes, a “cacophony of voices” called for more substantial government reorganization and questioned both the actual influence of the position and the extent to which OHS would be responsive to Congress, fearing that Ridge might serve beyond the reach of congressional accountability.12 To the chagrin of the White House, despite Bush’s vow to give Ridge a strong hand and repeated assurances by
administrative elites such as chief of staff Andy Card that Ridge would be empowered, a media narrative soon developed that emphasized Ridge’s perceived lack of clout, the difficulties of his nebulous new position, and the interagency turf battles that the creation of OHS had engendered.13 Without clear power over a statutorily authorized department, Ridge had limited formal ability to force cooperation across the dozens of agencies and countless government officials involved in the nation’s various homeland defense efforts.14 Indeed, it was not abundantly clear in the fall of 2001 exactly how many government entities were even involved in the policy effort Ridge was now supposed to coordinate; an Office of Management and Budget report noted that nearly 70 agencies funded counterterrorist activities (not including the Departments of Defense and State or the intelligence community), while other sources offered tallies that ranged from 40 to as many as 130 distinct administrative Page 127 → entities.15 This “administrative nightmare” was Ridge’s reality as the Bush administration worked to determine which agencies—if any—Ridge would rule.16 As former senator Gary Hart noted at the time, “No homeland czar can possibly hope to coordinate the almost hopeless dispersal of authority that currently characterizes the 40 or more agencies.”17 After being sworn in, Ridge stressed the importance of interagency cooperation, noting the need to “open lines of communication and support like never before between agencies and departments, between federal and state and local entities, and between the public and private sectors.” Ridge continued, “The only turf we should be worried about protecting is the turf we stand on.”18 Ten days later, Ridge gathered together a group of officials in the presence of the media to demonstrate their communication and collaboration and to emphasize his access to Bush—a mere “10, 15 paces away”—and how Bush had ordered relevant cabinet secretaries to defer to Ridge’s oversight efforts.19 Ridge’s statements and photo-op exploits did little to curb media and congressional doubts, however. As an October 2001 article in the Washington Post noted, On paper and in person, Tom Ridge seems the ideal person to take over protection of the homeland from enemies within and without. He has a benign face, a working-class background, a good record in Vietnam and in the House. In any circle but those of the federal cutthroats who guard their turf, his friendship with the commander in chief would be a boon. But the gladiators he is about to face devour czars.20 Skepticism persisted into November, with high-profile anxiousness coming from individuals like former drug czar Barry McCaffrey, who cited the “inadequate mechanism” Ridge possessed to fulfill the heightened expectations of his office and warned, “Six months from now, there’s a danger that he will turn into little more than the speaker’s bureau for homeland defense.”21 A week later, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) echoed McCaffrey’s concerns, voicing the consequences a weak homeland security czar could have for the nation: “Unless he’s given real teeth, he’ll get rolled two years from now if there is—and with God’s help, there won’t be—a second incident.”22 Similarly, according to Richard Clarke, “Tom Ridge had bought a pig in a poke when he agreed to come to Washington to help on homeland security. He assumed that he would have real authority as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, but he soon found that he could do nothing without first clearing it with White House Chief of Staff Andy Card.”23 As fall turned into winter and Ridge’s team was taking shape, a series Page 128 → of false starts and miscues on the part of Ridge and OHS began to cement a growing Keystone Kops image. Slow and controversial performance in the wake of an October anthrax emergency marked the tipping point when public commentary concerning Ridge and his office switched from concern about lack of influence to criticism of OHS actions.24 In November, a comment by Ridge concerning national preparedness led to a run on duct tape and countless potshots from latenight comedians: Ridge would later dub the incident the “Duct Tape Debacle.”25 In December, Ridge’s proposal for the National Border Administration, designed to streamline agencies dealing with border security, collapsed after meeting “predictable resistance” from the agencies potentially involved.26 That same month, OHS staffers began working to develop a national alert program using a color-coded warning system.27 It was officially unveiled as the Homeland Security Advisory System in March 2002 and almost immediately lampooned by journalists, members of Congress, Jay Leno, and the cast of Saturday Night Live, among many others.28 By that time, Ridge had made more serious and substantive waves by refusing to testify before the Senate
Appropriations Committee.29 Ridge’s refusal was based on the Bush administration’s belief that since he was technically a member of the White House advisory staff, not a Senate-confirmed cabinet officer, he was not obligated to provide testimony and that doing so would violate the prerogative of the executive branch.30 Bush elaborated on this decision at some length during a March 13, 2002, press conference: First of all, I’m not going to let Congress erode the power of the executive branch. I have a duty to protect the executive branch from legislative encroachment. I mean, for example, when the GAO demands documents from us, we’re not going to give them to them. These were privileged conversations. These were conversations when people come into our offices and brief us. Can you imagine having to give up every single transcript of what is advised me or the Vice President? Our advice wouldn’t be good and honest and open. And so I viewed that as an encroachment on the power of the executive branch. I have an obligation to make sure that the Presidency remains robust and the legislative branch doesn’t end up running the executive branch.31 The administration later compromised, allowing Ridge to meet privately with key members of Congress and to attend an informal session with a House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Government Reform Committee.32 Page 129 → The focus on OHS’s pitfalls often overshadowed the progress Ridge made in adding structural heft and policy substance. For example, on December 12, 2001, Ridge and his Canadian equivalent, foreign affairs minister John Manley, signed a “smart border declaration,” a thirty-point plan to build a border that enhanced business travel while closing it for terrorists.33 Eight days later Bush drew attention to Ridge’s efforts, saluting the czar’s work with Congress not only to garner twenty billion dollars in funding but also to win passage of new airline security legislation.34 In February, Ridge unveiled the first unified and defined homeland security budget in American history.35 Bush again attempted to showcase these efforts: at the February 2002 National Governors Association meeting, he heralded Ridge’s efforts to add $3.5 billion to the new budget for a first-responders initiative and $1.6 billion related to bioterrorism while ribbing his czar for having just been “sitting around” Pennsylvania “looking for something to do” when Bush asked him to come to Washington to help with homeland security.36 As Ridge’s efforts to draft the national homeland security strategy took form, Bush would take to the road, delivering speeches highlighting developments including the first-responders initiative in an effort not only to convey the administration’s actions on domestic security but also to help renew support for OHS.37 Nevertheless, by the spring of 2002, the growing clamor of concern about Ridge’s clout and performance and the burgeoning support for a plan by Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to create a new homeland security cabinet department, motivated the administration to execute a “sharp-elbowed pirouette” on the question of whether Ridge should continue to serve as a nonconfirmed czar. Changing course from their earlier position, administration officials led by Andy Card began formulating a plan to elevate homeland security to official cabinet status by way of comprehensive reorganization legislation passed by Congress.38 This small cadre of White House officials began meeting secretly in April to avoid meddling and outrage from Congress, relevant lobbyists, and “turfconscious” cabinet secretaries who might oppose the idea. After spending weeks studying alternatives, which ranged from eliminating the post entirely to creating a new cabinet-level department, Card’s team settled on creating a new “über-agency” that would “swallow up components of virtually every other cabinet department.”39 Bush would issue this new proposal during a national address in early June 2002.40 He sought to obtain maximum leverage over legislation affecting any reorganization of federal agencies that possessed domestic responsibilities related to the war on terror.41 Even more notable than the fact that the White House had suddenly made an aboutface from its previous Page 130 → insistence that Ridge “had all the authority he needed” was the dramatic nature of the switch: overnight, it seemed to all but those aware of Card and company’s secret machinations that the administration had gone from embracing a small advisory structure with only a few dozen staff to advocating massive bureaucratic reorganization, leapfrogging over any number of more moderate organizational approaches.42 The next day, in remarks preceding a press conference, Bush announced another reversal: he would
direct Ridge to testify before Congress, albeit on the need for the kind of reorganization for which Bush’s plan called.43 Much of the rest of June and July 2002 was spent emphasizing Ridge’s importance to Bush’s national security efforts—one of the “generals of the team”—and his involvement in the development of the reform proposal.44 Ridge was portrayed not as a failed czar but rather as the coauthor of a new and superior organizational plan to “meet the threats of today while planning for the unknown threats of tomorrow.”45 This effort to share authorship with Ridge contrasted with reports of his previous discomfort with the idea of creating—let alone heading—a cabinet-level department. According to Clarke, for example, Ridge said at the time that the last thing the administration needed to do was reorganize and create a new department; Clarke also suggests that Ridge loathed the idea of becoming a cabinet secretary.46 Substantial time and energy also went toward selling the plan itself, which Congress greeted with some general enthusiasm but more specific concerns. As legislators set about revising the administration’s proposal, an impasse arose over the question of whether employees of the new department would have the same union benefits and protections as other federal workers. Stripped of its pro-union considerations, the legislation eventually passed in a lame-duck session following an election in which Republicans regained control of the Senate, and on November 25, 2002, Bush signed into law the act creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and announced Ridge’s nomination as its first secretary.47 Ridge would receive unanimous confirmation in late January 2003 and take part in his first cabinet meeting as secretary of homeland security on January 28. At that point, the brief and “ineffectual” era of the homeland security czar had come to a close.48
John Negroponte, National Intelligence Czar (April 2005–February 2007) Even as questions concerning the institutionalization of homeland security were being addressed, controversy raged surrounding the failure of the nation’s Page 131 → several intelligence agencies to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Indeed, the legislation creating DHS did little to solve the problems with the nation’s intelligence-gathering and analysis capacity. Although a new center within DHS was tasked with analyzing all information available about terrorist threats and serving as an institutional “second opinion,” the bill did nothing to improve the accuracy of the government’s “first opinion.”49 Unsurprisingly, this task would soon receive its own share of congressional attention. In February 2002, the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, began an investigation that would last until its report was released at the end of that year. On November 27, 2002, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States—later known as the 9/11 Commission and, less often, as the Kean Commission, after its chair, former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean—was established. It, too, would release a comprehensive report, and it would appear on national bestseller lists when it was released in book form in July 2004. Although both reports reached numerous and complex conclusions, they shared the theme of the need for reform of the leadership of the nation’s intelligence community to create a “broad authority” that could improve coordination between the nation’s secret agencies.50 The 9/11 Commission would specifically recommend the appointment of a national intelligence director who possessed full budgetary and appointment powers over the most important agencies and organizations within the intelligence community.51 The original plan called for this director of national intelligence (DNI) to head an office located within the Executive Office of the President (EOP), making it an entity within the organizational White House.52 Numerous politicians—including Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who would go on to become President Bush’s Democratic opponent in the 2004 reelection campaign—quickly embraced the commission’s call for new intelligence community leadership. Kerry endorsed the reforms in toto, while other members of Congress offered support at a range of levels.53 President Bush’s embrace was more ambivalent as well as a bit slippery. Although he endorsed the establishment of the office in August 2004, overriding concerns raised by secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and acting director of central intelligence John McLaughlin, it was unclear what authority the president thought a potential
DNI should have. At an August 2004 press conference, Bush noted that the new intelligence czar should have budget coordination authority and be able to work with intelligence community agencies to set priorities, but he would soon contradict that public position by giving his (and the nation’s) final director of central intelligence, former representative and chair of the House Intelligence Committee Porter Page 132 → Goss (R-FL), the authority via executive order to “determine” budgets for most intelligence agencies.54 Bush would again state that the DNI would have “full budgetary authority” in September and yet again reverse course later in the fall when he sent Congress a proposal that specifically limited the DNI’s budgetary authority over military intelligence agencies.55 The force behind the president’s protection of the defense intelligence agencies’ autonomy was Rumsfeld, who, along with Vice President Dick Cheney, advocated frequently and effectively for limits on any non-Pentagonbased control over Department of Defense (DOD) activities. A “force to be reckoned with” inside the private sanctums of the White House, Rumsfeld was reported to have argued to the president that centralizing control over the intelligence community would not only be an ineffective way of strengthening the nation’s intelligence efforts but might also lead to a failure to provide sufficient support for military operations.56 At the same time, Rumsfeld was taking steps to buttress management of intelligence activities within DOD, creating a new position of undersecretary of intelligence to coordinate intra-Pentagon efforts.57 As Rumsfeld was making his internal case against the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations concerning the DNI, Congress was beginning to have its own way with the relevant proposals. Hearings in August and September led both legislative chambers to pass bills in October 2004. Described as “mammoth and complicated,” the two measures differed sharply, with the Senate bill generally calling for a robust intelligence czar with comprehensive budgetary and staffing authority and the House version limiting the DNI’s budgetary power and giving more clout not only to DOD but also the Department of Justice.58 Conflict persisted between the dueling visions of the new office past Election Day and into December. Finally, a month after Bush’s reelection, and thanks both to a deal that changed language concerning the intelligence czar’s inability to “abrogate” the military chain of command and a last-minute push by 9/11 victims’ families, Congress sent legislation to the president. On December 17, 2004, Bush signed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act into law, referring to the legislation as “the most dramatic reform of our nation’s intelligence capabilities since President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947.”59 Bush would go on to note that the bill would result in the creation of a more unified, coordinated, and effective intelligence community.60 Bush’s words would quickly prove more hopeful than prophetic, however, as the structural weakness of the DNI position—uncorrected if not exacerbated by the flaws in the compromise legislation—made its mission even more difficult to accomplish. Indeed, as one intelligence official concluded Page 133 → after examining the law, “It’s a black hole we’re looking into.”61 The effects of the legislation were largely organizational: the new DNI would take over as head of the intelligence community, and a new subordinate position solely focused on managing the CIA was also created.62 Prior to the 2004 legislation, the director of central intelligence simultaneously helmed the CIA and managed the intelligence community; in the new structure, the DNI “would be free of the weight of running an agency and would concentrate on running the community.”63 Nevertheless, the office itself would prove unequal to the task and lacking in the ability to knit together the disparate agencies that comprised the community.64 The bill constituted a squandered legislative opportunity: rather than creating a genuine national intelligence czar, “a spymaster who could overcome the twin banes of ineffective intelligence: interagency rivalry and parochialism,” the compromises that allowed the bill to pass also left the position statutorily enfeebled.65 Instead, opponents of the new position, most notably Rumsfeld, ensured that the legislation left the Pentagon chief with greater power than before and the intelligence community even more disjointed.66 As a result of the statutorily imposed weaknesses, critics balked at even referring to the DNI position as an actual director: “The DNI is not director of anything, nor is the role national or really even intelligence. Instead of coordinating and directing the sixteen members of the Intelligence Community, this role has been reduced to hectoring through small budget realignments and a barrage of questions issued through small budgets by nearly 2,000 bureaucrats with no well-defined purpose.”67 Nonetheless, with legislation passed, Bush had to turn his attention from creating the intelligence czar position to
staffing it. There were a range of ideal candidates for the new position, including the chair of the 9/11 Commission, Kean, and General Tommy Franks, though the administration would soon find out that the top choices were uninterested in accepting the post. The position was originally offered to and declined by Robert Gates, who had served as director of central intelligence during the last fourteen months of George H. W. Bush’s presidency and was currently the president of Texas A&M University.68 (Two years later, however, Gates would leave Aggieland to serve as Rumsfeld’s replacement at DOD.) Much of the unwillingness to answer Bush’s call to service was driven by awareness and concern over the weakness of the new position. Close examination showed that the position would have little budgetary power and would function primarily in an advisory capacity.69 By February 2005, however, Bush had found the person to take the new position: Ambassador John Negroponte (or, as Bush called him, “Ponte”).70 Page 134 → Speaking before a press conference, Bush said of Negroponte’s new role, “The Director’s responsibility is straightforward and demanding. John will make sure that those whose duty it is to defend America have the information we need to make the right decisions.” Bush went on to note that Negroponte would lead a “unified” intelligence community and serve as the president’s principal adviser on intelligence matters and that as DNI, Negroponte would also “have the authority to order the collection of new intelligence, to ensure the sharing of information among agencies, and to establish common standards for the intelligence community’s personnel” as well as the responsibility “to determine the annual budgets for all national intelligence agencies and offices and to direct how these funds are spent.”71 A longtime member of the U.S. diplomatic corps, Negroponte had already held multiple positions within the administration. In fact, his confirmation as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN), which had previously been considered controversial because of questions about relations between the United States and Honduran death squads during Negroponte’s time as ambassador to Honduras, sailed through the Senate shortly after 9/11, evidence of bipartisan support for the president’s need to get his national security team in place in the days after the terrorist attacks.72 Not long after his 2001 confirmation, Negroponte would play host in his New York residence to a meeting between Bush and the Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf.73 Negroponte’s performance as ambassador to the UN was rewarded in 2004, when he was selected as ambassador to Iraq, where he would serve until shortly after the disappointing results of Iraq’s first postwar election in January 2005.74 Although he had not played a part in drafting the new position, as opposed to Ridge’s experience in the creation of the homeland security position, Negroponte’s experience garnered him considerable support from commentators and Congress alike.75 In fact, the narrative following Negroponte’s selection featured greater anxiety over the position the compromise legislation had created than the man who would likely be the first to hold it. As former CIA director John Deutch said, “My worry is more about the position than about him,” a reflection an unnamed CIA division chief seconded: “It’s a crummy job. He’s got no troops, no power. But Negroponte is the kind of guy who’s always taken thankless jobs.”76 Others were optimistic that Negroponte would add clarity and toughness to an ambiguous and weakened institutional perch.77 Among the very few critics of the choice was an organization called September 11 Advocates, which was made up of families of 9/11 victims (the same group that had helped push the legislation out of Congress after it became bogged down in interchamber politics). The organization expressed concern Page 135 → that Negroponte had not previously worked in the intelligence community and that his long relationship with Bush might make him an “appeaser” rather than a source of “unvarnished intelligence.”78 Nevertheless, Negroponte was confirmed in May 2005 after pledging before Congress to be “assertive in his relations” with DOD and warding off the “familiar criticisms of his service in Honduras.”79 In response, Bush released a statement congratulating Negroponte and noting that as the nation’s first DNI, he would “lead a unified intelligence community as it reforms and adapts to the new challenges of the 21st century.”80 Speaking at Negroponte’s swearing-in ceremony, Bush would reiterate the points he had made when Negroponte was appointed and confirmed: Ambassador Negroponte’s position is one of the newest in the Government and one of the most demanding. Our Nation is at war, and John is making sure that those whose duty it is to defend America have the information we need to make the right decisions. He’s ensuring that our intelligence
agencies work as a single, unified enterprise. And he’s serving as my principal intelligence adviser. These are vital and urgent responsibilities, and John has what it takes to fulfill them all.81
Again, Bush’s optimism would prove unwarranted, as countless turf battles between Negroponte’s new office and DOD, the Department of Justice, and the CIA typically ended with new evidence of just how powerless the intelligence czar position was. Further, coordinating the disparate agencies even when no direct opposition existed proved challenging, with the CIA unexpectedly reluctant to coordinate all human intelligence operations and the FBI sluggish in getting its counterintelligence section off the ground.82 By October, the Pentagon had received authority to conduct its own covert operations and both DOD and the FBI were allowed to gather human intelligence independently, developments that limited the intelligence czar’s role to setting rules designed to avoid interagency squabbles.83 At the same time, while his office was losing control over the intelligence community, Negroponte acquiesced to administration-driven mission creep, letting the agency’s objectives be broadened to include “fostering the growth of democracies,” a new interventionist (and neoconservative) mission at odds with the previously defensive nature of the post.84 The winter of 2005–6 proved little better for Negroponte’s office as it received criticism from a variety of sources, among them neoconservatives disappointed with his public statements skeptical of the need for military action in Iran and members of the House Intelligence Committee concerned Page 136 → about the “alleged creation of a bureaucratic overlay above the intelligence agencies.”85 The situation became particularly dramatic in May 2006, when Negroponte finally pushed Goss out of the CIA director position after months of conflict over personnel and mission matters. Goss was replaced by Negroponte’s deputy, U.S. Air Force general Michael Hayden.86 At the same time, however, Negroponte was becoming embroiled in a growing controversy over warrantless wiretapping.87 And although Negroponte apparently was unaware of it, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had also suggested that Negroponte be replaced.88 Another seven months would pass, however, before Negroponte was approached about leaving his perch as intelligence czar for a new role in the Department of State.89 The months between Goss’s resignation and Negroponte’s move to Foggy Bottom featured a balance of substantive accomplishments and continually eroding authority. Despite the recurring turf battles and limited budget power, Negroponte claimed success concerning civil liberties protections for alleged terrorists and emphasized that he had implemented seventy of the seventy-four recommendations suggested by the RobbSilberman Commission, which Bush had created in February 2004 in response to the Iraq Survey Group’s failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (The group’s formal name was the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, and it was chaired by former Senator Charles Robb [D-VA] and retired federal judge and ambassador Laurence Silberman.)90 Other successes during Negroponte’s tenure included the creation of a National Intelligence Priorities Framework, designed to make sure intelligence analysts and collectors received clear requests from policymakers who needed information; the establishment of “mission managers” charged with identifying and coordinating expertise on a series of key national security issues; the creation of a new National Counterproliferation Center and the strengthening of the National Counterterrorism Center; the creation of the Open Source Center, which used both internal and external sources to improve intelligence analysis; the creation of the first intelligence community–wide security badge; the creation of the national Digital Intelligence Library; the implementation of various programs designed to improve interagency engagement; and a significant upgrade to the preparation and delivery of the president’s daily intelligence briefing.91 Negroponte took to this last task with particular enthusiasm—to the point that some critics complained that Negroponte perceived himself too much as chief analyst/briefer and not enough as an organizational manager.92 In retrospect, this effort makes sense, particularly with the constraints on his Page 137 → authority in other ways, as it provided arguably his best opportunity to influence administration policy.93 Despite these successes, however, when Negroponte decamped to his new position as deputy secretary of state, his broader efforts to rebuild the efficacy of the intelligence community were far from complete. From the perspective of those who felt the nation needed a strong intelligence czar, his successors fared little better and typically worse. Negroponte’s replacement, Admiral John McConnell, was initially well positioned for success, not only as Negroponte’s original selection to serve as his deputy but also as the personal choice of Vice President Cheney
