I never understood why it is acceptable for American media to call political appointees “czars” as if it was a great example to others to be a czar.

Here´s a mention to Podesta being a possible energy czar.

Another observer said John Podesta, Clinton’s White House chief of staff and now co-chair of Obama’s transition team, may also be in consideration for energy secretary or climate “czar,” a White House position being created by Obama to spearhead climate change policy.

Or a drug czar

On paper, Jim Ramstad — who is rumored to be Obama’s choice for drug czar — looks like the ideal man for the job.

A czar, or tsar, is basically a Russian emperor who hardly ruled in a manner that would be compatible with anything that we would call democratic in the States today. One of the most famous czars is Ivan the Terrible. Here´s an excerpt of his biography:

Other events of this period include the introduction of the first laws restricting the mobility of the peasants, which would eventually lead to serfdom, and change in Ivan’s personality, traditionally linked to his near-fatal illness in 1553 and the death of his first wife, Anastasia Romanovna in 1560. Ivan suspected boyars of poisoning his wife and of plotting to replace him on the throne with his cousin, Vladimir of Staritsa. In addition, during that illness Ivan had asked the boyars to swear an oath of allegiance to his eldest son, an infant at the time. Many boyars refused, deeming the tsar’s health too hopeless to survive. This angered Ivan and added to his distrust of the boyars. There followed brutal reprisals and assassinations, including those of Metropolitan Philip and Prince Alexander Gorbatyi-Shuisky.

So if czar is in fashion how about some other possibilities. The Energy Fuhrer. The Drug Tyrant. The Tech Despot. The Intelligence Dictator. Or maybe, these last days as we witness the collapse of the car industry we could name an Auto Autocrat to lead the way to recovery.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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