Obama to name Clinton-era border czar for repeat
posted at 9:31 am on April 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama’s Hope and Change motto got deployed originally in his run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination as an argument against a return to the Clintonistas. It hasn’t turned out that way; not only did Obama hire Hillary herself as Secretary of State, but 42% of his appointments have come from Bill Clinton’s administration. It should not surprise anyone, then, that when Obama needed a “czar” for the southern border, he opted for Bill’s:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is naming a “border czar” to oversee issues related to drug-cartel violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and the hundreds of thousands of people who try to enter the U.S. illegally through the Southwest.
An Obama administration official says Napolitano on Wednesday will name Alan Bersin, a former federal prosecutor, to fill the new post at the Homeland Security Department. The official would speak only on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement expected in El Paso, Texas.
As choices go, Bersin isn’t too bad. He ran Clinton’s crackdown on border crossings for most of his term, and didn’t make many friends doing it. Operation Gatekeeper succeeded in slowing down illegal border crossings, and for his trouble Bersin won the enmity of open-borders groups. Some of them opposed his appointment as superintendent of San Diego’s public-school system afterwards.
Of course, Bersin will act to impose Obama’s policies this time, and not Bill Clinton’s. So far, Obama has shown little resolve in blocking illegal border crossings. His administration, led by Janet Napolitano, has focused instead on blaming America for a gun problem in Mexico — which, as it turns out, is simply false.
Old czar becomes new czar — and the Obama administration continues to expand the use of “czars”. The Bush administration dropped the “border czar” position, assigning its tasks within INS initially and eventually within DHS. In fact, Bush only had one “czar” at all, and that was on war policy, which wound up being all but invisible and was completely within his authority as CinC. Governing via barely-accountable “czars” portends an even more autocratic government, one more tied to the Presidency than ever before.
Update: Some people took the headline wrong, so I adjusted it for clarity. Bill Clinton is not the new border czar.