and head of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War.94 The same structural weaknesses would hinder McConnell, however, and though Bush attempted to bolster the position’s clout via Executive Order 12333 (which encouraged managers in each of the intelligence agencies to follow the intelligence czar’s leadership), the position itself remained cursed by ambiguous and oft-undermined authority and a meager staff, “an isolated spymaster and a new, hollowed-out seventeenth spy agency.”95 As Loch K. Johnson wrote, Even McConnell, after serving two months as the DNI, could only offer a euphemistic description of a job that he had clearly found quite unwieldy. It was, in his words, a “challenging management condition.” In particular, he complained about his inability to dismiss incompetent people. “You cannot hire or fire,” he told a reporter. The Admiral soon announced a “100 Day Plan,” in which he proposed a searching review of the DNI’s authority and an ongoing effort to integrate the components of the intelligence “community.” He vowed: “We’re going to examine it; we’re going to argue about it; we’re going to make some proposals.” Appearing before the Senate in February 2008, he further testified: “Our current model . . . does not have operational control over the elements that conduct intelligence activities. The DNI also does not have direct authority over the personnel in the sixteen agencies in the community.”96 The intelligence czar in Barack Obama’s administration would not fare better. In fact, Admiral Denis Blair would lose an early battle with CIA director Leon Panetta over key personnel authority, as Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden would side with Panetta after he had ordered his CIA personnel to disregard an order from Blair despite Panetta’s clear subordinate role in the intelligence community according to the 2004 reform Page 138 → legislation.97 During the 2010 confirmation hearings for Blair’s replacement, former U.S. Air Force general James Clapper had to vow to build better relations with Panetta.98 The experiences of Negroponte and his successors show that despite the clear conclusions of multiple high-level commissions concerning intelligence after 9/11 and the efforts of Congress in the 2004 reform legislation, “the intelligence overhaul . . . did little to end longstanding rivalries or clearly delineate the chain of command within American intelligence bureaucracy.”99 In fact, the opposite occurred: control of the intelligence community became more ambiguous and opaque as well as more complex thanks to the creation of yet another agency. Rather than reverse the problems associated with national intelligence following 9/11, the creation of the intelligence czar arguably exacerbated them. Particularly troubling was the fact that as Negroponte was ending his stint as the nation’s first intelligence czar, the Bush administration was confronting the need for more robust leadership and coordination with respect to another national security challenge, the flailing prosecution of the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Douglas Lute, War Czar (June 2007–2013) In December 2006, the same month that Negroponte was asked to move from DNI to a new position in the State Department, a blue-ribbon commission known as the Iraq Study Group tasked by Congress to assess the status of the war in Iraq released a report that found the situation “grave and deteriorating” and urged significant changes in the way the war was being prosecuted.100 The commission, which had been appointed in March 2006 and was cochaired by former secretary of state James Baker III and former representative Lee Hamilton (D-NY), had been a congressional response to the war’s increasing unpopularity as the result of a drumbeat of bad news and perceptions that the nation was at best stuck in the mire of an unwinnable war and at worst losing it. By the early spring of 2007, the administration and the military had taken steps to incorporate many of the report’s suggestions and started drawing up plans to increase significantly the nation’s troop presence in Iraq. At the same time, the administration was also pondering organizational reform designed to improve coordination of the war effort, a restructuring that would involve not only the Department of Defense but also several other executive agencies and the State Department. The deterioration of the war effort was as much a reflection of the growing inability of the leaders Page 139 → of these bureaucracies to act in concert as it was of the on-the-ground dynamics. Throughout March and early April 2006, the White House quietly searched for the ideal person to lead a new effort to improve interagency coordination, but by mid-April media outlets had learned of the head-hunting
effort.101 According to a Washington Post article that broke the story, the administration wanted a high-powered czar in charge of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but was unable to find anyone both well qualified and willing to accept the position.102 The paper reported that the administration’s interest in the new position stemmed ongoing concern about the coordination of civilian and military affairs that had forced the White House to referee disputes among different organizations. The article also noted that multiple retired four-star generals had turned down the administration, a reflection of a lack of clarity about the administration’s strategy going forward as well as the prevailing view that taking such a position would be pointless as long as hawkish Vice President Dick Cheney was able to sway the president against any reforms he did not like.103 As news of the potential position spread—and with it, denials from the White House that the administration was having trouble filling the post—more information came to light about what the job would actually entail. According to press secretary Dana Perino, “We have a significant amount of work to do at the National Security Council to make sure that the policies are being implemented across the national security agencies, of which there are many. So one consideration is to place someone of just a slightly higher profile that can help cut through the bureaucracy and make sure that these policies are being implemented to their best ability.”104 The administration, which eschewed the term war czar, later announced that the new “execution manager” would communicate daily with important military commanders, ambassadors, White House and agency staff, and the president.105 The task called for “a little bit of internal diplomacy and a lot of head-knocking” and required, according to national security adviser Stephen Hadley, who had spearheaded the drive for the position and the person who would hold it, someone with “a lot of stature within the government who can make things happen.”106 The creation of the war czar position was designed to help address the long-unanswered question of who could take charge of managing and solving the problems that had plagued the Bush administration since the start of the Iraq War. Clarifying this leadership role was particularly important as the military prepared to launch a major troop surge there; however, not everyone in Washington was pleased by the announcement.107 National security expert David Rothkopf dismissed the plan: “I wouldn’t even call it a Hail Page 140 → Mary pass. It’s kind of a desperation move.”108 Democrats were particularly critical, suggesting that Hadley should already be handling the responsibilities of any new czar.109 Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), preparing to run for president, mocked the position: “For the life of me, I don’t know what this is supposed to mean.”110 Nevertheless, by mid-May 2007, Lieutenant General Douglas E. Lute had agreed to accept the position. According to Bob Woodward’s account, Lute’s willingness to take a position that several other military leaders had declined can be attributed to a promise from Gates that Lute “would be taken care of later with an important assignment from the [Joint Chief of Staff] chairman.”111 Lute, then in charge of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would initially maintain his active military status and was subject to Senate confirmation, not because the position required it but because it is mandated for all new assignments for three- and four-star generals.112 Following confirmation, Lute became deputy national security adviser under Hadley and received the rank of assistant to the president. Lute was a noteworthy and somewhat surprising choice given both his “streak of daring independence” and his earlier opposition to the troop surge in Iraq.113 The administration made a significant effort to herald Lute’s selection. In a statement announcing the nomination, Bush noted, In his new position, General Lute will be the full-time manager for the implementation and execution of our strategies for Iraq and Afghanistan and will manage the interagency policy development process for these two theaters, working closely with my National Security Adviser, Steve Hadley, members of my Cabinet, and me. Nothing is more important than getting Admiral Fallon, General Petraeus, American commanders in Afghanistan, and Ambassadors Crocker and Wood what they need, and Douglas Lute can make sure that happens quickly and reliably.114 The White House communications operation also made an unprecedented effort to promote the new appointment, handing out a PR fact sheet, “Lt. General Lute Is Taking on a Vital Mission at a Critical Time,” that emphasized Lute’s access to the president and authority to achieve his objectives, supported by quotes from top administration officials such as General David Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker.115 The extraordinary nature of
this effort was reinforced during a May 16, 2007, press conference when a reporter asked press secretary Tony Snow about the fact sheet and, particularly, the prepared quotes, noting that such a document represented a new development in the White House’s outreach efforts.116 Page 141 → The Senate confirmed Lute’s nomination six weeks later, and he spent much of the summer trekking to Capitol Hill to buck up Republican members of Congress and urge them not to abandon the administration’s plans for restructuring the war effort. The first few months of his service were generally not noteworthy, with the exception of a brief furor that raged after he mentioned in August that the United States should institute a draft to relieve pressure on the overtaxed military, a comment he quickly walked back.117 By the fall of 2007, Lute’s portfolio began to take on substantive heft as Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, delegated to him responsibility for negotiating status-of-forces agreements with Iraq.118 Indeed, at a mid-October press gaggle with Perino, an Iraqi government spokesman gave Lute and his team credit for improving cooperation and coordination between the two nations and their various efforts on the ground in Iraq.119 President Bush and Iraqi prime minister Nouri alMaliki would eventually sign a declaration of principles agreement on November 26, 2007, the first part of a three-step negotiation process. Praise for Lute’s efforts would turn to scorn from other quarters the following month, however, when Lute commented during another press gaggle that “the administration did not foresee a prospective agreement with Iraq having ‘the status of a formal treaty which would then bring us to formal negotiations or formal inputs from the Congress,’” provoking cries that the administration was doing an end run around the legislative branch.120 The National Security Council, Secretary Rice, and Secretary Gates subsequently had to play down the comment while the administration endeavored to display greater engagement with the legislature.121 As the final year of the Bush administration commenced in 2008, Lute found himself a member of an informal cohort of like-minded administration officials who began to work together to reverse the Afghanistan initiatives of some of the more hawkish members of the administration. Known as the Shura—an Arabic word for “council”—the group included Lute, Eliot A. Cohen (a top deputy of Secretary Rice in the State Department), and others “who did not share the ‘rosy’ view of Afghanistan progress (i.e., ‘drift into chaos’)” held by administration officials such as ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood and the commanding general there, Dan McNeill.122 Rather than embrace Wood and McNeill’s “steady as she goes” perspective, Lute and other members of the Shura began to believe, based on several trips to Afghanistan, that the efforts there were on an increasingly troubling downward trajectory and that changes needed to be made.123 By the summer of 2008, Bush apparently had reached the same conclusion, and he ordered Lute to prepare an exhaustive, “soup-to-nuts” Afghanistan Page 142 → strategy review.124 As Woodward notes, “Go deep, go wide, Bush had said, get to the bottom of where we are after seven years. Lute was not entirely sure whether he was on a fact-finding or a rescue mission. Perhaps both. He wanted to see the entire horizon and the ground truth in a way that he couldn’t from a Washington office.”125 Paul Miller, a CIA veteran detailed to work for Lute from the agency’s Directorate for Intelligence, noted that the 2008 Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategic Review marked the first time in several years that officials who believed Iraq was the nation’s strategic priority felt they could afford to devote time and attention to Afghanistan.126 Ordering the review constituted a dramatic turn for the administration, which had previously been interested in focusing on events in Iraq. Now that the war effort there had started to turn around following the troop surge, Bush was willing to invest significant administrative resources to see how a similar reversal of fortune could be orchestrated in Afghanistan, even though his presidency would end in a few months. To start the review, Lute traveled with a “high-powered” team from the Departments of State and Defense and the CIA to Afghanistan to assess the situation.127 What he found was “about 10 distinct but overlapping wars in progress.”128 According to Woodward, First, there was the conventional war run by a Canadian general in charge of the region for NATO. Second, the CIA was conducting its own covert paramilitary war. The Green Berets and the Joint
Special Operations Command each had their own wars, tracking down high-value targets. The training and equipment command ran its own operations. The Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Directorate for Security, the country’s CIA-sponsored intelligence agency, were also fighting separate wars. By placing different icons on a map of the regional command that included Kandahar, he could see how the ten different wars were sprinkled around. They looked like the scribbles of a child. Nobody was in charge. There was no unity of effort or command.129
Once back in Washington, Lute began a series of nearly twenty intensive meetings lasting a combined forty-five hours with representatives of the agencies and departments involved in Afghanistan efforts, including the Central Command; the Joint Staff at the DOD; General David McKiernan, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan; Ambassador Wood; and General Petraeus.130 Lute faced an accelerated timetable, with Bush wanting a Page 143 → report by late fall to enable the next president to hit the ground running in the effort to turn Afghanistan around. On November 26, 2008, Bush convened one of his final NSC meetings to consider the report Lute had submitted.131 About twenty-five pages long, the report concluded that the United States would not prevail in Afghanistan unless it resolved three ongoing problems: governance had to be improved and corruption curtailed, the opium trade needed to be controlled, and Pakistani safe havens needed to be reduced and eventually eliminated.132 The third problem was particularly urgent, since the report suggested that Pakistan was more strategically troubling than Afghanistan because of the enemy sanctuaries there. Lute’s review encouraged the administration to increase nonmilitary aid to Pakistan while attempting to stabilize its economy as a way of fending off that problem.133 By the time Bush’s NSC met to discuss the report, however, the government was already beginning to plan the transition to the newly elected administration of Barack Obama, who would take office on January 20, 2009. As a result—and, some observers contend, particularly because of the report’s critical nature—Bush ultimately decided to keep the document classified.134 It then became the “principal transition document” to prepare the Obama team.135 As Inauguration Day neared and the president-elect’s national security team was announced, Obama surprised many by retaining Lute.136 Lute would no longer serve as an assistant to the president and report directly to the Oval Office, though; instead, he would report to Obama’s new national security adviser, General James Jones. Lute would, however, continue coordinating Afghanistan policy for the new administration, though his clout concerning Iraq policy was limited. Whether the administration would follow the advice provided in Lute’s strategy review remained an open question, however, as the new president called for yet another strategic review, this one chaired by CIA veteran Bruce Riedel.137 Lute would be a member of Riedel’s review team, which was cochaired by Michele Flournoy and Richard Holbrooke, whom the president had appointed as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the State Department, a choice that sharpened the focus on Afghanistan while complicating interagency coordination.138 In March, Riedel’s report would be released, yielding new questions and creating tensions within the administration regarding troop allocations. The idea to replicate in Afghanistan the surge effort that many believed had proved so successful in turning Iraq around was gaining momentum, but many people questioned whether the numbers suggested by the Pentagon would fully support the general policy initiative recommended in Riedel’s Page 144 → report. Throughout the spring and summer and into the fall, the administration held meetings about a new national strategy for Afghanistan: the situation largely boiled down to a fight between the military establishment, which advocated a larger troop footprint, and a cohort of skeptics led by Vice President Biden, who believed that the president was getting inadequate and misleading information from surge proponents. Lute would later brief Obama behind the scenes regarding errors in the pro-surge argument that the new president, who had no previous experience with military affairs, was not grasping.139 After the president had made his decision about the strategy, effectively finding a middle ground between those who wanted a large surge and those who wanted none at all, Lute continued to help the president beat back efforts by the Pentagon, which was still pushing for its original allocation goals.140 At a November 28, 2009, meeting, Lute informed the president of four risks in the ongoing war: Pakistan, the source of several problems without apparent solution; Afghanistan and its endemic
corruption; the Afghan National Security Forces, which required an extensive investment of potentially tens of billions of dollars; and international support, which continued to dwindle.141 Lute advised the president that these problems were cumulative and that the prospect for accomplishing what the military was advising was low, while the president would face tremendous political consequences. Lute’s efforts to support the president would not go unnoticed; later, Michael Mullen, the chair of the Joint Chiefs, would extend his displeasure to Lute, noting that Mullen and the secretary of defense believed that Lute was not “always helpful in the course of the review.”142 Following the completion of the review and the determination of the new Afghanistan strategy, Lute’s role in the Obama White House gradually faded, at least in terms of its public profile. Much of his work throughout 2010 and 2011 consisted of organizing and supporting key international trips, both for the administration abroad and for Afghani elites to the United States. In May 2010, he was instrumental in organizing a multiday visit to Washington by President Hamid Karzai and several other Afghan officials; six months later, he played a similar role in the nation’s delegation to the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where it was announced that the United States would be turning over security responsibilities to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Lute also played key roles in the organization of Obama’s December 2010 trip to Afghanistan, the signing of a new strategic partnership agreement in May 2012, and in arrangements for another Karzai trip to the White House in January 2013. Lute’s status as a holdover from the Bush administration, his weakened relationship with the military brass following his opposition to their Afghanistan surge plan in 2009, and the lower profile of the war czar Page 145 → post following the implementation of the new strategy meant the decline of Lute’s position and profile in the Obama administration. In early 2012, he was later passed over for a position as head of the U.S. European Command, but in May 2013, Obama announced Lute’s nomination as ambassador to NATO, and in August 2013 he was sworn in.143
Conclusion The harrowing events of September 11, 2001, created a series of major and often unprecedented policy and administration problems with which the United States spent the next decade wrestling. From organizing homeland security operations to coordinating a diffuse intelligence apparatus to managing two deteriorating wars, the Bush administration contended with its share of administrative challenges. In each case, President Bush turned to a czar to help coordinate these efforts. Significant differences existed between the cases, to be sure. Homeland security czar Tom Ridge eventually became the first secretary of the newly created Department of Homeland Security, though not until after he created a constitutional ruckus by refusing to testify before Congress while a member of the president’s staff. Congress then created national intelligence czar John Negroponte’s position, though the statutory authority he possessed did little to improve his influence and authority within the administration, a problem that has become more acute for each of his successors. Finally, war czar Douglas Lute, who served under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, received Senate confirmation but an unclear portfolio—one that waxed and waned along with the dynamics of administration preferences and war conditions. Each of these individuals made significant contributions to the administrations they served, but only when they had the president’s ear and were working on projects high on the presidential agenda. When those conditions were not present, their influence—and purpose—suffered. Further, as they operated in an era of increasing polarization, all of these czars encountered significant partisan opposition—whether to their actions or to the creation of their positions—a phenomenon that would worsen during the Obama years. Gauging Success Despite the differences in how and why these various positions were created and the kinds of individuals the Bush administration recruited to fill them, the Page 146 → three narratives share one commonality: role confusion and an accompanying lack of credibility with the individuals and agencies the czars were supposed to be coordinating. Concerned observers as well as critics routinely spoke out about the lack of clarity each position initially entailed. A secondary symptom of that lack of clarity was the failure of these positions to be invested with the influence necessary to wrangle powerful entities such as the military and the numerous agencies that populate the intelligence community.
Although this problem was nominally corrected when the homeland security czar became head of the Department of Homeland Security, both the intelligence and war czar positions remained afflicted throughout the duration of the George W. Bush administration and into Barack Obama’s presidency. This fact was hardly secret; indeed, it helps explain why the Bush administration had such a difficult time filling both posts despite their alleged importance and visibility. Most people in the mix for those positions understood the inherent weaknesses and chose to avoid the almost certain failure that accepting the mission would bring. Why? The roots of this recurring problem lie in how each of the post-9/11 czarships came to be. In each case, the Bush administration was backed into an administrative corner, responding first to tragic developments and later to commission reports that demanded additional bureaucratic controls on national security policy management. Although one cannot dispute 9/11’s importance for Bush as a president, his administration only begrudgingly created the institutions sought by groups ranging from the 9/11 Commission to the families of victims. In that light, it is not surprising that the resulting institutions would be less than robust in their composition. Negroponte’s subsequent lack of success in corralling the intelligence community was a function of this lack of robustness, which was only exacerbated when Obama allowed the CIA director, Panetta, to disregard intelligence czar Denis Blair. Similarly, Douglas Lute was the czar no one wanted—not the Bush White House, nor the military he was charged with overseeing—meaning that his efforts were mostly symbolic and largely consisted of authoring policy reviews, most of which were generally ignored. Both cases underscore a single observation: the source of the rationale for a new czar matters almost as much as who that czar is and how the position is constructed. Presidential intent can matter a great deal with regard to czars but can also engender significant controversy.
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CHAPTER 7 War of the Czars The Battle over Barack Obama’s White House Staff After the 2008 election, as Barack Obama’s transition team prepared for the new administration, the presidentelect was well attuned to the challenges he was soon to inherit, including a staggering economy and the ongoing prosecution of two unpopular wars overseas. Something he likely did not foresee as a looming issue of national controversy, however, was the staffing process for his administration. Nevertheless, as the incoming forty-fourth president began assembling the personnel he would need to help run the executive branch, scrutiny of his staff choices began to intensify in an unprecedented manner, particularly with regard to a growing crescendo of concern over his administration’s alleged reliance on policy czars. From the AM radio waves to the well of the U.S. Senate, formidable critics representing a wide range of partisan preferences and institutional perspectives emerged in the weeks leading to his inauguration and the months following it. The story behind the war of words that erupted over Obama’s czars has received relatively little scholarly attention. Illuminating the dynamics behind the controversy provides important insights that help clarify the confusion and controversy that surrounded these members of his administration. This chapter traces the origins of the controversy, beginning with a brief comparison of the Bush and Obama transition experiences, particularly with respect to the different contexts under which these presidents assumed office and how these contexts affected the responses to their staffing approaches. The chapter then turns to the criticism, leveled by many on the right end of the ideological spectrum, of Obama’s use of czars, which played into a story line in which Obama was allegedly overly obsessed with executive power and using it to push a liberal “big government” agenda. Criticism also came Page 148 → from the left, particularly from Democratic legislators who saw Obama’s use of czar personnel as an affront to congressional power and oversight of the executive branch. Finally, the chapter assesses the administration’s response to and role in the controversy.
Prelude to the Czar Controversy One of the more surprising aspects about the czar controversy that arose under the Obama administration was that although many of George W. Bush’s staffers were also tagged with the czar moniker, the former president was largely spared much of the outcry that later surrounded Obama. Bush’s transition into office had its own challenges, largely related to the recount debacle in Florida, and many opponents initially had difficulty accepting the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore. Bush’s staffing efforts during the transition period, however, largely transpired without major criticism. In some ways, precisely because most of the postelection media attention focused on the election controversy, Bush’s transition team assembled an executive staff without much fanfare and avoided much of the speculation and criticism over personnel picks that previous administrations had experienced.1 In fact, Bush’s transition process received notably high marks across the political spectrum. Key members of the Democratic Party even showered President Bush with praise for his low-key transition into the Oval Office. Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), for example, commented, “The first few days are certainly encouraging. And a first impression can last you awhile.”2 Eight years later, Barack Obama experienced pointed criticism during his transition into office. This criticism was born out of a general narrative that first caught traction with conservative radio and was later embraced, to a certain extent, by the Republican establishment.3 Critics depicted Obama as a big-government liberal intent on using his position to expand executive power and the role of the federal government in people’s lives. As this story line unfolded, it soon became apparent that personnel nicknamed czars would fall among the reproaches leveled against Obama for excessive executive overreach. Criticism of the president’s staff, the media’s coverage of that criticism, and the administration’s response to it
subsequently resulted in a war of words, often featuring rhetorical exchanges in which confusion and misperception seemed to win out over the administration’s attempts to clarify and defend its position. Administration officials occasionally appeared unsure of their position on the matter; at other times, the White House offered Page 149 → conflicting responses. Unsurprisingly, the criticism leveled at the administration proved effective in drawing attention to the role and influence that key administrative personnel should play in serving the White House.
Czar Criticism from the Right Throughout his campaign and transition, President Obama’s harshest critics on the far right labeled him a “big government” liberal bent on suppressing states’ rights while moving toward a “socialist” agenda that threatened the fabric of U.S. democracy.4 In doing so, these critics sought to tie such claims to the issue of czar appointments. (While numerous critics of the incoming administration attributed the alleged proliferation of czars to Obama’s supposed affinity for socialism, linking the administrative staffing practice with the history of the Soviet Union, most overlooked the fact that the socialist revolution had been waged against a czarist regime, not on its behalf. More historically savvy critics dodged this gaffe.) On January 14, 2009, just a week before Obama’s inauguration, Sean Hannity published a report, “Socialist Secret in Obama’s Transition Team?,” in which he noted that the president-elect’s “climate czar,” Carol Browner, had previously led a Sustainable World Society Commission for the Socialist International organization.5 Hannity cited as his source a Washington Times story that documented the commission’s existence and noted the removal of Browner’s name and biography from the group’s website.6 Hannity included commentary from top Republicans and Obama’s transition team that had also been cited in the initial Washington Times article. Antonia Ferrier, a spokesperson for House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH), raised various questions concerning Browner’s involvement with the Socialist International, among them, “Does she agree with the group’s positions on global governance—that the United States should abdicate its international leadership to international organizations? Does she support its position that the international community should be the ultimate arbiter of climate change policy?”7 In response, Obama’s transition spokesperson, Nick Shapiro, suggested that it was inaccurate to assume that all commission members were socialists: in addition to Browner, “the Commission for a Sustainable World Society includes world leaders from a variety of political parties, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who succeeded Tony Blair, in serving as vice president of the convening organization.”8 Undaunted, conservative critics used the incident as a backdrop for further allegations that Obama had a hidden socialist agenda. Most notably, Page 150 → Glenn Beck used his cable and radio shows to demand that President Obama explain his use of czars and whether they were intended to promulgate a shadow government.9 As the czar controversy gained traction, Beck began compiling a detailed list of everyone he could identify as an Obama administration czar, airing numerous segments on the subject. The list, first posted online in the summer of 2009 and periodically updated, included each person’s czar nickname, formal title, salary, superior, appointment date, and other information.10 By September, other outlets such as Politico began posting their own czar lists.11 Beck also posted a June 2009 article in which he decried what he considered Page 151 → executive overreach that would effectively undermine the country’s system of checks and balances: So, what’s the problem? I mean, czars can cut through the bureaucracy and get stuff done, right? Right . . . but who do they answer to? They don’t need to be confirmed by the Senate; they rarely go before committees; they can claim “executive privilege” when asked to testify, and they’re accountable to no one but the president himself. But look at the power we’ve handed to these unelected, unconfirmed people. On the low end, you’ve got the “Great Lakes czar,” who has Page 152 → a budget of $475 million. But on the high end, you’ve got the economic czar, regulatory czar and government performance czar that can oversee trillions of dollars. In between you’ve got a “drug czar,” “terrorism czar,” “urban affairs czar,” “technology czar,” “intelligence czar,” “cyber czar” and six other “czars”—we could really use a “czar czar” to stay on top of [it]. Could our founders really have been dumb enough to write a Constitution that would allow this to happen? Of course not. The
Constitution says that all revenue bills must start in the House and that oversight is one of the most important jobs of the legislative branch—two concepts that are now being shredded. Besides, if this isn’t just a power grab, then why do we need a “health czar” when we already have a confirmed health and human services secretary? Why do we need a “border czar” when we have [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and a secretary of homeland security? Why do we need a “car czar” when we already have Treasury and Energy Departments? The answer: Because none of that bureaucracy answers directly to the president . . . the czars do. Everyone else answers to you. The czars don’t.12
By fall, criticism had moved beyond the echo chambers of conservative talk radio and was circulating widely among top Republican politicians and other major figures on the right.13 Some of these individuals focused mainly on issues of transparency and accountability, while others decried what they viewed as a big-government takeover of the nation. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) argued that in “creating these czars that are insulated from accountability, whose work is not transparent,” Obama had taken a step in the wrong direction and had contradicted his pledge to have a more open administration.14 Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) chimed in with similar complaints about lack of accountability as she geared up for her gubernatorial race against Rick Perry, at one point even publishing a Washington Post op-ed in which she urged the Obama administration to submit each of these alleged czars to the Senate to ensure accountability.15 Around the same time, Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) called for “the 44 appointed ‘czars’ of the Obama Administration” to testify before Congress “about their roles and responsibilities.”16 Going a step further, Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) proposed a bill to curb Obama’s “parallel government.”17 Kingston’s Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act of 2009 stipulated that any White House czars operating without the consent and approval of the Senate would be stripped of their taxpayer-funded salaries.18
Such criticism and congressional pushback from Republicans was largely Page 153 → absent during the George W. Bush presidency. Indeed, in a surprising turnaround, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and others who had publicly supported Bush’s “AIDS czar” and “manufacturing czar” suddenly changed their tunes when they observed that about three dozen of Obama’s personnel were being tagged with the moniker.19 Although most Republicans either ignored or denied similarities between Bush and Obama’s personnel (at times distinguishing between the ways the two presidents had used such personnel), others, among them Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and House minority whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), at least acknowledged the broader historical trend toward czar appointments amid the ongoing debate over Obama’s exercise of executive power.20 The widespread criticism painted all “czar” appointments in a new and negative light. And although some commentators on the right recognized the historical roots of the practice of using such personnel, the overarching conservative narrative held that Obama was employing certain staff as part of a larger effort to engage in an unprecedented expansion of executive power.21 Other Washingtonians, including a number of key Democratic legislators, questioned Obama’s use of czar personnel for other reasons.
Czar Criticism from the Left Where Republicans had employed an ideological and partisan line of argument and supplemented it with concerns about institutional balance of power between the executive and legislative branches, Democrats’ concerns focused squarely on the dangers of institutional imbalance caused by Obama’s potential executive overreach. In February 2009, around the same time that conservative pundits were lambasting the new president on the czar controversy, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) ignited opposition from the left by chastising the president for appointing executive branch czars in a manner Byrd felt undermined proper legislative authority: The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House Office staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.22 Although Byrd was already well known for railing against the general growth of the size and influence of presidential staffs, this criticism more Page 154 → specifically targeted “czar” personnel, whom he viewed not only as unnecessary and ineffective additions to the White House but also as unconstitutionally appointed.23 Byrd claimed that reliance on czars would reduce transparency and accountability, since “they rarely testify before congressional committees and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege.”24 As Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution noted, “It [was] important that a Democratic senator took this step with a Democratic president. . . . Byrd always places institutional interests over partisan and ideological concerns.”25 Byrd’s fiery criticism changed the trajectory of the debate from a partisan attack by Republicans into one where even Democratic legislators could question the president’s actions. Indeed, Byrd’s formal complaint was followed by additional criticism and questioning from other Democrats and well-known left-leaning figures, including Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), Representative Dan Boren (D-OK), and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT). In September 2009, Boren called for Congress to remove any czar personnel appointed without approval through the Senate confirmation process.26 In particular, Boren cited Anthony “Van” Jones (green jobs czar) and Cass Sunstein (regulatory czar) as personifying the problems with allowing unconfirmed advisers to hold powerful positions in government. At the time, Jones was in the midst of stepping down from his post, news that Boren welcomed. However, his continued criticism of Sunstein seemed a bit odd given that the “regulatory czar” did not fall into the category of unconfirmed czar; in fact, Sunstein was a Senateconfirmed appointee who held the official title of director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget. A month later, Senator Feingold invited the Obama administration to send a witness to appear before a hearing by the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and address constitutional concerns and answer questions regarding the kind of authority that had been delegated to such personnel. Feingold did not necessarily oppose the personnel outright; rather, he sought to use the hearing to create an atmosphere of greater transparency and clarity
that could help calm the waters among the public, media observers, and his fellow legislators. To Feingold’s disappointment, the Obama administration refused to send anyone to testify:27 The White House decided not to accept my invitation to send a witness to this hearing to explain its position on the constitutional issues we will address today. That’s unfortunate. It’s also a bit ironic since one of the concerns that has been raised about these officials is that Page 155 → they will thwart congressional oversight of the Executive Branch. . . . The White House seems to want to fight the attacks against it for having too many “czars” on a political level rather than a substantive level. I don’t think that’s the right approach. If there are good answers to the questions that have been raised, why not give them instead of attacking the motives or good faith of those who have raised questions? 28
At the same time, Feingold noted the historical origins of such personnel and his take on why a general sense of unease might have arisen among the public: I should note that while the term “czar” has taken on a somewhat negative connotation in the media in the past few months, several presidents, including President Obama, have used the term themselves to describe the people they have appointed. I assume they have done so to show the seriousness of their effort to address a problem and their expectations of those they have asked to solve it. But historically, a czar is an autocrat, and it’s not surprising that some Americans feel uncomfortable about supposedly all-powerful officials taking over areas of the government.29 Feingold added, “It’s not good enough to simply say, ‘Well, George Bush did it too.’”30 Feingold concluded by acknowledging the president’s prerogative in appointing czar personnel to serve the White House while voicing the importance of congressional oversight as a means to ensure that such appointees do not overstep their legal authority: No one disputes that the president is allowed to hire advisors and aides. In fact, the president is entitled, by statute, to have as many as fifty high-level employees working for him and making top salaries. But Congress and the American people have the right to ensure that the positions in our government that have been delegated legal authority are also the positions that are exercising that authority. If—and I am not saying this is the case—individuals in the White House are exercising legal authority or binding the executive branch without having been given that power by Congress, that’s a problem. And Congress also has the right to verify that any directives given by a White House czar to a Cabinet member are directly authorized by the president.31 Page 156 → Following Feingold’s lead, Lieberman called a congressional hearing on the matter.32 Presiding over a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, he posed a number of key questions he hoped that the administration would answer: Who is deserving in this instance of the title of czar? Is it only people in the White House who are coordinators of policy, whether or not their positions are authorized in statute and they are confirmed by the Senate? Or does it include a larger group of public officials statutorily authorized or not, confirmed by the Senate or not, working out of the White House or not?33 Noting the role that the term itself had played in causing the media firestorm, Lieberman expressed his desire to have the moniker rethought altogether, noting with an air of humor, I cannot resist saying with all respect to the aforementioned Nicholas II and his esteemed predecessors. I will ask our witnesses if there isn’t some more American title that we can use instead of czar to describe these government employees. The term czar seems to me not only ethnically inappropriate, but the federal officials to whom it has been applied have far less autocratic power than
the Russian czars did, which may explain why some of the current crop of White House czars have been subjected to harsh media criticism. Their time in office is unlikely to end as violently as that of Nicholas II. I’m sure many people here will remember the moment in the classic story “Fiddler on the Roof” when one of the citizens of Anatevka, Russia asks the local rabbi, “Rabbi, is there a prayer for the czar?” And the rabbi answers, “yes, my son, there is. It is God bless and keep the czar far away from us.”34
Other Democrats expressed their reservations in a softer tone. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) posited that previous administrations had made acceptable use of czar-type personnel and made clear that his only objection would be if czar appointees lacking Senate confirmation received “line responsibility” for making policy decisions.35 In an attempt to play down the controversy, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) also pointed to the absence of criticism in previous administrations, adding only a hint of discomfort in saying, “It wouldn’t necessarily be the way I’d do it, but the president is entitled to have his advisers.”36 Unsurprisingly, the criticism arising from the left was much tamer than Page 157 → that from the right. Nevertheless, the fact that key Democratic legislators publicly voiced their concerns about executive overreach indicated the controversy over czar officials was more than a symbolic attack from rabid partisan opponents. Instead, it indicated that more substantive institutional concerns were at stake and that serious legislators from both sides of the aisle sought answers from the administration.
The Administration Responds As the controversy grew, Obama moved forward with his plan for his first one hundred days in office and attempted to ignore the ongoing czar criticism. The new president did, however, let his surrogates respond on his behalf, a move aimed at treating the issue as more of a minor episode than the major controversy some of his opponents, particularly partisan conservatives, were making it out to be. Officials’ attempts to rebut the charges concerning the administration’s alleged affection for czars ranged from downplaying the importance of the controversy to claiming political double standards and even denying that the White House employed any czars. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs suggested that the controversy was small potatoes compared to other challenges facing the nation: “I would assume that Congress and Senator Feingold have more weighty topics to grapple with than—than something like this.”37 Adding to Gibbs’s remarks, White House counsel Greg Craig rejected the notion that the administration had violated any constitutional requirements because such personnel did not exercise any independent authority: “Neither the purpose nor the effect of these new positions is to supplant or replace existing federal agencies or departments, but rather to help coordinate their efforts and help devise comprehensive solutions to complex problems.”38 The Obama team also pointed to precedent, with administration officials noting Bush’s track record on czars and the lack of criticism of the former president as evidence that Obama’s detractors were lodging unfounded as well as hypocritical charges. Communications director Anita Dunn disputed critics’ use of czar by emphasizing the term’s symbolic application by some outsiders and stressing the official titles held by the personnel in question.39 In some instances, the appointees themselves denied having the czar title. Nine months into Obama’s term, as Senators Feingold and Lieberman organized their hearings on the matter, the president seemed content to continue ignoring his critics, responding to invitations to have personnel testify with what observers characterized as a “dismissive shrug” or “snub.”40 Page 158 → Lost between the hyperbole-laden rhetoric attacking Obama’s alleged czars and the administration’s array of responses was the fact that a noteworthy shift in presidential utilization of czars had occurred in the early weeks of Obama’s presidency. Specifically, rather than utilize czars in a reactive capacity, as had typically been the case in the modern presidency, Obama created a small number of czar-driven offices within the White House that were designed to advance central elements of his campaign’s agenda. Among the most notable were positions that
would come to be casually referred to as the climate czar, the urban affairs czar, and the health czar. In each case, Obama created a new policy office via executive order and appointed a visible member of his administration to lead it. Carol Browner—Climate Czar Climate change was a central issue in Obama’s 2008 campaign effort, and an essential adviser to Obama during that period and through the new administration’s transition into office was Carol Browner, previously the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for the duration of the Clinton administration. Although she initially supported Hillary Clinton’s bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination, Browner quickly came into the Obama camp and became a trusted voice, earning a nomination to the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s advisory board. On December 15, 2008, more than a month before his inauguration, Obama announced that Browner would serve as his assistant for energy and climate change, a previously nonexistent position that he created via Executive Orders 13499 and 13500 on February 5, 2009, less than three weeks into his presidency. Browner had specifically endorsed the creation of the position, which was known popularly as a czarship (although both climate and energy were used to describe the policy area involved).41 Browner would eventually head a new entity within the EOP, the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, which was shuttered in March 2011 when Browner left the administration. In many ways, the office served primarily as a vehicle for Browner’s efforts, which were extensive considering the broad mission and corresponding portfolio assigned to her by Obama. In fact, some observers argue that Browner’s influence in pushing climate change initiatives exceeded that of Lisa Jackson, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator.42 Described by Politico as “the first among equals in the Obama administration’s constellation of environmental and energy stars”43 and by Obama as his “adviser on everything having to do Page 159 → with energy,”44 Browner, like all czars, took on the core function of “backroom coordinator.”45 Indeed, Obama publicly acknowledged as much, noting during a February 2010 meeting with U.S. governors that Browner was “doing a lot of our coordination in the White House”46 and subsequently crediting Browner with coordinating the development of a major presidential memorandum that mandated national fuel and emission standards.47 Typically, she was responsible for coordinating broader efforts in the fight against climate change by the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, and other major executive branch organizations that were often not on the same page and occasionally working at crosspurposes.48 Browner, who received cabinet rank, frequently was involved with if not in charge of many pressing policy problems, including serving as the administration’s public face following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and as a member of the president’s auto industry bailout task force.49 As Republican gains in the 2010 midterm elections further exacerbated the administration’s difficulties in working with Congress to combat climate change, Browner’s capacity to effect change shrunk.50 By early 2011, when it became apparent that no meaningful action on the issue would be forthcoming, she surprised many observers by announcing her intention to leave the administration. Following her departure, the White House decommissioned the office she once led and shifted its function to the Domestic Policy Council, an institutional response that signaled not only the downward trajectory of energy legislation on the administration’s policy agenda but also the unique function Browner had served. Adolfo Carrión—Urban Affairs Czar The same month that Obama created Browner’s position, he also issued Executive Order 13503 creating the White House Office of Urban Affairs to lead and coordinate the administration’s urban policy agenda. Specifically, the new office was to (1) provide leadership for and coordinate the development of the policy agenda for urban America across executive departments and agencies; (2) coordinate all aspects of urban policy; (3) work with executive departments and agencies to ensure that they gave appropriate consideration to the potential impact of their actions on urban areas; (4) work with executive departments and agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget, to ensure that federal spending targeted to urban areas would be spent on the highestimpact programs; and (5) engage in outreach and Page 160 → work closely with state and local officials,
nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, both in seeking input regarding the development of a comprehensive urban policy and in ensuring that the implementation of federal programs advanced the objectives of that policy.51 As mentioned previously, Obama selected Adolfo Carrión, a politician from New York then serving as Bronx borough president, to lead this office. Like Browner, Carrión had been a Hillary Clinton backer who joined the Obama team for the general election battle against John McCain. His importance in helping the campaign reach out to Latino voters helped add his name to postelection conversations about Obama’s potential cabinet nominees, with some observers believing Carrión had a chance of being named to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Education, or the Department of Transportation.52 His ultimate selection as head of the new urban affairs office, which emphasized administration initiatives for urban redevelopment, put him in an institutional position where his intimate experience with city management and development were particularly useful.53 Indeed, in remarks delivered to the U.S. Conference of Mayors the day after issuing the executive order, Obama introduced his new czar as a “real success story” who would now bear responsibility for helping mayors across the country write their own success stories.54 Obama went on to note that Carrión would coordinate all federal urban programs, particularly concerning job creation and housing, and serve as a liaison with mayors and other urban leaders, an effort that would span sixteen separate agencies.55 Carrión’s tenure as urban affairs czar got off to a rocky start as potentially scandalous pieces of information trickled out of New York concerning alleged linkages between campaign donations from major developers and his support for development projects as well as concerning his failure to pay an architect for work on his home.56 By the fall of 2009, however, Carrión seemed to have overcome his initial stumbles and spent significant time traveling the nation touting the administration’s initiatives and working with urban elites. As the point man in the president’s effort not only to help cities weather the consequences of the economic downturn but also to return urban issues to the nation’s governing agenda, Carrión oversaw the distribution of federal stimulus cash for programs ranging from weatherizing homes in Kansas City to creating affordable housing in Oakland.57 By the early spring of 2010, however, rumors again began circulating about Carrión’s ambitions, with suggestions that he was bored working in the White House and yearning for a return to New York electoral politics. By May, Carrión had switched to a lesser job closer to New York, becoming Page 161 → a regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in 2012 he left the Democratic Party to run as an independent in the race to replace Michael Bloomberg as mayor of New York City.58 He was replaced as urban affairs czar by fellow New Yorker Derek Douglas, but the position was largely subsumed into the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Domestic Policy Council. Nancy-Ann DeParle—Health Czar As with climate change and urban policy, health care reform played a significant role in Obama’s 2008 campaign platform. Unlike the previous two policy areas, however, the new administration’s efforts to create an institutional base for health care policy leadership and coordination were delayed, largely because of controversy that eventually scuttled the president’s nomination of Tom Daschle as secretary of health and human services. Daschle had been an early supporter of Obama’s presidential bid and was expected to take on a major role—akin to the supersecretary approach envisioned by Richard Nixon—related to the administration’s would-be signature policy achievement, health care reform. Concerns and speculation about potential conflicts of interest and tax irregularities, derailed Daschle’s nomination, however, leading the former Senate majority leader to withdraw his name in early February 2009, just as the new climate change and urban affairs offices were setting up shop.59 In light of Daschle’s departure, Obama appointed Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of health and human services but carved away major health care reform duties and instead gave them to Nancy-Ann DeParle, who would serve as director of another new White House bailiwick, the Office of Health Reform.60 A former member of the Clinton administration, where she was involved in Medicare and Medicaid management, DeParle had a background in the health care industry.61
Established on April 8, 2009, via Executive Order 13507, the Office of Health Reform was created to “provide leadership to the executive branch in establishing policies, priorities, and objectives for the Federal Government’s comprehensive effort to improve access to health care, the quality of such care, and the sustainability of the health care system.”62 DeParle—whom the Washington Post described as the administration’s “point guard”63 in this health care overhaul, while Obama called her the “quarterback”64—was charged with leading “the public and legislative effort to ensure quality, affordable health care for every American.”65 DeParle’s primary function involved coordinating related initiatives across executive departments and Page 162 → agencies as well as efforts to reach key stakeholder groups in the reform debate such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the Service Employees International Union.66 She also played a significant interbranch role, meeting with more than 170 members of Congress as the White House worked to sell the bill to reluctant legislators and adjust it to meet their concerns.67 Nearly one year later, as Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he referred to DeParle as an unsung hero, “an extraordinary woman who led the reform effort from the White House.”68 Once the legislation passed, DeParle’s portfolio evolved to focus on implementation: she coordinated administration efforts to “translate the law’s mandates into fine print covering one-sixth of the economy.”69 She also oversaw the administration’s response to attempts to undo the legislation and turn public opinion against the program.70 In January 2011 she was promoted to White House deputy chief of staff for policy, a post she held until she left the administration shortly after Obama’s second inauguration.
Conclusion Despite the administration’s insistence that the controversy was essentially a nonissue, White House observers noted some instances where administration officials appeared unsure about where certain czars stood in the executive branch hierarchy and what exactly their positions entailed. In one notable example from March 2009, Gibbs appeared to stumble in responding to a question about how exactly the administration would manage the president’s hallmark health reform proposal through Congress given the overlapping jurisdictions of Sebelius and DeParle. After initially suggesting that DeParle would “be in charge,” he changed his position to suggest that the two women would share jurisdiction: “I think obviously this is something that spans across many platforms, not unlike, say, something like energy independence, that a lot of people that work in this building and in different agencies will be involved in.”71 Although some instantly forgot the gaffe, others pointed to it as evidence that the administration was in over its head in trying to manage the vast array of executive branch personnel. Nevertheless, the administration seemed content to stand its ground, particularly given the well-known and decades-long track record of presidents exercising and expanding their executive influence in light of growing public demands on executive governance and amid the legislative branch’s struggle to effectively assert itself institutionally in response. As T. J. Halstead of the Congressional Research Service pointed out to Feingold and Page 163 → others while testifying before Congress on the matter, even if a strong constitutional argument could be made against Obama’s expansive use of advisers, the likelihood of a judicial or legislative curb on the practice was low.72 Unable to match up in their poker game against the White House, opposing legislators and other critics had little choice but to rely on the media’s coverage in hopes that negative attention to the debate might engender some conciliatory action.73 Perhaps to the administration’s surprise, critics of his policy czars did not give up their efforts, and media coverage continued to make the airwaves and splash across the Internet, though its frequency diminished. Into his second year in office, Obama continued to make numerous high-profile appointments that included positions lacking Senate confirmation; critics responded with additional accusations regarding the presidential “power grab.” Indeed, despite the administration’s efforts to avoid becoming entangled with the czar label, opponents eagerly employed the term to refer to any appointee who circumvented congressional approval, as was the case with Donald Berwick’s recess appointment as head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As one ardent Berwick opponent, David O’Steen, the executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, put it, “While Americans may not remember the agency he heads, he will quickly become known as Obama’s rationing czar.”74 And so it was—the label rationing czar made the rounds, with critics using it to buttress their argument that Berwick fell “way outside the mainstream” as an “unabashed admirer of the United Kingdom’s socialized health care system.”75
In light of the adverse reactions from legislators, the negative media attention garnered, and an inability to reverse the narrative, the administration eventually began to change its plan of attack. By the summer of 2011, the Senate was on the verge of eliminating the salaries of a number of key policy czars.76 Obama had already issued an executive order that did away with many of the more controversial posts, including those overseeing policy areas related to health care and climate change.77 Though the administration quietly described the changes as part of a routine reorganization, others have viewed it as a tactic partly aimed at addressing the czar controversy. Gauging Success Of Barack Obama’s three hallmark policy czars, only one can be considered successful. In the twenty-one months during which she ran the White House Office of Health Reform, DeParle presided over an ultimately fruitful attempt to bring together key stakeholders in the administration’s bid Page 164 → to reform health care and see the legislation wind its way through Congress. Though the final law departed in several important ways from the administration’s draft legislation and dropped multiple campaign pledges, and despite the toll the process took on the president’s popularity, DeParle accomplished her mission. This is particularly noteworthy since the role she and the Office of Health Reform played in this process was unexpected, a backup plan developed after Daschle’s failed nomination. DeParle’s success was a function of her skill and experience, the administration’s singular commitment to her mission, the support and resources she received, and the clarity of her mission, all key factors observed in previous chapters. Conversely, and somewhat ironically, the two czars who helmed institutions that were designed and announced without the kind of Daschle hiccup that the Office of Health Reform saw ultimately failed, though for different reasons. Like DeParle, Browner’s résumé and experience positioned her to be an effective coordinator and trusted member of the Obama inner circle. However, political context and the administration’s decision to sacrifice progress on the climate agenda in favor of a legislative victory on health care doomed Browner’s efforts. Had there been a different political climate, or had the administration made the opposite decision on policy priorities, Browner likely would have had the same experience DeParle enjoyed; instead, Browner left the administration after two years, the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy was soon shuttered, and serious efforts in policy in that area were curtailed for the next several years. Carrión’s frustrated stint as urban affairs czar failed for similar reasons, plus a few others. Like Browner, Carrión’s ability to make significant inroads in his assigned area was hamstrung by political context. With the shadow of the great recession looming and austerity coming into vogue, the administration’s commitment to major urban policy initiatives weakened. Rather than being the precursor of great things to come, the stimulus efforts in the earliest days of the administration proved to be the extent of the government’s contribution, and Carrión’s role morphed into little more than managing related programs. His own problems further weakened his hand, as allegations about corruption during his pre–White House days hounded him, and he chose to pursue his personal political aspirations. Taken together, the experiences of DeParle, Browner, and Carrión reiterate the importance of presidential will, political context, and the individual czar’s strengths and weaknesses. This volume concludes with our observations about the factors that make presidential czars more (or less) likely to succeed.
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Conclusion For decades, American presidents have relied on trusted and influential policy advisers to coordinate the nation’s response to pressing problems and crises. Over the years, this reliance on czars has become simultaneously more conventional and more controversial, as evidenced by the furor that surrounded the Obama administration’s alleged utilization of czars and the perception that both he and George W. Bush employed dozens of them. As the sense that armies of czars patrolled the corridors of the West Wing took root, so too did a pair of other assumptions: czars present a challenge to Congress and the Constitution, and the use of czars represents an ineffective bureaucratic stunt rather than a genuinely helpful administrative practice. Although scholars such as Mitchel Sollenberger and Mark Rozell persuasively argue about the threat czars may pose to a constitutional order predicated on a system of separation of powers and checks and balances, the range of legal opinions to the contrary from equally learned scholars indicates that the matter is far from settled.1 We believe that the second of these assumptions is particularly erroneous, especially when pundits make broad declarations about presidents’ motives for utilizing czars and the efficacy these coordinators possess after being drafted into White House service. For example, speaking in 2007 before a “largely libertarian” dinner crowd at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, satirist Christopher Buckley quipped, “In Washington, appointing a czar is a way of acknowledging that your policy has gone down the toilet.”2 Intended to elicit a laugh as much as to serve as top-shelf political analysis, Buckley’s gibe underscored a long-standing, conventional, if narrow-minded perspective on czars: they are useful only in their ability to demonstrate presidential commitment to a salient concern. Indeed, almost two decades earlier, Bradley Patterson, who spent fourteen years working for the Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford administrations, Page 166 → wrote that the “president can collect some praise for his ‘initiative’; the very fact of the czar’s appointment will help rebut the political attack that the beleaguered chief executive is ‘doing nothing about’ the problem at hand.”3 Buckley, Patterson, and numerous other czar skeptics claim that presidents seeking this kind of coordination receive only political utility and certainly not administrative efficacy. Sollenberger and Rozell, for example, are “not all that impressed by the record of czars” over the past several decades.4 And in truth, the case studies in this book underscore some of their concerns. However, these case studies also indicate key moments when czars have been successful coordinators and provide opportunities for us to ask why or why not. We now reflect on the lessons learned from the case studies with the goal of identifying future best practices for presidents who find the need for effective coordination.
Five Key Determinants of Czar Success Our review of the highest-profile presidential policy czars over the past four decades and the historic challenges they faced may well appear to show that any newly designated czar is likely to fail. The administrative tasks handed to czars are so commonly bedeviled by complexity and obstacles that future presidents should focus on improving their new czars’ chances for tangible success rather than presuming that perceptions of success will arise simply by avoiding obvious failure. In other words, instead of employing czars to serve merely as surrogates for assuaging public concern, presidents are better off selecting czars carefully and equipping them with the support and resources necessary to pursue substantive solutions to the relevant problems or crises. In particular, presidents should consider the five determinants of czar success gleaned from the case study analyses: clarity, expertise, analysis, access, and political context.5 Each of these concepts is distinct, but they are also intertwined in ways that affect overall czar performance, and presidents must vigorously attend to all of them. A president who properly emphasizes access and expertise but fails to offer clarity or commitment will likely only marginally increase a new czar’s chances for success. Clarity When contemplating the establishment of a new coordinator, presidents must first determine what exactly they
want that new official to do. In the Page 167 → absence of a clear purpose, czars may end up spinning their wheels instead of working effectively to solve their newly prioritized policy problems. Just as important, a lack of clarity about a czar’s role and function makes it very difficult for that czar to coordinate policy efforts across agencies and offices not directly under his or her control on official organizational flowcharts. When this occurs, the problems that surface often lead outside critics to question the czar’s authority. All too often, past responses to such criticism have resulted in contradictory signals from different administration surrogates who are not fully aware of each other’s role and/or cannot come to a consensus about who is intended to serve as the president’s primary representative. One of the most noteworthy cautionary tales about what happens when presidents introduce new czars without first clarifying their purpose concerns Bill Clinton’s AIDS czars. Although Clinton was the first president to promise the creation of a czar position while campaigning, his actions once in office reveal that his pledge was more about taking potential moderate votes away from his campaign opponent, George H. W. Bush, than creating a robust institutional response to the AIDS epidemic. Indeed, our analysis shows the lack of presidential will in substantively addressing that policy problem throughout almost the entirety of the forty-second president’s tenure in office. Clinton’s first AIDS czar, Kristine Gebbie, served only as a symbol of the president’s pledge to combat AIDS rather than as a key participant in shaping and coordinating the administration’s tentative efforts. Such lack of stature resulted in part from Gebbie’s limited contact with the president and the absence of his clear personal support for her, but a look at the commentary surrounding her July 1994 departure reveals the primary problem with which she struggled: a lack of clarity regarding her mission. Outside observers had rarely seen an administrative job that lacked definition to such a degree. Although Gebbie would meet with White House chief of staff Leon Panetta toward the end of her tenure about the need to better define her position—initially for her benefit, later for the benefit of her replacement—those efforts ultimately proved fruitless. Subsequent AIDS czars under not just the Clinton administration but also the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations would likewise struggle with uncertainty about the precise nature of their role and authority. Conversely, the individuals who coordinated the robust efforts focused on treating and eradicating AIDS in Africa during Bush’s presidency (and to a lesser extent Obama’s) were equipped with largely unambiguous missions and significantly more presidential support. Page 168 → Expertise Beyond demonstrating a commitment to solving policy problems and providing clarity about what is needed from an administrative perspective, presidents must ensure that their czars have the skills and expertise required for their positions. Expertise regarding the issue at hand is tremendously important; without it, a new czar will likely lack the capacity to make good decisions and may also suffer from a lack of credibility with key constituencies. Although intelligence czar John Negroponte already had an impressive record of public service when he accepted his position, his background had little relation to the intelligence community, raising questions of legitimacy among groups such as one involving families of 9/11 victims that had proved essential in advancing the legislation that created the national director of intelligence position. Consequently, perceptions regarding Negroponte’s inexperience made collaboration and progress difficult during his tenure as intelligence czar, with other actions by the Bush administration further undermining his authority. Even for those who do arrive on the job with strong backgrounds in the relevant fields, substantive experience alone may not ensure success. Jerome Jaffe, head of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse from 1971 to 1973, had exceptional credentials coming in but very little managerial experience. Over time, he came to be seen as administratively incompetent, allowing his organization to drift in a manner that sent reverberations throughout the Nixon administration. Jaffe was charged with leading treatment-based approaches to the national drug problem, and his failures occurred just as enforcement-side policies and programs became the dominant and enduring force behind the drug war, a condition that continues to this day. In both of these cases, inexperience and lack of expertise created perceptions of illegitimacy and hampered
organizational performance, eventually resulting in an abrupt end to each individual’s tenure as czar and weakening the administration’s capacity to address the relevant problems. Analysis One of the biggest challenges new czars face is hitting the ground running. They often find themselves taking charge of new organizations that lack institutional memory and that have a limited number of staffers, many of them reassigned from other departments and with organizational experience and loyalties that do not necessarily align with the needs and preferences of Page 169 → their new bosses. One helpful strategy for dealing with such obstacles is for new czars to spend a limited period early on analyzing the problem and carefully constructing a national strategy to solve it. In so doing, they can better and more comprehensively identify what steps need to be taken to solve the problem at hand at the same time that they connect with other relevant agencies, build relationships with key stakeholders, and assess allies and foes within the relevant policy community before moving on to the business of implementation and coordination. By purposefully taking on this kind of strategic review at the outset, czars can strengthen their legitimacy by building their profile while receiving feedback from vested interests. Those czars who initiated their new positions with this type of strategic process have produced some of the most notable success stories. Bill Bennett, the first director of the Office of National Drug Policy, was recognized for using the first 180 days of his tenure to design the congressionally mandated national strategy for fighting the war on drugs. Initiating his assignment in this manner within a generous yet still limited time frame, Bennett created two key opportunities unavailable to his immediate predecessors and successors: he set the stage to travel throughout the country seeking input while advancing George H. W. Bush’s goals, and he afforded his staff the opportunity to ground the new national strategy within his own philosophical framework. Bennett subsequently used his enhanced profile and ability to shape policies to further consolidate influence and control in a way few others have. Ironically, however, Bennett left his czar post just as the transition from program design to implementation began to take place. His successor, Bob Martinez, found himself in the difficult position of trying to manage another individual’s plan while lacking the benefits of the relationship-building period Bennett had enjoyed. A look at the various experiences of George W. Bush’s three national-security-related czars—homeland security czar Tom Ridge, intelligence czar John Negroponte, and war czar Douglas Lute—provides additional insights into the merits of adopting such a process. Much like Bennett, Ridge faced the initial challenge of creating a national homeland security strategy, though in his case it was not a congressionally authorized endeavor as was Bennett’s. The administration’s refusal to have Ridge testify to Congress on his efforts to shape a new national security strategy led to an interinstitutional conflict that was ultimately resolved through the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Nevertheless, Ridge’s initial efforts to construct the new national strategy helped him lay the necessary groundwork to shape the institutional structures he would eventually oversee as the nation’s first secretary of homeland security and subsequently provided an opportunity for the Page 170 → president to travel across the nation emphasizing the importance of Ridge’s mission while building support and the appearance of influence for the new czar. Negroponte never had a similar opportunity to structure the government’s response to the problem with which he was tasked, while Lute was afforded only a limited opportunity that arrived far too late. Negroponte obtained his position after a pair of high-profile commissions studying the intelligence failures involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks had already issued reports filled with a litany of reform suggestions, including the establishment of Negroponte’s position, director of national intelligence. Negroponte’s selection consequently came in response to strategic review work already done elsewhere, leaving the new intelligence czar little choice but to execute plans he had not helped devise. Lute had a very different yet equally limiting experience as war czar. Unlike Negroponte, Lute had an opportunity to conduct an exhaustive review, but that opportunity did not arrive until the end of Lute’s first year—and the tail end of George W. Bush’s presidency. Although Barack Obama surprised many observers by retaining Lute as war czar, the new president also announced a strategy review not under Lute’s control, and it would lead to reform proposals more in line with the preferences of the review’s chair, CIA veteran Bruce Riedel.
Access In addition to influencing their own missions, successful czars have sufficient organizational clout to deal with potentially reluctant officials and implement preferred policy solutions that fall in line with the president’s agenda. Such clout stems chiefly from one key factor: access to the president. Access enables czars to demonstrate that they speak for the president. And as visible interactions with the president increase perceptions of legitimacy, demanding attention and access from other administration officials, real influence likely follows. Richard Nixon conveyed authority to William Simon on par with that of Albert Speer’s role in the Third Reich (Nixon’s own unfortunate metaphor); Simon employed that clout when he decided to overallocate oil and gas following the energy crisis. This high-risk decision ultimately paid dividends, but it was possible only thanks to Nixon’s empowerment. Simon’s experience as energy czar contrasts starkly with that of his predecessor, John Love. Though Nixon introduced Love as a high-profile response to growing concerns about the national security consequences of the nation’s growing reliance on foreign oil, Love never truly fit in with Nixon’s other administration officials. And when he offered unpopular advice to the president, Page 171 → Love’s status as an outsider was reinforced. By the time Simon took over as Nixon’s chief energy policy coordinator in 1973, Love had lost his access to the president and with it the ability to influence meaningfully the administration’s response to a wide range of energyrelated problems. Political Context Our final determinant concerns the extent to which a czar (and his or her approach) fits within the political moment. This determinant has multiple dimensions, including whether the creation of the position was the president’s choice, whether the czar and the president possess the same political agenda, and whether the politics of the moment allow for successful czar leadership. Czars who serve under presidents who did not create the position on their own initiative—whether because a predecessor created the position or Congress or other political elites forced the position’s creation—are unlikely to be well supported or find the opportunities necessary to exert meaningful leadership. In the early days of George W. Bush’s presidency, AIDS activists were uncertain whether there would even be an AIDS czar, much less an influential one. Bush chose to continue the institution, though domestic AIDS activity cannot be said to have meaningfully increased during his administration. Instead, the individuals who directed ONAP during the first decade of the twenty-first century were largely out of sight and wielded far less influence than those charged with coordinating the president’s AIDS agenda in Africa. Of course, importance to the president is no guarantee of success if the administration’s goals conflict with political reality. Of Barack Obama’s three signature policy czars, only Nancy-Ann DeParle was successful. Both Carol Browner and Adolfo Carrión succumbed to the demands of the political moment when the administration’s difficulties with Congress derailed its climate change agenda and post–Great Recession anxiety about spending and deficits trumped the need for ambitious urban policy development. Other czars have found themselves at odds not with broader political dynamics but with the preferences of the White House itself. John Love lost traction in the Nixon White House because he pushed policy initiatives, including tax hikes, that isolated other administration elites. Similarly, the Nixon administration viewed John Ingersoll as insufficiently aggressive with the law enforcement dimension of the federal government’s war on drugs, while Scott Evertz’s support for condoms and HIV prevention earned him the distrust of social conservatives in the George W. Bush administration. In each case, Page 172 → being out of sync with the political motives of their respective administrations undermined these czars’ ability to succeed. Conversely, being on the same page as the administration but at odds with the broader political dynamics thwarted the efforts of Browner and Carrión.
In Defense of Czars Although presidential policy czars face many pitfalls, effective interagency coordination can help future administrations solve pressing policy problems and come closer to fulfilling the heroic expectations for contemporary presidents. Because of this promise, which has so often proved elusive and conditional, we contend that czars are not an administrative phenomenon to be eschewed and avoided but rather one to be assessed,
discussed, and improved on. Without proper and robust coordination, the federal government’s contribution is often less than the sum of its many overlapping, frequently contradictory parts. Thus, we view coordination as an inherent administrative good, one that must by definition occur in the executive branch. This, of course, is not to say that Congress should be shut out of conversations surrounding the establishment and actions of czars or even oversight of them once institutionalized. Indeed, Sollenberger and Rozell provide considerable evidence for why such a situation would be not only unwise but also a potentially unconstitutional affront to Congress and the spirit of separation of powers and checks and balances. That said, in an era where interinstitutional cooperation seems more like something out of a book of American fables rather than a likely prospect for contemporary governance, waiting for Congress and the presidency to get on the same page is not always the wisest course of action. For example, in the 1970s, conflicts between Congress and the Nixon White House led to a notable lack of cooperation concerning the national response to the burgeoning energy crisis. The alternative for a president who in all cases places separation of powers and checks and balances before solving policy problems would have been inaction. Instead, the president acted unilaterally and staffed his administration with a series of individuals empowered to coordinate the government’s response. Eventually, after the political context had changed and the Nixon administration was replaced first by the Ford administration and later by the Carter administration, Congress and the presidency together created a new cabinet department, the Department of Energy. This process may not have been philosophically pure, but it worked. A similar if truncated example played out again with the eventual establishment Page 173 → of the Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration. Despite the opportunities czar leadership can provide, particularly when utilized in a thoughtful and strategic way, the era of presidential policy czars is likely nearing its end, at least from a rhetorical perspective. Following the backlash in early 2009, the Obama administration took great pains to avoid using the word czar and to avoid the appearance of continuing to use czars themselves. Future presidents will likely follow the same path as they staff their administrations and respond to rising policy problems. This is not to say that other media and political elites will continue harping on perceptions of excessive czar influence. Indeed, a flurry of commentary in the summer of 2013 followed a statement by United Nations Climate Change Secretariat head Christiana Figueres that “an energy czar in the White House would be extraordinarily helpful.” Figueres’s assertion was not the first of its kind, however; several other elites, including former New York City mayor Ed Koch, had made similar suggestions even after the war of words concerning Obama’s czars had flared up and largely died down. Koch argued that an energy czar—someone with “the energy, ability and spine of steel needed”—was essential for the United States to reach its energy policy goals while solving the never-ending series of policy problems in the area.6 Moreover, energy is not the only area where observers and activists have called for new czar leadership. In the same week that President Obama was inaugurated for the second time, scholar Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach called for a child policy czar to “elevate and coordinate policy across different agencies,” emphasizing the need for someone who understood both child development and the impact public policies can have on the nation’s children.7 One month earlier, columnist Nina Burleigh had used the pages of the New York Observer to issue a call for Obama to appoint a gun czar in response to the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. According to Burleigh, the president’s gun violence plan “should start with the appointment of a Gun Czar. A red state, redmeat Republican with hunting cred, a gun lover who isn’t a gun nut, who can start the serious work that our nation, with 300 million guns in private hands, needs to begin right now.”8 More recently, in October 2014 and as this book went to press, President Obama abruptly appointed longtime political operative Ron Klain to oversee his administration’s response to the Ebola virus crisis after a media firestorm erupted surrounding the infection of health workers in Dallas and New York. In introducing Klain, White House press secretary Josh Earnest emphasized the administrative role laid out for the new position: “What we were looking for was not an Ebola expert, but rather an implementation Page 174 → expert.” Eschewing the czar label, Earnest further referred to Klain officially as the “Ebola Response Coordinator,” adding, “Candidly, I don’t care what you call him.”9
The move to create an Ebola Czar—and to choose Klain as the person to serve in that position—was not uniformly celebrated, however. For example, questioning Klain’s lack of medical expertise, Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) argued that, “Installing yet another political appointee who has no medical background or infectious disease control experience will do little to reassure Americans.”10 Perhaps more notable, though, were the supportive responses provided by two of the Obama administration’s biggest czar critics, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jerry Moran (R-KS). McCain, the same ardent opponent who previously lambasted Obama for having “more czars than the Romanovs” changed his tune to declare “There has to be some kind of czar.”11 Similarly, Moran, the Republican responsible for previously introducing legislation to reduce and eventually cease czar appointments all together, declared in a joint letter with Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) the need for a single senior adviser to help better coordinate a response to the emerging Ebola crisis. Still, Moran and Wolf—like Murphy—wanted an Ebola expert, not just a manager, to fill that need, a preference consistent with our own observation that presidents are better served by czars with both administrative and substantive expertise. Questions about Klain’s expertise notwithstanding, this signified yet another collective call for action exemplifying why czar-like personnel have become a key managerial tool for modern presidents to employ in response to crises replete with policy coordination challenges. As these recent calls for high-profile, centralized policy leadership show, presidents will always be expected to exhibit substantive leadership on pressing policy matters. Further, between the growing presidential expectations gap and the continuing complexity of the bureaucracy’s organizational structure, presidential reliance on such coordinators is an inevitable consequence of the evolution of the modern presidency. If presidents are to have czars, they—and we—would benefit by making sure they choose the right kind of individuals to lead the right kind of structure in service of the right kind of mission. By learning the lessons of previous czars, positive and negative, presidents can better position themselves to solve these problems, thereby benefiting not only their approval numbers and historical legacies but also the citizens who most need effective policy action.
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Notes Introduction 1. John McCain, “Obama Has More Czars.” 2. Rothkopf, “It’s Official.” 3. Lovely, “Czar (n).” 4. Meckler, “‘Czars’ Ascend at White House.” 5. Hamburger and Parsons, “President Obama’s Czar System Concerns Some”; see also Wendell Goler, “Obama’s Czars Draw Criticism from Both Sides of the Political Aisle”; Hornick, “Jones’ Resignation Puts Focus on Criticism of Obama’s ‘Czars.’” 6. Byrd, Letter to Obama. 7. Bravender, “House Votes to Overthrow ‘Czars.’” 8. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 3. 9. Rozell and Sollenberger, “Obama’s Executive Branch Czars,” 77. 10. Halstead, “Examining the History and Legality of Executive Branch ‘Czars.’” 11. Harrison, “Legal Issues Associated with Executive Branch ‘Czars.’” 12. Marlowe, “Unitary Executive,” 150. 13. Bravender, “House Votes to Overthrow ‘Czars.’” 14. See, for example, Aaron Klein and Elliott, Manchurian President; Blackwell and Klukowski, Blueprint; Wheeler and Leitner, Shadow Government. 15. Moe, “Politicized Presidency”; Moe, “Politics of Bureaucratic Structure”; Moe, “Presidents, Institutions, and Theory”; see also Rudalevige, Managing the President’s Program; Weko, Politicizing Presidency; Lewis, Presidents and the Policy of Agency Design; Lewis, Politics of Presidential Appointments; Galvin and Shogan, “Presidential Politicization and Centralization.” 16. Hult and Walcott, Empowering the White House; Walcott and Hult, Governing the White House; Walcott and Hult, “White House Structure and Decision Making.”
Chapter 1 1. “Obama Administration Snubs Hearing.” 2. Saiger, “Obama’s ‘Czars’ for Domestic Policy,” 2582.Page 176 → 3. Markman, “Lawmakers Object to Obama’s Naming of ‘Czars.’” 4. Healy, Right’s Czar Mania is a Distraction. 5. Patterson, Statements from the Judiciary Subcommittee. 6. James, “Brief History of White House Czars.” 7. Spalding, Testimony. 8. Fletcher and Dennis, “Obama’s Many Policy ‘Czars’ Draw Ire from Conservatives.” 9. Rivkin and Casey, “Presidents Have a Right to Their Czars.” 10. Harrison, “Legal Issues Associated with Executive Branch ‘Czars.’” 11. Relyea, “Presidential Advice and Senate Consent.” 12. Patterson, Ring of Power, 272. 13. Schwemle et al., Debate over Selected Presidential Assistants and Advisors, 1. 14. Pfiffner, “Presidential Use of White House ‘Czars.’” 15. Patterson, Statements from the Judiciary Subcommittee. 16. Lee A. Casey, “Presidential Advice and Senate Consent.” 17. Feingold, Statements from the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. 18. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 7. 19. Howell with Brent, Thinking about the Presidency, 33. 20. U.S. Department of State, “Transcript”; Keith Koffler, “Y2K Czar Says Feds Will Meet Deadline.” 21. Koffler, “Y2K Czar Says Feds Will Meet Deadline.”
22. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 130–31. 23. Koffler, “Y2K Czar Says Feds Will Meet Deadline.” 24. U.S. Department of State, “Transcript.” 25. Barr, “Powell Announces His Resignation as Chairman of the FDIC.” 26. Ibid. 27. Donald E. Powell: Former Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding. 28. Carr, “Donald Powell to Step Down.” 29. Wald, “Bush’s Czar to Rebuild Gulf Coast Is Resigning.” 30. Sullivan, “Obama’s Other Breakthrough.” 31. Santos, “Job Opens in the Bronx,” A26. 32. Fletcher, “Obama Sets Sights on Urban Renewal,” A8. 33. Donovan, “White House Urban Policy Czar to Speak.” 34. Fernandez, “Leap to the White House,” A17. 35. Brandon, “White House Office on Urban Policy.” 36. Shulman, “White House Urban Affairs Chief Picked,” A2. 37. Shulman, “New White House Office to Redefine What Urban Policy Encompasses,” A6. 38. Fletcher, “Obama Sets Sights on Urban Renewal.” 39. Saul and Meckler, “White House Tenure Tricky for Carrión.” 40. Ibid.
Chapter 2 1. Genovese, Memo to a New President, 38. 2. According to conservative pundit Glenn Beck, as of July 20, 2009, the Obama administration employed thirty-two czars. See Beck, “List of Obama’s Czars.”Page 177 → 3. Howell with Brent, Thinking about the Presidency, 33. 4. Light, Thickening Government. 5. Barber, Presidential Character, 6. 6. Lowi, Personal President, x, xii; see also Mercieca and Vaughn, “Barack Obama and the Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations.” 7. Originally quoted in Novak, Choosing Our King, 44; see also Pika and Maltese, Politics of the Presidency, 25. 8. Genovese, Memo to a New President, 117. 9. Ibid., 147. 10. George C. Edwards III and Wayne, Presidential Leadership, 109. 11. Ibid., 107. 12. George C. Edwards III, Public Presidency, 189. 13. Waterman, Wright, and St. Clair, Image-Is-Everything Presidency. 14. Ibid., 153. 15. Ibid. 16. Rockman, Leadership Question, 134. 17. Waterman, Wright, and St. Clair, Image-Is-Everything Presidency, 153. 18. For a thorough account of the impact FDR’s presidency had on his successors, see Leuchtenberg, In the Shadow of FDR. 19. Genovese, “Finitude of Presidential Power,” 422. 20. George C. Edwards III and Wayne, Presidential Leadership, 110. 21. Ibid. 22. Lowi, Personal President, 20; see also Vaughn and Mercieca, Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations. 23. Lowi, Personal President, xi. 24. Cronin, “Paradoxes of the Presidency.” 25. Mayer, “Why Presidents Break Promises”; Fishel, Presidents and Promises. 26. George C. Edwards III, Public Presidency, 187–88.
27. Genovese, “Finitude of Presidential Power,” 427. 28. Ibid. 29. Ibid., 429–31. 30. Dickinson, “President and Congress.” 31. Ibid., 433. 32. Waterman, Wright, and St. Clair, Image-Is-Everything Presidency, 4. 33. See, for example, Cronin, State of the Presidency; Genovese, Presidential Dilemma; Greenstein, Leadership in the Modern Presidency; Hinckley, Symbolic Presidency; Hodgson, All Things to All Men; Light, Vice Presidential Power; Lowi, Personal President; Rockman, Leadership Question; Seligman and Baer, “Expectations of Presidential Leadership in Decision-Making.” 34. Neustadt, Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents, ix. 35. Brownlow, “What We Expect the President to Do,” 40. 36. George C. Edwards III, Public Presidency. 37. Stimson, “Public Support for American Presidents.” 38. Raichur and Waterman, “Presidency, the Public and the Expectations Gap.” 39. Waterman, Jenkins-Smith, and Silva, “Expectations Gap Thesis”; see also Jenkins-Smith, Silva, and Waterman, “Micro and Macro Level Explanations of the Page 178 → Presidential Expectations Gap”; Waterman, Silva, and Jenkins-Smith, Presidential Expectations Gap. 40. Brownlow, “What We Expect the President to Do,” 35. 41. Abramowitz and Saunders, “Ideological Realignment in the U.S. Electorate”; Saunders and Abramowitz, “Ideological Realignment and Active Partisans in the American Electorate”; Abramowitz and Saunders, “Is Polarization a Myth?”; Abramowitz, Disappearing Center. 42. Theriault, “Party Polarization in the U.S. Congress”; see also Theriault, Party Polarization in Congress. 43. George C. Edwards III and King, Polarized Presidency. 44. Jones, “Obama’s Approval Most Polarized for First-Year President.” 45. Balz, “Polarizing President.” 46. Moe, “Politicized Presidency”; Moe, “Politics of Bureaucratic Structure.” 47. Data gathered from the American Presidency Project, an online data source managed by the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was originally compiled from noted sources by Ragsdale, Vital Statistics on the Presidency, 264–68. 48. Cronin, State of the Presidency, 118. 49. Ragsdale, Vital Statistics on the Presidency, 264–68. 50. Hess, Organizing the Presidency. 51. Dickinson, Bitter Harvest, provides an excellent and thorough examination of Roosevelt’s role in the creation of what scholars today refer to as the presidential branch. See also Hart, Presidential Branch. 52. Burke, Institutional Presidency. 53. Dickinson, Bitter Harvest. 54. Moe, “Politicized Presidency,” 269. 55. Ibid.; Moe, “Politics of Bureaucratic Structure”; Moe and Wilson, “Presidents and the Politics of Structure”; Nathan, Administrative Presidency. 56. Moe, “Politics of Bureaucratic Structure,” 280. 57. Rudalevige, “Inventing the Institutional Presidency,” 325. 58. Ibid. 59. Rudalevige and Lewis, “Parsing the Politicized Presidency,” shows that presidents tend to alternate between centralization and politicization rather than engaging in both at all times simultaneously. 60. Rudalevige, “Presidential Management and the Politicized Presidency,” 141. 61. Rudalevige, Managing the President’s Program, 6. 62. Weko, Politicizing Presidency; Heclo, “OMB and the Presidency” see also Lewis, “Staffing Alone.” 63. Kernell, “Evolution of the White House Staff,” 39–40. 64. Krause, “Secular Decline in Presidential Policy Making.” 65. Ibid. 66. Light, “Domestic Policy Making”; see also Light, Thickening Government; Weko, Politicizing Presidency.
67. Cronin, State of the Presidency, 118. 68. Seidman, Politics, Position, and Power. 69. Frederickson and Smith, Public Administration Theory Primer, 57; see also Neustadt, Page 179 → Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership; Allison, Essence of Decision; Wilson, Bureaucracy. 70. See Charles Cameron, “Studying the Polarized Presidency,” 657. 71. Seidman, Politics, Position, and Power, 14. 72. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policy. 73. Ibid. 74. Ibid., 16; see also Wilson, Bureaucracy. 75. Frederickson and Smith, Public Administration Theory Primer, 59. 76. See Anthony Downs, Economic Theory of Democracy; Niskanen, Bureaucracy and Representative Government; Tullock, Politics of Bureaucracy; Wood and Waterman, Bureaucratic Dynamics. 77. Hult and Walcott, Empowering the White House; Walcott and Hult, Governing the White House; Walcott and Hult, “White House Structure and Decision Making.” 78. See, for example, Quinn and Rohrbaugh, “Spatial Model of Effectiveness Criteria”; Kim S. Cameron and Quinn, Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture. 79. Rudalevige, Managing the President’s Program; see also Villalobos, Vaughn, and Azari, “Politics or Policy?” 80. For an in-depth account of how responsive agency bureaucrats can be to executive direction in a collaborative environment, see Golden, What Motivates Bureaucrats?; see also Wolf, “Neutral and Responsive Competence”; Ringquist, “Political Control and Policy Impact in EPA’s Office of Water Quality”; Rourke, “Grappling with the Bureaucracy”; Campbell and Naulls, “Limits of the BudgetMaximizing Theory.” 81. Pfiffner, “Presidential Use of White House ‘Czars.’” 82. Ridge, Testimony. 83. Dunn, “Truth about ‘Czars.’” 84. Reagan, “Memorandum Returning without Approval.” 85. George H. W. Bush, “Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session with Reporters prior to a Meeting with William J. Bennett.” 86. George H. W. Bush, “Remarks to the National Legislative Conference of the Independent Insurance Agents of America”; George H. W. Bush, “Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session at a Luncheon for Regional Editors and Broadcasters.” 87. Dee Dee Myers, Press Briefing. 88. George W. Bush, “Remarks at J. C. Nalle Elementary School.” 89. Obama, “Interview with Juan Carlos Lopez.” 90. Patterson, White House Staff, 263–64. 91. Saiger, “Obama’s ‘Czars’ for Domestic Policy,” 2579. 92. Feingold, Statements from the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. 93. Patterson, Ring of Power, 272. 94. Pfiffner, “Presidential Use of White House ‘Czars.’” 95. Foreman, “AIDS and the Limits of Czardom,” 22. 96. Saiger, “Obama’s ‘Czars’ for Domestic Policy,” 2580. 97. Patterson, Ring of Power. 98. Winter Casey et al., “Will Army of Czars March or Meander?,” 24; see also Schwemle et al., Debate over Selected Presidential Assistants and Advisors, 8–9.Page 180 →
Chapter 3 1. Timney, Power for the People, 17. 2. Ibid., 3; Szulc, Energy Crisis, 37. 3. Szulc, Energy Crisis, 38. 4. Ibid., 36–37.
5. Sporn, “Multiple Failures of Public and Private Institutions,” 284–86, quoted in Szulc, Energy Crisis, 35. 6. Flippen, Nixon and the Environment; see especially chapter 6, which emphasizes the final stage of Nixon’s transition (in 1973–74) toward a complete focus on the energy at the expense of the environment. 7. Evans, Politics of Energy, 26. 8. Robert A. Diamond, Energy Crisis in America, 7. 9. Sundquist, “Crisis of Competence in Our National Government,” 195. 10. Evans, Politics of Energy, 26. 11. Robert A. Diamond, Energy Crisis in America, 7. 12. Bupp, “Energy Policy Planning in the United States: Ideological BTU’s,” 285. 13. Nixon, RN, 983. 14. Robert A. Diamond, Energy Crisis in America, 7. 15. Mordecai Lee, Nixon’s Super-Secretaries, 157. 16. Evans, Politics of Energy, 26–27. 17. Mordecai Lee, Nixon’s Super-Secretaries, 159–60, 173. 18. Nixon, RN, 983. 19. Evans, Politics of Energy, 30. 20. Ibid., 36. 21. Flippen, Nixon and the Environment, 204. 22. Ibid., 204; Nixon, RN, 983. 23. Bundy, Tangled Web, 454. 24. Simon, Time for Reflection, 101; Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 109. 25. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 122. 26. Ibid., 123. 27. Jack Anderson, “Shultz, Love Clash over Oil Policy,” E39. 28. Nixon, RN, 984. 29. Evans, Politics of Energy, 38. 30. Szulc, Energy Crisis, 87. 31. Ibid., 88–90. 32. Nixon, RN, 982. 33. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 20. 34. Nixon, RN, 984. 35. Bundy, Tangled Web, 457. 36. Evans, Politics of Energy, 42. 37. Bundy, Tangled Web, 457. 38. Szulc, Energy Crisis, 96. 39. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 109–10. 40. Szulc, Energy Crisis, 210; Flippen, Nixon and the Environment, 210.Page 181 → 41. “Nixon’s Decisive New Energy Czar.” 42. Anders, Federal Energy Administration. 43. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 27n46; Flippen, Nixon and the Environment, 210. 44. Metzger, “Energy Czar in the Dark,” C6. 45. Simon, Time for Reflection, 201; Ambrose, Nixon, 279; Yergin, Prize, 618. 46. Ambrose, Nixon, 279. 47. Yergin, Prize, 618. 48. Ibid., 618; Nixon, RN, 986. 49. Simon, Time for Reflection, 105. 50. Yergin, Prize, 618. 51. Ibid.; Simon, Time for Reflection, 114. 52. Ibid., 113–14. 53. Ibid., 114–15. 54. Ibid., 105. 55. Ibid., 104.
56. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 27–28; Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 1–2. 57. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 29. 58. Bundy, Tangled Web, 457–58. 59. Simon, Time for Reflection, 108–9. 60. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 130; Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 1–2. 61. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 39n76. 62. Ibid., 118. 63. Ibid., 38–39; Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 1–2. 64. Simon, Time for Reflection, 118. 65. Ibid., 118–19. 66. Ibid., 119. 67. Timney, Power for the People, 19, 21–22. 68. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 1. 69. Ibid. 70. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 110. 71. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 1; Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 110. 72. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 1. 73. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 130. 74. Ibid., 133. 75. Bundy, Tangled Web, 457–58. 76. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 135. 77. Ibid., 135–36. 78. Ibid., 136. 79. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 137. 80. Ibid., 137. 81. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 2.Page 182 → 82. Ibid., 2. 83. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 112. 84. Timney, Power for the People, 3, 22. 85. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 2–3. 86. Ibid., 3. 87. Ibid. 88. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 140. 89. Ibid., 140–41. 90. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 3. 91. Ibid. 92. Timney, Power for the People, 3. 93. Ibid., 4. 94. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 141–42; Parra, Oil Politics, 253. 95. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 141–42, 156. 96. Ibid., 142. 97. Ibid. 98. Ibid., 144. 99. For an in-depth discussion of the evolution of the bill, see Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 143–55. 100. Parra, Oil Politics, 253. 101. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 4. 102. Ibid., 5. 103. Parra, Oil Politics, 253. 104. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 155–56. 105. Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 4.
106. Ibid., 5. 107. Horowitz, Jimmy Carter and the Energy Crisis of the 1970s, 11. 108. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 177. 109. Ibid.; Anders, Federal Energy Administration, 6. 110. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 177. 111. Ibid., 178. 112. Ibid., 177. 113. Timney, Power for the People, 22; Yergin, Prize, 662. 114. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 172. 115. Farber, “Torch Had Fallen,” 18. 116. Ibid., 18–19; Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 177. 117. Timney, Power for the People, 22–23. 118. Grossman, U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, 181. 119. Ibid., 182. 120. Ibid., 209–10. 121. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 113. 122. Timney, Power for the People, 7, 23–25. 123. Graebner, “America’s Poseidon Adventure,” 157. 124. Horowitz, Jimmy Carter and the Energy Crisis of the 1970s.Page 183 →
Chapter 4 1. Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 152. 2. Jensen and Gurber, “Social Construction of Drug Problems,” 6–7; Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 150. 3. Jensen and Gurber, “Social Construction of Drug Problems,” 8. 4. Musto, American Disease, 216–23; Mares, Drug Wars and Coffeehouses, 122; Meier, Politics of Sin, 32–33. For an excellent analysis of the rise and decline of Anslinger’s career, see McWilliams, Protectors. 5. Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 150–51. 6. Musto, American Disease, 211. 7. McAllister, “Habitual Problems,” 184–85; Carroll, “Narcotic Control Act Triggers the Great Nondebate,” 31. 8. Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 153–54, 173. 9. Webb and Brown, “United States Drug Laws and Institutionalized Discrimination”; Jensen and Gurber, “Social Construction of Drug Problems,” 11; Kinder, “Shutting Out the Evil”; Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 79; Wisotsky, Breaking the Impasse in the War on Drugs, 181–82; Bonnie and Whitebread, Marijuana Conviction; Helmer, Drugs and Minority Oppression. 10. Fischer, “Prohibition as the Art of Political Diplomacy,” 161. 11. Carroll, “Narcotic Control Act Triggers the Great Nondebate,” 134–35. 12. Musto, American Disease, 212. 13. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 79; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 37. 14. Musto, American Disease, 246; Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 79. 15. Musto, American Disease, 230; Massing, Fix, 86. 16. Musto, American Disease, 246. 17. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 85–86. 18. Ibid., 86; Meier, Politics of Sin, 43. 19. Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 157. 20. McWilliams, Protectors, 181. 21. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 104. 22. Mares, Drug Wars and Coffeehouses, 121. 23. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 104.
24. Mares, Drug Wars and Coffeehouses, 124; Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 15. 25. Mares, Drug Wars and Coffeehouses, 125. 26. Ibid. 27. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 40. 28. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 105. 29. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 44–45, 59; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 45–46. 30. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 109; see also Massing, Fix, 109. 31. Musto, American Disease, 251–52. 32. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 107–9.Page 184 → 33. McWilliams, Protectors, 184. 34. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 59. 35. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 98. 36. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 59. 37. Ibid. 38. Ibid. 39. Massing, Fix, 123. 40. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 60. 41. Ibid., 67. 42. Ibid., 68. 43. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 210. 44. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 60; see also Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 113. 45. Massing, Fix, 123. 46. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 213. 47. Ibid., 221. 48. U.S. Department of Justice, DEA History Book. 49. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 239–40, 259. 50. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 42; see also Massing, Fix, 104–5. 51. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 50–51, 55; see also Massing, Fix, 110–11. 52. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 147. 53. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 56. 54. Ibid. 55. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 289n46; Musto, American Disease, 252; see also Musto, “Just Saying ‘No’ Is Not Enough.” 56. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 104. 57. For a thorough overview of Jaffe’s time at the helm of SAODAP, see Massing, Fix, chapter 9. 58. Ibid., 95. 59. Ibid., 122. 60. Ibid., 123. 61. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 249. 62. Massing, Fix, 133, 142; Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 79. 63. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 77. 64. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 29–30. 65. Ibid., 31. 66. Ibid. 67. Ibid., 42. 68. Ibid., 69. 69. Ibid., 85; Massing, Fix, 134. 70. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 86, 96. 71. Massing, Fix, 152. 72. Ibid., 134. 73. Edward Jay Epstein, Agency of Fear, 252. 74. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 48, 54; Edward Jay Epstein, Agency
of Fear, 255. 75. Massing, Fix, 137. Page 185 → 76. Musto, American Disease, 260. 77. Massing, Fix, 129. 78. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 97. 79. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 93. 80. Ibid. 81. Massing, Fix, 146–47. 82. Ibid. 83. Meier, Politics of Sin, 48–49. 84. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 116–17. 85. Ibid., 117–18; Massing, Fix, 150. 86. Mares, Drug Wars and Coffeehouses, 131. 87. Ibid. 88. Ibid., 131; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 54. 89. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 124; see also Mares, Drug Wars and Coffeehouses, 131. 90. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 135. 91. Ibid. 92. Massing, Fix, 159–60. 93. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, xi, 107; Massing, Fix, 158. 94. Massing, Fix, 158. 95. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 182n51; Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 128, 130–31. 96. Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 160. 97. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 146–47. 98. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 158. 99. Massing, Fix, 160. 100. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 151. 101. Ibid., 228; Massing, Fix, 160, 183. 102. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 58. 103. Massing, Fix, 164. 104. Ibid. 105. Ibid. 106. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 58. 107. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 174. 108. Ibid., 199. 109. Ibid., 124. 110. Ibid. 111. Ibid., 125. 112. Musto, American Disease, 267. 113. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 198. 114. Ibid., 198–99. 115. Ibid., 199. 116. Ibid. 117. Ibid., 240. 118. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 59. 119. Reagan, “Memorandum Returning without Approval.”Page 186 → 120. For a brief summary of the administration’s activities on this front during this period, see Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 59–62. 121. Falco, “Reagan’s Drug Policy.” 122. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 62; Musto, American Disease, 277. 123. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 62; see also Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 128.
124. Rosenthal, “On My Mind.” 125. For a transcript of the first press conference, which was conducted on November 15, 1988, in Gulf Stream, Florida, see http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/15/us/transcript-of-president-elect-bush-s-newsconference-in-gulf-stream-fla.html; for excerpts of the transcript of the second press conference, see http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/25/us/excerpts-from-bush-s-news-conference-with-elizabeth-dole.html? pagewanted=all&src=pm. 126. Berke, “Washington Talk.” 127. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 260. 128. Ibid. 129. Massing, Fix, 191. 130. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 264; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 64. 131. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 260–61. 132. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 115. 133. Musto, American Disease, 281; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 64. 134. Massing, Fix, 192. 135. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 263. 136. Ibid. 137. Massing, Fix, 198; Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 115. 138. Massing, Fix, 198. 139. Musto, American Disease, 281–82. 140. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 64; Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 264. 141. Massing, Fix, 195. 142. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 266, 273. 143. Ibid., 273. 144. Ferraiolo, “From Killer Weed to Popular Medicine,” 161. 145. Massing, Fix, 204; Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 115. 146. Massing, Fix, 205. 147. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 308. 148. Musto, American Disease, 282. 149. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 309; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 65. 150. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 308. 151. Massing, Fix, 205; Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 309. 152. Massing, Fix, 205. 153. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 310. Page 187 → 154. Ibid. 155. Musto, American Disease, 282. 156. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 309. 157. Musto, American Disease, 282. 158. Massing, Fix, 205. 159. Ibid. 160. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 312. 161. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 299n37. 162. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 65. 163. Ibid. 164. Dunworth and Mills, National Evaluation of Weed and Seed; Bridenball and Jesilow, “Weeding Criminals or Planting Fear”; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 65. 165. Musto, American Disease, 282. 166. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 66; Hart, “President Clinton and the Politics of Symbolism.” 167. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 120. 168. Massing, Fix, 209. 169. Ibid., 210. 170. Massing, Fix, 210; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 66.
171. Massing, Fix, 209. 172. Ibid., 210. 173. Ibid., 211. 174. Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 118. 175. Ibid. 176. Ibid., 119. 177. Massing, Fix, 216–17; Bertram et al., Drug War Politics, 120. 178. Musto, American Disease, 282; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 67. 179. Massing, Fix, 217. 180. Ibid., 219–20. 181. Musto, American Disease, 283; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 67. 182. Massing, Fix, 220. 183. Ibid., 221. 184. Musto, American Disease, 283. 185. Massing, Fix, 221. 186. Musto, American Disease, 284. 187. Massing, Fix, 221–22. 188. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 67; Musto, American Disease, 284; Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 339. 189. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 67–68; Baum, Smoke and Mirrors; Pacula et al., “State Medical Marijuana Laws.” 190. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 339; Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 68, 146.Page 188 → 191. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, 339. 192. Massing, Fix, 222. 193. Ibid. 194. Ibid., 222. 195. Ibid., 223. 196. Ibid., 222. 197. Ibid., 224. 198. Ibid., 193, 205; Baum, Smoke and Mirrors, xii. 199. Massing, Fix, 194. 200. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 70–71. 201. Ibid. 202. Whitford and Yates, Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda, 71. 203. Roberts, “Obama’s Drug Czar Refuses to Meet with Cops Seeking End to War on Drugs”; Elliott, “Panel: Global Drug War Has Utterly Failed.” 204. Graves, “Marijuana Legalization Receives 50 Percent Support in New Poll.” 205. Pickert, “Gil Kerlikowske.” 206. Fields, “White House Czar Calls for End to ‘War on Drugs’”; Good, “Obama’s Drug Czar Sails.” 207. Good, “Obama’s Drug Czar Stumps for ‘Third Way’ Policy.” 208. Fields, “White House Czar Calls for End to ‘War on Drugs.’” 209. Kuehn, “Treatment Given High Priority in New White House Drug Control Policy,” 821–22; Good, “Obama’s Drug Czar Stumps for ‘Third Way’ Policy.” 210. Fields, “White House Czar Calls for End to ‘War on Drugs.’” 211. Gersema, “Drug Control Policy Chief in Phoenix.” 212. Good, “Obama’s Drug Czar Stumps for ‘Third Way’ Policy.” 213. Kaplan, “Drug Czar Says Addiction Is a Health Problem, Not a Moral Failing.” 214. Good, “Obama’s Drug Czar Stumps for ‘Third Way’ Policy”; Kaplan, “Drug Czar Says Addiction Is a Health Problem, Not a Moral Failing.” 215. Good, “Drug Czar Kerlikowske Promotes ‘Paradigm Shift’ on Abuse.” 216. Graves, “On 40th Anniversary of War on Drugs, Cops Decry Obama’s Drug Policy.” 217. Kerlikowske et al., “Why California Should Just Say No to Prop. 19.”
218. Shen, “Kerlikowske: Legal Pot ‘Not in My Vocabulary.’” 219. Portnoy, “White House Drug Czar: Teen Marijuana Use on the Rise.” 220. Graves, “Marijuana Legalization Receives 50 Percent Support in New Poll.” 221. Schwartz and Grim, “Obama’s War on Weed”; Graves, “Marijuana Legalization Receives 50 Percent Support in New Poll.” 222. Nadelmann, “Obama’s Hypocritical War on Marijuana”; see also Bandow, “Latin American Wants Drug Peace.” 223. “Drug Czar Kerlikowske.” 224. For the press release announcing Kerlikowske’s nomination for the post, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/01/presidential-nominations-sent-senate-0. 225. See Meier, Politics of Sin, 14, 103–4. 226. Musto, American Disease, 281. Page 189 →
Chapter 5 1. Harden, AIDS at 30, chapters 1–2. 2. MacKinnon, Politics of Popular Representation, 150, 168–70; see also Harden, AIDS at 30, 175–76. 3. MacKinnon, Politics of Popular Representation, 158; Brier, Infectious Ideas, 106. 4. Brier, Infectious Ideas, 78–79, 82. 5. Harden, AIDS at 30, 35. 6. Nelson, “Reagan Administration’s Response to AIDS,” 53. 7. Harden, AIDS at 30, 101. 8. Perrow and Guillen, AIDS Disaster, 52; see also Harden, AIDS at 30, 35–36. 9. Harden, AIDS at 30, 35; Perrow and Guillen, AIDS Disaster, 52. 10. Engel, Epidemic, 102. 11. Harden, AIDS at 30, 35–36. 12. MacKinnon, Politics of Popular Representation, 158. 13. Nelson, “Reagan Administration’s Response to AIDS,” 63. 14. Cohen, Boundaries of Blackness, 296. 15. Steven Epstein, Impure Science, 187; MacKinnon, Politics of Popular Representation, 158. 16. Harden, AIDS at 30, 104; see also Engel, Epidemic, 76–77. 17. Engel, Epidemic, 102. 18. Perrow and Guillen, AIDS Disaster, 18. 19. Engel, Epidemic, 78. 20. Ibid., 93. 21. Brier, Infectious Ideas, 93, 120. 22. Harden, AIDS at 30, 101. 23. Engel, Epidemic, 81–82. 24. Ibid., 82–83. 25. Nelson, “Reagan Administration’s Response to AIDS,” 63. 26. Engel, Epidemic, 80. 27. Harden, AIDS at 30, 104–5, 110. 28. Ibid., 105. 29. Brier, Infectious Ideas, 107. 30. Nelson, “Reagan Administration’s Response to AIDS,” 57. 31. Ibid.; see also Engel, Epidemic, 93. 32. Ibid., 79. 33. Brier, Infectious Ideas, 93. 34. Harden, AIDS at 30, 110; see also Nelson, “Reagan Administration’s Response to AIDS,” 63. 35. Engel, Epidemic, 79. 36. Brier, Infectious Ideas, 94. 37. Engel, Epidemic, 100; see also Brier, Infectious Ideas, 96–98.
38. Harden, AIDS at 30, 111. 39. Engel, Epidemic, 100. 40. Harden, AIDS at 30, 111. Page 190 → 41. Engel, Epidemic, 102. 42. Ibid., 92, 131. 43. Ibid. 44. Ibid., 93. 45. Ibid., 182, 189. 46. Harden, AIDS at 30, 103. 47. Ibid., 181; Siplon, AIDS and the Policy Struggle in the United States, 94–95. 48. Engel, Epidemic, 185. 49. Ibid., 190. 50. Ibid., 185. 51. Ibid., 190. 52. German and Courtright, “Politically Privileged Voices,” 67. 53. Ibid., 68. 54. Ibid., 68–69; Steven Epstein, Impure Science, 298–99. 55. Decker, “Elections ’92.” 56. Pear, “1992 Campaign.” 57. Ibid. 58. German and Courtright, “Politically Privileged Voices,” 67, 75. 59. Rimmerman, “U.S. Presidency”; McFeatters, “Clinton Says He’d Give Aids High Priority.” 60. McKinney and Pepper, “From Hope to Heartbreak,” 77–78. 61. Engel, Epidemic, 234. 62. Ibid., 192. 63. Steven Epstein, Impure Science, 325–26. 64. Berke, “Clinton Delays Naming ‘AIDS Czar.’” 65. Cimons and Lauter, “Ex-Health Official to Become AIDS Policy Chief.” 66. Vernaci, “Leading the Charge against AIDS,” A7. 67. McKinney and Pepper, “From Hope to Heartbreak,” 83. 68. Siplon, AIDS and the Policy Struggle in the United States, 123–26; Steven Lee Myers, “South Africa and U.S. End Dispute over Drugs.” 69. McKinney and Pepper, “From Hope to Heartbreak,” 82–83. 70. Ibid., 83. 71. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 132. 72. Hilts, “Clinton’s Director of Policy on AIDS Resigns under Fire.” 73. Huntly Collins, “Amid Fire, Aids Czar Quits after Just a Year.” 74. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 132. 75. Ibid. 76. Pear, “Executive Brief”; Leeds, “Clinton Taps Temporary Liaison on AIDS Policy.” 77. Japsen, “Acting AIDS Czar Fleming Wins Post She Had Revitalized,” 14. 78. Ibid. 79. Cimons, “Clinton Appoints AIDS Policy Director”; Cimons, “Patsy Fleming,” 68. 80. Japsen, “Acting AIDS Czar Fleming Wins Post She Had Revitalized”; see also Hilts, “Clinton Picks New Director of AIDS Policy.” 81. Cimons, “Clinton Appoints AIDS Policy Director.”Page 191 → 82. Durkin, “All of Us Must Help Aids Czar Fight.” 83. Hilts, “Clinton Picks New Director of AIDS Policy”; Durkin, “All of Us Must Help Aids Czar Fight.” 84. “Stepping Down,” 16. 85. Eric Goosby served as acting director of the office between Fleming’s departure and Thurman’s appointment. 86. “Atlanta Activist Named AIDS Adviser.” 87. “Clinton Names New AIDS Czar.”
88. Freedburg, “Clinton Names Atlanta Activist as AIDS Czar.” 89. “New AIDS Czar.” 90. For a transcript of Clinton’s remarks, see http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=53956. 91. “Clinton Names New AIDS Czar.” 92. King, “Former AID Atlanta Director Sandra Thurman Named Clinton’s AIDS Czar.” 93. “Clinton Names New AIDS Czar.” 94. Siplon, AIDS and the Policy Struggle in the United States, 81; see also “Clinton’s AIDS Advisers Threaten to Quit.” 95. “Advisory Panel to Rap Clinton for ‘Stalled’ Progress on AIDS.” 96. “White House AIDS Director Defends Clinton’s Record.” 97. For a transcript of this exchange, see http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php? pid=45941&st=&st1=. 98. Heredia, “Newsmaker Profile: Scott Evertz.” 99. Ibid. 100. Ibid. 101. Bugg, “Republican AIDS Czar Scott Evertz.” 102. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 144. 103. Bugg, “Republican AIDS Czar Scott Evertz.” 104. Ibid. 105. George W. Bush, Decision Points, 333. 106. Sternberg, “AIDS Czar’s Views Stretch Party Line,” 8D. 107. DeYoung, “U.S. to Give to Global AIDS Fund,” A39. 108. Bugg, “Republican AIDS Czar Scott Evertz.” 109. Gamerman, “Man in the Middle.” 110. Ibid.; Sternberg, “AIDS Czar’s Views Stretch Party Line.” 111. Stolberg, “Bush Replacing AIDS Adviser Who Drew Fire,” A13. 112. Ibid. 113. Evertz, “How Ideology Trumped Science”; see also Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 145. 114. For this press release, see http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2002/07 /20020719-2.html. 115. George W. Bush, Decision Points, 337. 116. See, for example, Salyer, “Sad State of the U.S. Office of National AIDS Policy.” 117. “Bush Settles on Chief of National AIDS Policy Office.” 118. Dietrich, “Politics of PEPFAR.” 119. Chris Collins, “Why Cutting PEPFAR Is Bad Policy.”Page 192 → 120. Dietrich, “Politics of PEPFAR.” 121. “Bush Settles on Chief of National AIDS Policy Office.” 122. Nolen, “American AIDS Czar Stresses Need to Move On,” A12. 123. Thurman and Evertz, “Abstinence-Only Message Misguided,” A19. 124. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 276n41. 125. Cohen, Boundaries of Blackness. 126. McNeil, “New Office in U.S. to Fight AIDS,” A7. 127. For the full blog post, see http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2010/09/obamas-part-time-aids-czar-jeffcrowley.html. 128. “American Tragedy,” A16. 129. “White House to Unveil National AIDS Strategy Tuesday”; Robinson, “Obama Unveils National AIDS Strategy amid Praise and Criticism.” 130. For the official announcement, complete with video, see http://www.white-house.gov/blog/2010/07/13 /announcing-national-hivaids-strategy. For another post, also featuring video, detailing the contributions of the strategy on its one-year anniversary, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/13/national-hivaidsstrategy-one-year. 131. Robinson, “Obama Unveils National AIDS Strategy amid Praise and Criticism.” 132. Abutaleb, “Obama Orders Stepped Up Effort against U.S. HIV/AIDS Epidemic.” For the text of the
executive order, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/15/executive-order-hiv-carecontinuum-initiative. 133. Viebeck, “Obama Steps Up Fight against HIV.” For more information on the HIV Care Continuum, see http://aids.gov/federal-resources/policies/care-continuum/. 134. Foreman, “AIDS and the Limits of Czardom.” 135. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 144–45. 136. Bull, “Bush on AIDS.”
Chapter 6 1. For an excellent discussion of the key figures in President Bush’s “war cabinet,” see Mann, Rise of the Vulcans. 2. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 139–40. 3. Clarke, Against All Enemies, 248. 4. Weisberg, Bush Tragedy, 147; Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, 263. 5. George W. Bush, “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the United States Response to the Terrorist Attacks of September 11.” 6. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 139–40. For the executive order, see http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=61509. 7. O’Hanlon et al., Protecting the American Homeland, 106. 8. Clarke, Against All Enemies, 248; O’Hanlon et al., Protecting the American Homeland, 106–8. 9. George W. Bush, “Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Tom Ridge as Director of the Office of Homeland Security.” 10. George W. Bush, “President’s Radio Address.”Page 193 → 11. Allen and Pianin, “Ridge Carries Message on Anthrax,” A4; George W. Bush, “Address to the Nation from Atlanta on Homeland Security.” 12. Conley, “Presidential and Congressional Struggles over the Formation of the Department of Homeland Security,” 136–37. 13. Pianin and Graham, “New Homeland Defense Plans Emerge,” A4; Keen, “Ridge Will Have Clout, Bush Aide Stresses,” 13A. 14. Fitzgerald and Mastrull, “Ridge Charged with Unifying Terrorism Fight,” D3. 15. O’Hanlon et al., Protecting the American Homeland, 99–100; Mitchell, “Disputes Erupt on Ridge’s Needs for His Job,” B7. 16. “Defeating Terrorism Requires Beating Bureaucracy First,” 12A. 17. Bazinet, “Before He Can Fight Terror, Ridge May Face a Turf War,” 7. 18. Bazinet, “Terror Czar Ridge Sworn In, Puts CIA and FBI on Notice,” 25; Becker and Sciolino, “Nation Challenged: Homeland Security,” B11. 19. Gribbin, “Ridge Sees a Secure U.S. Homeland,” A1. 20. McGrory, “Security Czar’s Homeland Challenge,” A3. 21. Pianin and Broder, “Ridge Defends His Role as ‘Coordinator,’” A5. 22. McCutcheon, “Homeland Czar,” 58. 23. Clarke, Against All Enemies, 248. 24. Allen and Pianin, “Ridge Carries Message on Anthrax,” A4; DeFrank, “Critics Call White House Bush League,” 6; Clarke, Against All Enemies, 249–50. 25. Ridge, Test of Our Times, 80. 26. O’Hanlon et al., Protecting the American Homeland, 117–18. 27. Ridge, Test of Our Times, 83–104. 28. Ibid. 29. Conley, “Presidential and Congressional Struggles over the Formation of the Department of Homeland Security,” 104. 30. Ibid.; Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 140. 31. For a transcript of the press conference, see http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65091.
32. Conley, “Presidential and Congressional Struggles over the Formation of the Department of Homeland Security,” 104. 33. Harper, “Manley Takes on Security Czar Role,” A6; “U.S., Canada Sign ‘Smart Border’ Declaration.” 34. George W. Bush, “Remarks Announcing Action against Terrorist Financial Support Networks.” 35. O’Hanlon et al., Protecting the American Homeland, 137–43. 36. George W. Bush, “Remarks to the National Governors’ Association.” 37. George W. Bush, “Remarks to First-Responders in Greenville”; George W. Bush, “Remarks to FirstResponders in Atlanta, Georgia.” 38. Draper, Dead Certain, 170; Conley, “Presidential and Congressional Struggles over the Formation of the Department of Homeland Security,” 137. 39. Lipper and Isikoff, “Homeland,” 6; Draper, Dead Certain, 170. 40. George W. Bush, “Address to the Nation on the Proposed Department of Homeland Security.” 41. Conley, “Presidential and Congressional Struggles over the Formation of the Department of Homeland Security,” 137.Page 194 → 42. Ibid. 43. George W. Bush, “Remarks Prior to a Meeting with Congressional Leaders and an Exchange with Reporters.” 44. George W. Bush, “Remarks to Federal Employees on the Proposed Department of Homeland Security.” 45. George W. Bush, “Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation to Create the Department of Homeland Security”; see also George W. Bush, “Remarks on the National Strategy for Homeland Security”; George W. Bush, “Remarks on Proposed Legislation to Establish the Department of Homeland Security.” 46. Clarke, Against All Enemies, 248–49. 47. Conley, “Presidential and Congressional Struggles over the Formation of the Department of Homeland Security,” 135. 48. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 168. 49. Clarke, Against All Enemies, 252; O’Hanlon et al., Protecting the American Homeland, 118–19. 50. Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 386. 51. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 9/11 Commission Report, 411; Tama, Terrorism and National Security Reform, 3, 164–69. 52. Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 387. 53. Ibid., 388. 54. Ibid., 387; Mahle, Denial and Deception, 347. 55. Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 388. 56. Ibid., 388, 399. 57. Marks, Spying in America in the Post 9/11 World, 59. 58. Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 389. 59. Ibid., 391–92. 60. Ibid., 392. 61. Ibid. 62. Betts, Enemies of Intelligence, 150. 63. Oh, “Reorganizing the U.S. Intelligence Community,” 37. 64. Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 392. 65. Loch K. Johnson, National Security Intelligence, 33. 66. Marks, Spying in America in the Post 9/11 World, 122–23; Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 385, 392; Zegart, Spying Blind, 183. 67. Marks, Spying in America in the Post 9/11 World, 123. 68. Liebmann, Last American Diplomat, 203. 69. Marks, Spying in America in the Post 9/11 World, 59; Oh, “Reorganizing the U.S. Intelligence Community,” 37. 70. George W. Bush, “Remarks on Presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the Department of State.” 71. George W. Bush, “President’s News Conference.”
72. Dobbs, “Negroponte’s Time in Honduras at Issue,” A1; Harris, Watchers, 273; Conley, “Presidential and Congressional Struggles over the Formation of the Department of Homeland Security,” 125. 73. Draper, Dead Certain, 163. 74. Terry H. Anderson, Bush’s Wars, 189.Page 195 → 75. Liebmann, Last American Diplomat, 263. 76. Hirsh, “Tough Diplomacy.” 77. Ibid. 78. Keen and Stone, “Negroponte Has History of Tough Jobs,” 7A. 79. Liebmann, Last American Diplomat, 264; Davies, “Negroponte Pledges Strong Hand and Full Truth,” A2; John Diamond, “Intelligence Nominee Says He Won’t Hesitate to Exercise Authority,” 6A; see also Hastedt, American Foreign Policy, 165. 80. George W. Bush, “Statement on Senate Confirmation of John D. Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence.” 81. George W. Bush, “Remarks at a Swearing-In Ceremony for John D. Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence and Michael V. Hayden as Deputy Director of National Intelligence.” 82. Liebmann, Last American Diplomat, 268. 83. Ibid., 280. 84. Ibid., 279. 85. Ibid., 282, 272. 86. Ibid., 280; Hastedt, American Foreign Policy, 253. 87. Liebmann, Last American Diplomat, 273. 88. Ibid., 284. 89. Ibid., 285. 90. Ibid., 263, 266; Tama, Terrorism and National Security Reform, 1–4. 91. Liebmann, Last American Diplomat, 266–72; Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 396–97. 92. Liebmann, Last American Diplomat, 272. 93. Ibid. 94. Ibid., 285; Harris, Watchers, 323–24. 95. Harris, Watchers, 323; Loch K. Johnson, Threat on the Horizon, 393, 397; Loch K. Johnson, National Security Intelligence, 31; see also Hastedt, American Foreign Policy, 349. 96. Loch K. Johnson, National Security Intelligence, 31–32. 97. Ibid., 32–33. 98. Ibid., 33. 99. Ibid. 100. James A. Baker III, Hamilton, and Eagleburger, Iraq Study Group Report, xiii. 101. Peter Baker and Ricks, “3 Generals Spurn the Position of War ‘Czar,’” A1. 102. Ibid. 103. Ibid.; Steven Edwards, “Top U.S. Generals Turning Down ‘War Czar’ Job,” A18; Peter Baker and Nicholson, “No Takers for White House War Tsar Position,” 11; MacAskill, “Top US Generals Reject War Tsar Role for Iraq and Afghanistan,” 18. 104. Ward, “White House Eyes a ‘War Czar’ to Cut Red Tape,” A5. 105. Peter Baker and Ricks, “In White House Plan, War ‘Czar’ Would Cut through the Bureaucracy,” A13. 106. Stolberg, “Quiet Bush Aide Seeks Iraq Czar, Creating a Stir,” A1. 107. LaFranchi, “Missing Player.” 108. Stolberg, “Quiet Bush Aide Seeks Iraq Czar, Creating a Stir.” 109. Cooper, “War Czar for Bush to Keep His Job.”Page 196 → 110. McAuliff, “Just What We Need, Another War Czar, Hill Mocks Bush,” 18. 111. Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 339. 112. Stolberg, “White House Picks General to Coordinate Its War Policy,” 9. 113. Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 41; Woodward, War Within, 234, 298; Stolberg, “White House Picks General to Coordinate Its War Policy,” 9. 114. George W. Bush, “Statement on the Appointment of Lieutenant General Douglas Lute as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan.”
115. George W. Bush, “Fact Sheet: Lieutenant General Douglas E. Lute: Experience and Authority.” 116. Snow, “Press Briefing by Tony Snow.” 117. Josh White, “Army Recruiting Rebounds in July to Exceed Goals,” A3. 118. Woodward, War Within, 396–98. 119. Dana Perino and Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh, “Press Gaggle by Dana Perino and Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh, Spokesman for the Government of Iraq,” October 18, 2007. 120. Dana Perino and Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh, “Press Gaggle by Dana Perino and General Douglas Lute, Assistant to the President for Iraq and Afghanistan,” November 26, 2007; see also Garcia, Mason, and Elsea, Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning the Prospective Security Agreement between the United States and Iraq. 121. Ward, “U.S. Stay in Iraq at Issue,” A1. 122. Bergen, Longest War, 193. 123. Ibid., 194. 124. Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 194. 125. Ibid., 41. 126. Miller, “Lessons for Intelligence Support to Policymaking during Crises,” 5. 127. Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 41. 128. Ibid., 42. 129. Ibid., 42–43. 130. Ibid., 43; Miller, “Lessons for Intelligence Support to Policymaking during Crises,” 5; Lubold, “Military Sees Window to Adjust Afghanistan Plan,” 2. 131. Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 40. 132. Ibid., 44. 133. Ibid., 43–44. 134. Ibid., 44. 135. Miller, “Lessons for Intelligence Support to Policymaking during Crises,” 6. 136. Bumiller and Shanker, “Obama Tells Generals to Quicken Pace of Iraq Withdrawal,” 4. 137. Miller, “Lessons for Intelligence Support to Policymaking during Crises,” 6. 138. Bergen, Longest War, 311–12; Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 90; Miller, “Lessons for Intelligence Support to Policymaking during Crises,” 6. 139. Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 263–64, 322. 140. Ibid., 311–13, 316–20. 141. Ibid., 320. 142. Ibid., 339. 143. DeYoung, “Obama Picks Victoria Nuland for Assistant State Secretary, Douglas Lute for NATO.”Page 197 →
Chapter 7 1. Berke, “Bush’s Transition Largely a Success, All Sides Suggest.” 2. Ibid. 3. See, for example, Paul, Tea Party Goes to Washington. 4. Beck, “Obama Stimulus Package Really Socialism?”; Limbaugh, “Barack Obama’s Cruel Socialism.” 5. Hannity, “Socialist Secret in Obama’s Transition Team?” 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Beck, “Rise of the Czars.” 10. Beck, “List of Obama’s Czars.” 11. “President Obama’s ‘Czars.’” 12. Beck, “Time for a Czar Czar?” 13. Rossmeier, “Czar Madness Won’t End.”
14. Goler, “Obama’s Czars Draw Criticism from Both Sides of the Political Aisle.” 15. Hutchison, “Obama’s Many Policy Czars Let Administration Elude Accountability.” 16. Weigel, “GOP Rep. Wants ‘44 Czars’ to Testify Before Congress.” 17. Goler, “Obama’s Czars Draw Criticism from Both Sides of the Political Aisle.” 18. Rossmeier, “Czar Madness Won’t End.” For a full description of the Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act, see http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3226/show. 19. Rossmeier, “Czar Madness Won’t End.” 20. Ibid.; see also Cantor, “Too Many Presidential Czars Keep Congress in the Dark.” 21. See, for example, Napolitano, “What Can Obama’s Czars Legally Do?” 22. Straub, “Sen. Byrd Questions Obama’s Use of Policy ‘Czars.’” 23. Klukowski, “Senior Democrat Says Obama’s Czars Unconstitutional.” 24. Hamburger and Parsons, “President Obama’s Czar System Concerns Some.” 25. Straub, “Sen. Byrd Questions Obama’s Use of Policy ‘Czars.’” 26. Jim Myers, “Boren Says Congress Should Push for Removal of Unconfirmed ‘Czars.’” 27. Bohn, “White House Shrugs off Feingold’s ‘Czar’ Hearings.” 28. Feingold, Statements from the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. 29. Ibid. 30. Ibid. 31. Ibid. 32. Zimmermann, “Lieberman to Hold Czars Hearing.” 33. Lieberman, Statements from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Hearing on “The Future of Policy Czars.” 34. Ibid. 35. Raju, “Democrats Join GOP Czar Wars.” 36. Ibid. 37. Ibid. Page 198 → 38. Ibid. 39. Dunn, “Truth about ‘Czars.’” 40. Bohn, “White House Shrugs off Feingold’s ‘Czar’ Hearings”; see also “Obama Administration Snubs Hearing”; http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2356890/posts. 41. Adam J. White, “Obama’s Cynical Energy Agenda,” 22. 42. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 152. 43. Carol E. Lee, “Carol Browner, Director, Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.” 44. Obama, “Remarks on Energy in Lanham, Maryland.” 45. Hirsh, “Lioness in Spring.” 46. Obama, “Remarks during a Meeting with the Nation’s Governors on Energy.” 47. Obama, “Remarks on Signing a Memorandum Improving Energy Security, American Competitiveness and Job Creation, and Environmental Protection through a Transformation of Our Nation’s Fleet of Cars and Trucks”; see also Adam J. White, “Obama’s Cynical Energy Agenda,” 25; Tankersley, “Auto Emissions Deal.” 48. Hirsh, “Lioness in Spring.” 49. Warshaw, “Obama Cabinet,” 61–62; Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 152. 50. Revkin, “Obama Aide Concedes Climate Law Must Wait.” 51. Obama, “Executive Order 13503”; see also Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 158. 52. Hicks, “President of Bronx Could Get Cabinet Post,” 41; Kamen, “Self-Leaking Nominee?,” A17. 53. Kappstatter, “Cheers for Carrión’s Move,” 31; Funk, “People: State and Local Advocates Applaud Obama’s Urban Affairs Office Picks.” 54. Obama, “Remarks to the United States Conference of Mayors.” 55. Ferguson, “White House Impressed with Urban Planning in Flagstaff, Ariz.” 56. Lesser and Smith, “Buildings Sprang Up as Donations Rained Down,” 8; Goldsmith and Hutchinson, “White House Mum as foes Rip Carrión,” 15; Greg B. Smith, “White House to Carrión: Pay Yer Bills,” 14. 57. Fletcher, “Obama Sets Sights on Urban Renewal,” A8; Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 17; Rayburn, “Stimulus in Action.”
58. DeFrank, “Carrión Moves over to HUD Job,” 37; Beekman, “Carrión Comeback,” 35. 59. Bertram Johnson, “Small Ball in the Long Game,” 152; Hulse and Pear, “Daschle Apologizes over Taxes as Allies Give Support.” 60. Philip Klein, “Sebelius, DeParle to Replace Daschle.” 61. Stolberg, “Obama Taps Health Aide with Links to Industry,” A14. 62. Obama, “Executive Order 13507”; see also Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 16–17. 63. “Nancy-Ann DeParle.” 64. Obama, “Remarks on Health Care Reform.” 65. Obama, “Remarks on the Nomination of Governor Kathleen Sebelius to Be Secretary of Health and Human Services and Nancy-Ann DeParle to Be Director of the White House Office for Health Reform.”Page 199 → 66. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 159–60; Silva, “AMA Letter Backs Obama’s Broad Principles for Health System Reform,” 1; Pear, “Health Care Stage Shared, If Not Goals,” 1A. 67. Bertram Johnson, “Small Ball in the Long Game,” 155; Wolfe, Revival, 66; see also Lightman and Talev, “Is Obama’s Vow of Public Debate on Health Care Fading?” 68. Obama, “Remarks on Signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” 69. Aizenman, “‘Hard Work Begins’ in Health-Care Law’s Details,” A15. 70. Steinhauers, “G.O.P. Newcomers Set Out to Undo Obama Victories,” A1; Holland Johnson, “DeParle Plugs Healthcare Reform to Skeptical Crowd.” 71. Hamburger and Parsons, “President Obama’s Czar System Concerns Some.” 72. Halstead, “Examining the History and Legality of Executive Branch ‘Czars.’” 73. For more on legislative efforts to corral czars, however, see Vaughn and Villalobos, “Policy Czar Debate,” 315–30. 74. Peter J. Smith, “Obama Bypasses Senate to Install Controversial ‘Rationing Czar’ at Medicare Center.” 75. Ibid. 76. Kara Rowland, “Obama Dethrones Czars.” 77. Ibid.
Conclusion 1. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars; Halstead, “Examining the History and Legality of Executive Branch ‘Czars’”; Harrison, “Legal Issues Associated with Executive Branch ‘Czars’”; Marlowe, “Unitary Executive,” 150. 2. Stacy McCain, “Buckley Cracks Up Libertarian.” 3. Patterson, Ring of Power, 272. 4. Sollenberger and Rozell, President’s Czars, 168. 5. See also Vaughn, “Reconsidering Presidential Policy Czars.” 6. Koch, “Energy and a Needed Czar.” 7. Schanzenbach, “Naming a Child Policy Czar.” 8. Burleigh, “Appoint a Gun Czar Now, Mr. President.” 9. Condon, “Obama Adds ‘Ebola Czar’.” 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. Page 200 →
Page 201 →
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Index Abramowitz, Alan, 28 accountability (governmental), xi, 3, 126, 150–52, 154, 197n18 administrative presidency, 29–31 Afghanistan, 93, 123, 138–44, 150–51 Afghanistan czar, 150–51 agencies (federal) Agency for International Development, 15, 117 Central Intelligence Agency, xi, 56, 69, 73, 125, 133, 135–36, 142, 146 Environmental Protection Agency, xi, 45, 58–59 Federal Emergency Management Agency, xi, 16, 125 AIDS czar, 6–8, 37, 98–121, 150–51, 153, 167, 171 AIDS-related bureaucracy AIDS Action Council, 109 Centers for Disease Control, xi, 99–101, 126 HIV Care Continuum Initiative, 119 HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration, 115 National AIDS Commission, 103–5, 107–8 National Institutes of Health, xii, 100 Office of Global Health Diplomacy, 118 Office of National AIDS Policy, xii, 99–121, 171 Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, 103 President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, 114, 116–18, 121 U.S. Public Health Service, 100 Working Group on Health Policy, 99 AIDS-related legislation, 106 al-Maliki, Nouri, 141 al-Qaeda, 123–24
Alexander, Lamar, 153 Allison, Graham, 33 Ambrose, Myles, 63, 67–71, 73, 97 American Hospital Association, 162 American Medical Association, 162 Anders, Roger, 53 Annan, Kofi, 94, 117 Anslinger, Harry, 61–66, 70, 96 Appointments Clause, 3 Arab oil embargo of 1973, 45–46, 48–51, 57 Arthur, Chester, 17 auto industry bailout, 159 auto recovery czar, 150–51 Baker, Cornelius, 121 Baker, James, III, 138 Baltimore Sun, 115 Balz, Dan, 28 Page 226 → Barshefsky, Charlene, 108 Bartels, John, 73 Bates, Chris, 121 Baum, Dan, 79, 85 Bennett, William, 7, 36, 63, 81–86, 88, 92–93, 95, 97, 169 Bensinger, Peter, 73 Bernstein, Alan, 150–51 Berwick, Donald, 163 Biden, Joe, 18, 80, 137, 144, 158 bin Laden, Osama, 123–24 Blair, Denis, 137–38, 146, 150
Blair, Tony, 149 Blanco, Kathleen, 16 Bloom, Ron, 151 Bloomberg, Michael, 161 Boehner, John, 149 Bolten, Josh, 116 border czar, 37, 150–52 Boren, Dan, 154 Boston Globe, 104 Bourne, Peter, 63, 73–75, 77 BP oil spill, 159 Brennan, John, 150–51 Brinegar, Claude, 52 Brookings Institution, 154 Bross, Daniel, 109–10 Brown, Gordon, 149 Brown, Lee, 63, 87–91, 97 Browner, Carol, 149–51, 158–59, 160, 164, 171–72 Brownlow, Louis, 27, 30, 32 Brownlow Committee (Brownlow Report), 30 Buchanan, Pat, 105 Buckley, Christopher, 165–66 Bupp, I. C., 43–44 Bureau of the Budget, 30 bureaucratic delegation of authority, 3, 28, 44, 111, 141, 154, 155 Burleigh, Nina, 173 Bush, George H.W., 7–8, 24, 36, 78, 81–82, 84–87, 104–6, 133, 167, 169 1988 election, 81–82, 105 1989 inauguration, 81
1992 reelection defeat, 105–6 AIDS, 104–6 Iran-Contra scandal (Iran-Contra affair), 24 war on drugs/drug czar, 7, 36, 78, 81–82, 84–87, 169 Bush, George W., 5–8, 14, 16–17, 23, 28, 36–37, 92–93, 96, 108, 113–21, 123–48, 153, 155, 157, 165, 167–71, 173 2000 election, 92, 113, 148 2001 inauguration, 23 2004 reelection, 131 2008 transition, 143 AIDS/AIDS czar, 6, 8, 37, 108, 113–21, 167, 171 czar usage, 156–57, 165 drug legislation, 129, 132–33 Gulf Coast recovery czar, 14 homeland security czar, 36 Hurricane Katrina, 16–17 intelligence czar, 123–48 relations with Congress, 28 war on drugs, drug czar, 7, 92–93, 96 war on terror/war czar, 6, 123–48 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 138–39 Bush, Laura, 125 Bush v. Gore, 148 Butz, Earl, 44 Byrd, Robert, ix, 1, 153–54 California water czar, 150–51 Cameron, Charles, 28, 33 Cantor, Eric, 153 Capitol Hill, 50, 72, 110, 141 car czar, 151–52
Card, Andy, 126–27, 129–30 Carnes, Bruce, 85 Carrión, Adolfo, 14, 17–20, 150–51, 159–60, 164, 171–72 Carter, Ashton, 150–51, 172 Carter, Jimmy, 23–24, 32, 41, 55–59, 72–76, 89, 172 1976 election, 55, 74 1977 inauguration, 55, 74 1980 reelection defeat, 76 Page 227 → Crisis of Confidence Speech, 57 energy crisis/energy czar, 55–59 energy legislation, 57 public expectations of, 23 staffing changes, 32, 57 war on drugs/drug czar, 72–76 Casey, Lee, 11–12 CATO Institute, 10 Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 163 central region czar, 150–51 centralization, 5, 12–13, 29, 31–33, 35–36, 39, 43, 77, 120, 132, 174, 178n59 Cheney, Dick, 132, 137, 139 chief of staff, 82, 92, 109, 116, 126–27, 162, 167 Chisholm, Shirley, 110 Chopra, Aneesh, 150–51 Christen, Pat, 111 Clark, Ramsey, 67 Clarke, Richard, 125, 127, 130 Clapper, James, 138 Cleveland, Grover, 29
climate czar, 149–51, 158 Clinton, Bill, 5–8, 14–15, 32, 37, 87–92, 94, 98–99, 105–15, 117–20, 125, 158, 161, 167, 191n90 1992 election, 8, 87, 105–6, 108 1993 inauguration, 89 1996 reelection, 89, 110–11 AIDS/AIDS czar, 6, 37, 98–99, 105–15, 117–20, 167 budget, 87, 89 counterterrorism, 125 environment, 158 health care/Medicaid, 112, 161 staffing changes, 32, 87 war on drugs/drug czar, 7, 37, 87–92, 98–99 Y2K crisis/Y2K czar, 14–15 Y2K legislation, 15 Clinton, Hillary, 140, 158, 160 CNN en Espańol, 37 Cohen, Cathy, 118 Cohen, Eliot, 141 Colfax, Grant, 108, 119 Collins, Susan, 152 Committee on Administrative Management, 30 Competitive Enterprise Institute, 165 congressional authority, 1–5, 33, 109, 132, 145, 153–55 congressional autonomy, 2 congressional oversight, 1, 13, 34, 72, 148, 152, 155, 172 Congressional Research Service, ix, xi, 3, 11–12, 162 congressional testimony, ix, 4, 12, 48–49, 88, 90, 128 Conley, Richard, 126 Constitution, 2–3, 7, 10–12, 21, 23, 25–27, 62, 64, 145, 152–54, 157, 163, 165, 172
Coolidge, Calvin, 9–10 Council of Economic Advisers, 52 Courtright, Jeffrey, 105 Craig, Gregory, 2, 157 Crocker, Ryan, 140 Cronin, Thomas, 25, 29, 32 Crowley, Jeffrey, 108, 118–19, 150–51 culture war, 61, 76–78, 86, 88, 92, 95 cyber czar, 152 Czar Accountability and Reform Act of 2009, 152, 197n18 czar (presidential) appointment, 1–3, 7, 9, 12–13, 15, 17–18, 21, 37, 67, 77, 79–82, 85, 93–94, 96, 106–11, 113, 118, 131, 135, 140, 143, 149–50, 152–58, 161, 163, 165–66, 173–74, 191n85 coordination, 2, 5–6, 10, 12–20, 22, 32–39, 41–43, 45, 47, 50, 52, 58–59, 66, 68, 70, 75, 80, 101–2, 105–13, 116–19, 121, 123–27, 131–36, 138–39, 141, 143, 145–46, 156–57, 159–62, 164–67, 169, 171–74 executive-bureaucratic collaboration, 34–36, 127, 168, 179n80 expertise, 34–36, 67, 74, 76, 91–92, 104, 136, 166, 168, 174 Page 228 → leadership, 6, 16–17, 35–36, 39, 51, 55, 58–59, 65, 67, 70–71, 85, 88, 98, 100, 113, 121, 137, 139, 159, 161, 171, 173–74 proliferation, 4, 7, 38, 149 Daschle, Tom, 161, 164 Davis, Cameron, 150–51 decriminalization, 67, 74–76 Democratic Party, 105, 111, 148, 161 DeParle, Nancy-Ann, 150–51, 161–64, 171 departments (federal) Department of Commerce, 18, 53 Department of Defense, xi, 15, 132–33, 135, 138, 142 Department of Education, 92, 160 Department of Energy, xi, 7, 42, 45, 56–57, 159, 172
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, xi, 70 Department of Health and Human Services, 15, 79, 99, 114–18, 125, 152, 161 Department of Homeland Security, xi, 37, 63, 93, 96, 130–31, 145–46, 169, 173 Department of Housing and Urban Development, xi, 18–19, 160–61 Department of Interior, 42–43, 49, 51, 53 Department of Justice, xi, 69, 132, 135 Department of Labor, 18 Department of Natural Resources, 43, 45 Department of Transportation, 15, 18, 53, 159–60 Deutch, John, 134 Devaney, Earl, 150–51 DiBona, Charles, 44–45, 48 Director of National Intelligence, xi, 131, 170 Dodd, Christopher, 148 Dogoloff, Lee, 63, 73, 75–77 domestic policy, 19, 67, 70, 105, 115, 117 Domestic Policy Council, xi, 99, 101, 103, 109, 159, 161 domestic violence czar, 150–51 Donfeld, Jeff, 70, 72 Dorgan, Byron, 156 Douglas, Derek, 161 drug czar, 7, 13, 36–37, 61–98, 119, 121, 127, 150–52 drug-related bureaucracy Adolescent Drug Abuse Prevention Campaign, 75 Bureau of Drug Abuse Control, 66 Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, xi, 7, 63, 66–70, 73 Canadian Division of Narcotic Control, 64 Drug Abuse Policy Office, 63, 75, 77 Drug Enforcement Administration, xi, 69–70, 73, 77, 90
Federal Bureau of Narcotics, xii, 62–66, 68 Federal Narcotics Control Board, 62 Narcotics Division (Department of Treasury), 62 Narcotics Treatment Administration, 63, 72 National Drug Enforcement Policy Board, 81 National Endowment for the Humanities, 82, 92 National Institute of Mental Health, 65 National Institute on Drug Abuse, xii, 63, 72 Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, xii, 63, 69–70, 73 Office of National Drug Control Policy, xii 13, 61–63, 80–82, 84, 87, 89–93, 95–98 Presidential Commission on Narcotic and Drug Abuse, 65 South Florida Task Force, 78, 85 Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention, xii, 63, 66, 70–75, 168, 184n57 U.S. Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, xi, 79 Page 229 → drug-related legislation Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, 36, 62 Boggs Act of 1951, 64 Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, 66 Drug Abuse and Treatment Act of 1972, 71 Harrison Act of 1906, 62, 66 Jones-Miller Act of 1922, 62 Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, 64 Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, 62 Violent Crime and Drug Enforcement Improvements Act of 1982, 36 DuBois, Joshua, 150–51 Dukakis, Michael, 81, 104–5 Duncan, Charles, 57 Dunn, Anita, 2, 36, 157
DuPont, Robert, 63, 67, 71–72, 75, 78, 88, 97 Durkin, Eileen, 110 Dybul, Mark, 117 Earnest, Josh, 173–74 Ebola virus czar, 173–74 economic czar, 150–52 Edwards, George, x, 22–23, 25, 27–28 Eisenhower, Dwight, 10, 165 Elders, Joycelyn, 88, 91 elections, 1, 8, 25, 27, 55, 57, 66, 68, 71–76, 80–82, 84–85, 87, 89–90, 92–93, 96, 101, 103–6, 110–11, 130–32, 147–48, 159–60 Emanuel, Rahm, 89 energy czar, 7, 39, 41–59, 120, 150–51, 170, 173 energy-related bureaucracy Atomic Energy Commission, 56 Department of Energy, xi, 7, 42, 45, 56–57, 159, 172 Department of Energy and Natural Resources, 45 Energy and Natural Resources, 49 Energy Emergency Planning Group, 46–47 Energy Policy Office, xi, 42, 45 Energy Research and Development Administration, xi, 45, 52 Energy Research and Development Commission, 57 Energy Resources Council, 52–53, 57 Federal Energy Administration, xi, 42, 51–56 Federal Energy Office, xi, 42, 47, 49–51, 53 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 57 Federal Power Commission, 56–57 National Energy Production Board, 54 Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 52 Office of Energy Policy, 42, 47
Oil Policy Committee, 47 Project Independence, 47, 50–51 energy-related legislation Emergency Natural Gas Act of 1977, 56 Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, xi, 54 Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, 52–53 Federal Energy Act of 1974, 51 energy and environment czar, 150–51 Engel, Jonathan, 100, 104–5 Evans, Douglas, 46 Evertz, Scott, 108, 113–17, 120, 171 executive branch, 3, 5, 10–13, 23, 25, 29–30, 33–34, 43, 49, 66, 80, 87, 100–101, 128, 147–48, 153, 155, 159, 161–62, 172 Executive Office of the President, xi, 12, 30, 32, 47, 71, 82, 131, 158 executive order, 14, 18, 30, 45, 47, 52, 77, 119, 125, 132, 137, 158–61, 163, 192n6, 192n132 executive overreach, 9, 148, 151, 153, 157 expectations gap, 5, 21–29, 31–32, 34, 38, 65, 119, 172, 174 faith-based czar, 150–51 federal government, 13–15, 17, 20, 29, 37, 42–44, 46, 57, 62, 64, 85, 96, 105, 113, 148, 161, 171–72 Page 230 → Feinberg, Kenneth, 2, 150–51 Feingold, Russell, 12, 154–57, 162 Ferraiolo, Kathleen, 61, 65, 77 Ferrier, Antonia, 149 Figueres, Christiana, 173 First Lady, 77, 125 Fleming, Patricia, 108–10, 118 Flournoy, Michele, 143 Food and Drug Administration, 70 Ford, Gerald, 10, 24, 41, 52–56, 58–59, 72–75, 97, 165, 172
1976 election defeat, 55 energy crisis/energy czar, 52–59 energy legislation, 52, 54–55 executive order, 52 pardoning of Nixon, 55 war on drugs, 72–75 foreign policy, 23, 78, 92 Foreign Policy (magazine), 1 Foreman, Christopher, 38, 120 Franks, Tommy, 133 Fried, Daniel, 150–51 Gallup (polling), 28, 66, 94 Gates, Robert, 133, 140–41 Gebbie, Kristine, 107–10, 167 Genovese, Michael, 21–22, 25 German, Kathleen, 105 Gibbs, Robert, 2, 157, 162 Gibson, Andrew, 53 Giordano, Harry, 63, 65 Global Commission on Drug Policy, 94 Goosby, Eric, 108, 118–19, 121, 191n85 Gore, Al, 92, 108, 113, 148 Goss, Porter, 131–32, 136 government performance czar, 150, 152 government reorganization, 29, 43, 52–53, 68–69, 126, 129–30, 163 Gration, J. Scott, 150–51 Great Depression, 24, 29 Great Lakes czar, 150–51 Great Recession, 164, 171
green jobs czar, 151, 154 Greenspan, Alan, 52 Guantanamo closure czar, 150–51 Gulf Coast recovery czar, 14, 16–17 Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, 16 Gulf War I, 137 Gulick, Luther, 11 gun czar, 173 Hadley, Stephen, 139–40 Halstead, T. J., 3, 162 Hamilton, Lee, 138 Hannity, Sean, 149 Harden, Victoria, 100 Harrison, John, 3, 11, 175n11, 176n10 Hart, Gary, 127 Hayden, Michael, 136 Hayes, David, 150 health czar, 150–52, 158, 161–62 Healy, Gene, 10 Heckler, Margaret, 79 Heritage Foundation, 10 Hess, Stephen, 30 Holbrooke, Richard, 143, 150–51 Holden, John, 150–51 Homeland Security czar, 36, 124–30, 145–46, 169 homeland security-related bureaucracy 9/11 Commission (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States), 131–33, 146 Federal Emergency Management Agency, xi, 16, 125 Federal Bureau of Investigation, xi, 125, 135
Homeland Security Advisory System, 128 Homeland Security Council, xi, 125 National Security Council, xii, 43, 125, 139, 141, 143 Office of Homeland Security, xii, 125–26, 128–29 Hoover, J. Edgar, 64 House of Representatives (U.S.), 28, 127–28, 131–32, 135, 149, 152–53 House Appropriations Subcommittee, 128 House Government Reform Committee, 128 House Intelligence Committee, 131, 135 Page 231 → House minority leader, 149 House minority whip, 153 Howell, William, 13, 21 Hudson, Rock, 102 Hult, Karen, ix, 5, 34 Hunt, Howard, 73 Hurricane Katrina, 16 Hussein, Saddam, 85, 123 Hutchison, Kay Bailey, 152 Illinois Drug Abuse Program, 70 Immigration and Customs Enforcement, xi, 37, 152 information asymmetry, 34–35 information czar, 150–51 Ingersoll, John, 63, 67–70, 97, 171 intelligence czar, 124, 130–46, 150, 152, 168–70 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, 132 intelligence-related bureaucracy Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, 136 Digital Intelligence Library, 136
Iraq Study Group, 138 Iraq Survey Group, 136 National Counterproliferation Center, 136 National Counterterrorism Center, 136 National Intelligence Priorities Framework, 136 Open Source Center, 136 Robb-Silberman Commission, 136 international climate czar, 151 Iran-Contra scandal (Iran-Contra affair), 24 Iraq, 85, 123, 134, 136, 138–43 Issa, Darrell, 153 Jackson, Henry, 45, 54 Jackson, Lisa, 158 Jaffe, Jerome, 63, 67, 69–72, 75, 88, 97, 168, 184n57 James, Randy, 10 Jarrett, Valerie, 19 Johnson, Gary, 90 Johnson, Loch, 137 Johnson, Lyndon, 7, 66–67 Johnson, Magic, 105 Joint Chiefs of Staff, 137, 140 Jones, Anthony “Van,” 151, 154 Just Say No (campaign), 79 Karzai, Hamid, 144 Kean, Thomas, 131, 133 Kennedy, John F., 17 Kennedy, Robert, 65 Kennedy, Ted, 86 Kerlikowske, Gil, 61, 63, 93–96, 98, 150–51, 188n224
Kerry, John, 131 King, Desmond, 28 Kingdon, John, 33 Kingston, Jack, 152 Kissinger, Henry, 33, 49 Klain, Ron, 173–74 Koch, Ed, 173 Koop, C. Everett, 100–102 Koskinen, John, 14–15, 20 Krause, George, 32 Krogh, Egil, 67, 70, 72 Kundra, Vivek, 150–51 Kuromiya, Kiyoshi, 109 LaMontagne, Margaret, 115 legalization, 74, 88, 90, 94–95, 98 Leno, Jay, 128 Liaison Office for Personnel Management, 30 Liddy, Gordon, 33, 73 Lieberman, Joe, 129, 154, 156–57 Lincoln, Abraham, 29 Log Cabin Republicans, 113 López, Juan Carlos, 37 Love, John, 7, 42, 45–48, 58–59, 170–71 Lowi, Theodore, 22, 25 Lute, Douglas, 8, 124, 138, 140–46, 169–70 Page 232 → MacDonald, Ian, 63, 78–79 MacKinnon, Kenneth, 100 Manley, John, 129
Mann, Thomas, 154 manufacturing czar, 153 Marlow, Melanie, 3 Martinez, Bob, 63, 85–86, 88, 92, 97–98, 169 Massing, Michael, 83, 85 McCaffrey, Barry, 63, 89–93, 97, 127 McCain, John, 1, 160, 174 McConnell, John, 137 McHenry, Patrick, 152 McKiernan, David, 142 McKinney, Mitchell, 108 McLaughlin, John, 131 McNeill, Dan, 141 Meese, Edwin, 77, 81 Meet the Press, 82 Michael, Steve, 109, 111 Mideast peace czar, 150–51 Miller, Paul, 142 Mitchell, George, 150–51 Moe, Ronald, 38 Moe, Terry, 5, 31 Montgomery, Ed, 150–51 Moran, Jerry, 174 Mullen, Michael, 144 Murphy, Tim, 174 Musharraf, Pervez, 134 Musto, David, 85 Myers, Dee Dee, 37, 108 Nagin, Ray, 16
National Academy of Sciences, 102 National Cancer Institute, xii, 101 National Endowment for the Humanities, 82, 92 National Governors Association, 129 national intelligence czar, 124, 130–38, 145 National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, xii, 74–75 National Press Club, 15 National Public Radio, 114 National Right to Life Committee, 163 national security, xii, 8, 43–44, 49, 51, 61, 93, 123, 125, 130, 132, 134, 136, 138–41, 143–44, 146, 169–70 National Security Council, xii, 43, 125, 139, 141, 143 Negroponte, John, 8, 124, 130, 133–38, 145–46, 168–70 Nelson, Ben, 156 Nelson, Victoria, 101 Neustadt, Richard, 27, 33 New York Observer, 173 New York Times, 99 Newsmax, 9 Newsweek, 78, 84 Nicholas II, 156 Nixon, Richard, 7, 10, 22, 24, 32, 39, 41–52, 55–59, 66–71, 73–74, 94, 120, 161, 165, 168, 170–72, 180n6 1968 election, 22, 57 1972 reelection, 71 1973 inauguration, 71, 73 energy crisis/energy czar, 7, 39, 41–52, 55, 57–59, 120, 170–72 executive order, 47 impeachment, 43, 52 relations with Congress, 43–44, 52, 71, 172 reorganization, 43
resignation, 24, 47–48, 52 staff changes, 32 supersecretaries, 44, 161 Vietnam War, 43 war on drugs/drug czar, 7, 66–71, 73–74, 94, 168, 171 Watergate, 24, 32, 42, 58, 73 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, xii, 142, 144–45 Obama, Barack, ix, 1–2, 4–11, 14, 17–22, 28, 36–37, 63, 94–96, 117–21, 124, 137, 143–50, 152–55, 157–65, 167, 170–71, 173–74, 176n2 2008 election, 1, 17, 94, 96, 147, 158, 160–61 2009 inauguration, 1, 17, 22, 94, 149 Page 233 → 2008/2009 transition, ix, 143, 147–49, 158 2013 inauguration, 162, 173 AIDS/AIDS czar, 8, 118–21, 167 big government criticisms of, 147–50, 153 border czar, 37 child policy czar, 173 climate czar, 158–59, 164, 171 czar controversy, 1–2, 8–10, 36, 147–50, 152–55, 157–63, 165, 173–74 Ebola virus/Ebola czar, 173–74 executive order, 18, 119, 158, 163 gun czar, 173 health czar, 161–63, 171 hidden social agenda allegations, 4, 149–50 intelligence czar, 137, 146 public expectations of, 21–22 rationing czar, 163 relations with Congress, 28, 145, 152, 154–55, 157 transparency, 152
urban affairs czar, 14, 18–20, 159–61, 171 war on drugs/drug czar, 7, 94–96 war on terror/war czar, 6, 124, 143–50, 170 Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, xii, 158, 164 Office of Health Reform, xii, 161, 163–64 Office of Management and Budget, xii, 14, 49, 75, 126, 154, 159 Office of Public Engagement, 161 Office of Urban Affairs, 18–19, 159 Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, 108, 117 O’Leary, John, 42, 55–57 O’Neill, Joseph, 108, 115–17, 121 Operation Enduring Freedom, 123 Operation Intercept, 68 Operation Iraqi Freedom, 123 Operation Weed and Seed, 86 O’Steen, David, 163 Oval Office, 17, 22, 25, 45, 102, 109, 113, 120, 143, 148 Pakistan, 134, 142–44 Panetta, Leon, 109, 137–38, 146, 167 Parra, Francisco, 54 partisanship, 1, 11, 15, 24, 26, 28, 61, 71, 77, 86, 100, 103–4, 110–11, 115, 123, 134, 145, 147, 153–54, 157 Patterson, Bradley, 10–12, 37, 165–66 pay czar, 2, 150–51 Pentagon, 44, 70, 89, 91–93, 132–33, 135, 143–44 Pepper, Bryan, 108 Perino, Dana, 139, 141 Perot, Ross, 77 Perry, Rick, 152 Petraeus, David, 140, 142
Petrelis, Michael, 118 Pfiffner, James, ix, 12, 36 polarization, 24, 26, 28, 145 politicization, 5, 31–33, 35–36, 39, 75, 178n59 Politico, 1, 150–51, 158 Powell, Colin, 114–15 Powell, Donald, 14, 16–17, 20, 114–15 presidential agenda, 4, 6, 19–20, 22–24, 26, 35, 79–80, 82, 107, 112, 115, 145, 147, 149, 158–60, 164, 170–71 presidential leadership, i, 5, 7, 21–29, 31–32, 34, 38, 42, 44, 67, 71, 84, 92, 97, 99, 101, 105–6, 108–9, 113, 161, 174 presidential management, 5–6, 8, 19, 26–27, 30–32, 34, 36–38, 41, 43, 59, 98, 106, 120–21, 124, 146, 162, 174 presidential war powers, 43 President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion, 14 press secretary, 2, 37, 108, 139–40, 157, 173 Price, Ray, 22 principal-agent framework, 34 Quayle, Dan, 81 Raichur, Arvind, 27 Rangel, Charles, 85 rationing czar, 163 Page 234 → Reagan, Ronald, 7, 23–24, 32, 36, 57, 62, 73, 76–83, 85, 97, 99–104, 107 1980 election, 76 AIDS/AIDS czar, 7, 99–104, 107 budget cuts, 80 culture war, 76 drug legislation, 36, 80–81 energy crisis/energy czar, 57 Iran-Contra scandal (Iran-Contra affair), 24 public expectations of, 23
Reagan Revolution, 77–78, 100 staffing changes, 32 veto, 36, 80–81 war on drugs/drug czar, 7, 36, 62, 73, 76–83, 85 regulatory czar, 150–52, 154 Relyea, Harold, 11 Reorganization Plan No. 2, 68–69 Republican Party, 113 responsive competence, 31, 35 Rice, Condoleezza, 136, 141 Ridge, Tom, 8, 36, 124–30, 134, 145, 169–70 Riedel, Bruce, 143, 170 Rivkin, David, 11 Robb, Charles, 136 Rockefeller, Nelson, 52 Rockman, Bert, 23 Rogers, David, 108 Romanovs, 1, 174 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 24, 29–31, 42, 178n51 Roosevelt, Theodore, 17, 23, 62 Roper, William, 101 Rosenthal, Lynn, 150–51 Ross, Dennis, 150–51 Rothkopf, David, 139 Rozell, Mark, 3, 12, 109, 165–66, 172 Rudalevige, Andrew, 32 Rumsfeld, Donald, 131–33 Russian czars, 156 Russoniello, Joseph, 78
Ryan White CARE Act of 1990, 104–5, 116–17 Saiger, Aaron, 9, 37–38 Samore, Gary, 150–51 Saunders, Kyle, 28 Sawhill, John, 42, 49, 51–53, 57 Scalise, Steve, 2 Schanzenbach, Diana, 173 Schlesinger, James, 42, 56–57 Schumer, Charles, 127 Science, 43 science czar, 150–51 Sebelius, Kathleen, 118–19, 161–62 Seidman, Harold, 32–33 Senate (U.S.), 3, 10–13, 21, 28, 36, 38, 51, 56, 58–59, 71–72, 80–81, 90, 94, 128, 130, 132, 134, 137, 140–41, 145–46, 151–54, 156, 161, 163 Senate Appropriations Committee, 128 Senate confirmation, 3, 12–13, 22, 38, 51, 56–59, 63, 71, 80–81, 83, 90–92, 94, 100, 106, 128–30, 134–35, 138, 140–41, 145, 151–54, 156, 163 Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, 12, 156 Senate Judiciary Committee, 10, 12 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, 10–12, 154 separation of powers, 3, 21, 26, 165, 172 September 11, 2001 (terror attacks), 8, 61, 92–93, 123–25, 131–34, 138, 145–46, 168, 170 Service Employees International Union, 162 Shalala, Donna, 107–10 Shapiro, Nick, 149 Sharman, C. H. L., 64 Shultz, George, 45, 48, 94 Silberman, Laurence, 136 Simon, William, 7, 42, 45, 47–53, 58–59, 120, 170–71
Siplon, Patricia, 112 Small Business Administration, 160 Smith, Harold, 31 Snow, Tony, 140 Socialist International Organization, 149 Page 235 → Sollenberger, Mitchel, 3, 12, 109, 165–66, 172 Spalding, Matthew, 10 Speer, Albert, 48, 50, 170 St. Clair, Gilbert, 23 Stern, Todd, 150–51 Stimson, James, 27 stimulus accountability czar, 150–51 Stolberg, Sheryl, 115 Sudan czar, 150–51 Sunstein, Cass, 150–51, 154 Sununu, John, 82 supersecretaries, 44, 161 Sustainable World Society Commission, 149 Taliban, 93, 123 TARP czar, 150–51 technology czar, 150–52 terrorism czar, 150–52 Theriault, Sean, 28 Thompson, Carol, 108, 117–18, 121 Thompson, Tommy, 114 Thurman, Sandra, 108, 111–13, 117–18, 191n85 Time, 10, 47 Tobias, Randall, 108, 117–18, 121
Townsend, Fran, 9 Train, Russell, 45 Truman, Harry, 24, 29, 131–32 Turner, Carlton, 63, 76–79 Turner, Wayne, 111 unilateral executive action, 124 unitary executive theory, 3, 124 United Kingdom, 163 United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, 116 urban affairs czar, 14, 17–19, 150–52, 158–61, 164 U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 134 U.S. Conference of Mayors, 160 U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 63, 68–69, 73, 81, 91, 96 U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, 108, 117 U.S. News, 84 Van de Kamp, John, 78 veto, 15, 36, 80–81 Vietnam War, 24, 43, 70, 125–27 Vietor, Tommy, 10 Volcker, Paul, 94, 150–51 von Raab, William, 81 Walcott, Charles, 5, 34 Wall Street Journal, 1 Walters, John, 63, 85, 92–93 war czar, 6, 124, 138–46, 169–70 war on drugs, 7, 61–62, 66–67, 70–72, 76–77, 80, 82–91, 93–98, 106, 169, 171 war on terror, 8, 61, 93, 123–26, 129, 131–32, 134, 136, 170 Washington, George, 29 Washington Energy Conference, 49
Washington Post, 10, 28, 127, 139, 152, 161 Washington Times, 149 Waterman, Richard, 7, 23 Watkins, James, 103 Waxman, Henry, 107 Wayne, Stephen, 22 weapons czar, 150–51 Weinstein, Michael, 119 Weiss, Ted, 110 White House, xii, 1, 2, 7–8, 10, 12, 16, 18–20, 29–30, 32, 34, 36, 38–39, 44, 47, 58, 67–72, 75–77, 79, 87, 89–91, 94, 99, 101–3, 106, 109–15, 117–18, 125–29, 131–32, 139–40, 144, 146–49, 152–65, 167, 171–73 White House Counsel, 2, 157 White House Office, xii, 30, 153 White House staff, 1, 7, 12, 30, 67, 71, 115, 147, 153 Wilson, James Q., 33 Wilson, Woodrow, 24, 29 WMD policy czar, 150–51 Wolf, Frank, 174 Wood, William, 140–42 Woodward, Bob, 140, 142 Page 236 → World War I, 24 World War II, 24, 29, 31, 41–42, 46 Wright, Robert, 23 Y2K czar, 14–15 Yergin, Daniel, 48 Young, Andrew, 110 Zarb, Frank, 42, 49, 53–56 Zients, Jeffrey, 150