November 26, 2008

Tom Daschle to be "Health Czar"

I'm not one of these history experts who reads books and stuff, but I have a vague impression that this whole "Czar" thing didn't work out so hot over in Russia (it was Russia, right?) So, how come Presidents are always appointing somebody to be Czar of this or that? Also, my general recollection going back to the first Energy Czar in about 1973 was that none of these Beltway Czars ever solved anything. So, as a public service to the Obama Administration, here are a list of fresher sounding job titles that they could use for Daschle in place of the shopworn and obviously doomed to failure term Health Czar:

Health Shogun
Health Generalissimo
Health Pharaoh
Health Duce
Health Shahinshah
Health Mikado
Health Grand Vizier
Health Master and Commander
Health Nabob
Health Warlord
Health Fuhrer
Health Khan
Health Big Brother
Health Doge
Health Galactic Overlord
Health Potentate
Health Übermensch
Health Grand Turk
Health Humongous
Health Rajah
Health Paterfamilias
Health Kaiser
Health Kahuna
Health Kommandant
Health Big Man
Health Ayatollah of Rockandrollah
Health Cacique
Health Imperator
Health Poobah
Health El Supremo
Health Commissar
Health Patroon
Health Capo di Tutti Capi
Health El Guapo


Hunsdon said...

You saved the last for best. What did Murray Rothbard call the State? "A gang of thieves, writ large."

Anonymous said...

Health Imperial Grandmaster of Funk

Anonymous said...

You missed Health Messiah. Would kind of fit the Obama theme...

Anonymous said...

You missed "Health Despot" were despot means lord, but not necessarily in a bad sense.

Anonymous said...

I want the office of 'Defense Secretary' to be renamed 'the Warlord'.

Anonymous said...

El Sumpremo de Salud

Anonymous said...

Great chieftain o' the puddin' race.

Anonymous said...

Where did the cz come from? In Russian, its pronounced Tsar', and I've always seen that in English when referred to the rulers of Russia. But when talking about US government officials, it becomes "czar."

Anonymous said...

You missed Health Satrap.

Joe H.

Anonymous said...

Health Hetman

Health Godfather

Health Kingfish

Grand Imperial Health Kleagle

Health Fonzie

Bruce Charlton said...

We have 'Czars' in the UK too - but since they are uniformly faceless bureaucrats whose freedom of decision-making is utterly stifled with multiple layers of thick red tape; I can only assume that the title is intended to give the office-holders a frisson of fantasy - so they can pretend to be awe-inspiring wielders of absolute power, bestriding the nation...

So basically it is like calling garbage men sanitary engineers - but in reverse.

Anonymous said...

Tom Daschle never seemed like such a healthy guy to me. Kind of gaunt and withered.

Tino said...

Nice list. Only missed Health Lord Protector.

Tsoldrin said...

What's wrong with 'Surgeon General'?

Anonymous said...

Richard H, here's some pedantry for you:

The word tsar is derived from the Latin title Caesar by way of the Old Slavonic tsesar. The word is cognate with German Kaiser, Gothic Kaisar and its Dutch, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian cognates. The contraction from tsesar to tsar occurred by way of the shorthand writing of titles in old Slavonic church manuscripts. The title was first adopted by Ivan IV in 1547.

However, the spelling with cz- is against the usage of all Slavonic languages; the word was so spelt by Herberstein in Rerum Moscovit. Commentarii, 1549, the chief early source of knowledge of Russia in Western Europe, whence it passed into the Western languages generally. In some of these it is now considered old-fashioned. The usual German form is now zar; French adopted tsar during the 19th c. This form also became frequent in English towards the end of that century, having been adopted by the Times newspaper as the most suitable English spelling.

The transferred sense of "person with dictatorial powers" is first recorded in 1866, American English, initially in reference to President Andrew Jackson.

(OED, Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology and Online Etymology Dictionary)

Anonymous said...

Health Head Honcho
Sultan of Salubrity (or Thane of Thalubrity -- not that there's anything wrong with that!)
Clean Bill Caliph
Vitality Vizier

Aaron Haspel said...

Health Panjandrum?

Anonymous said...

As a fan of the S.M. Stirling "Domination" series, may I suggest Health Archon?

-Vanilla Thunder

Frank said...

Health "Caesar" the root of Czar and Kaiser.

Baloo said...

Health Werowance. (Thanks to Rex Stout)

I think Czar is the Polish spelling, which got into English somehow.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the Czars work out so well in Russia? Under the Czars Muscovy threw off the Tatar yoke, conquered all of Siberia, Central Asia, the Baltics, Ukraine, Finland, and Crimea. Battered the Ottoman and Swedish Empires into submission and dismembered Poland. Not a bad record.

Anonymous said...

We definately need to go back to calling the Dept. of Defence to the Dept. of War. Same thing for health and human services.

albertosaurus said...

Czar is of course derived from Caesar. In Ivan the Terrible's coronation address he calls Moscow the third Rome. The first two being Rome itself and then Constantinople. He states that there will not be a fourth. This speach is alluded to in the recent Val Kilner Movie "The Saint".

Caesar's name is also preserved in the name of the Spanish city of Zaragoza (Caesar Augustus). The Sargasso Sea also derives from that.

So when you hear the title of Czar maybe you should think of a giant stagnant pool of floating becalmed garbage.

michael farris said...

"I think Czar is the Polish spelling, which got into English somehow."

No, Polish cz = English ch as in char. Tsar/czar in Polish is 'car' (c = ts as in cats for most Eastern European languages)

It's more likely to be an old Hungarian spelling where cz = English ts in cats. In modern Hungarian this is only found in some proper names. Modern Hungarian tsar/czar is cár.

I'm not sure how an old ugro-finnic spelling ended up in English to represent a Slavic word....

Anonymous said...

Health Lebowski

Health Dude

Health Dude Lebowski

Anonymous said...

A bit of history:

Julius Caesar's last name gradually became a title in Rome. Caesar adopted his ultimate successor Augustus, giving him the Caesar name. Augustus adopted his successor Tiberius, passing on the Caesar name to him. Tiberius was succeeded by a son of his own adoptive son, kicking down the Caesar name to a yet another unrelated individual. And so on. All those adoptions were necessary because the old Roman aristocracy was dying of atheism and childlessness at that time. So many unrelated-to-each-other emperors in a row used Caesar as one of their names, that it for all intents and purposes became a title.

Long after the empire disappeared, its prestige lingered. The title of Caesar was used by many rulers who had nothing to do with the original Empire and who spoke many different languages. Even Ottoman Sultans called themselves Caesars of Rome (Qaisar e Rum). Kaiser, the German version, is closest to the way Julius Caesar himself would have pronounced it. The Russian czar and the English caesar are based on centuries-old mispronunciations.

Anonymous said...

The health daddy

Anonymous said...

Caudillo would not be inappropriate,nor Conducator ,either.

Anonymous said...

Lord High Executioner is not in your list.

Anonymous said...

"Patroon" is not well-known outside of upstate New York, where the patroons ruled. This may be why the appleknockers rejected their own patroon in the 1930s and 1940s. (And 1920s as well, no doubt.) They knew what it meant.

Most of the rest of the country's voters got it confused with "poltroon", apparently applied to themselves.

Anthony said...

"Health Kaiser" might have trademark problems.

Anonymous said...

I think they are going to use Fuhrer for President Obama and Commissar for all the rest..... LOL

Anonymous said...

How about Big Nurse?

The whole ----- Czar thing was a media fad of the 1970s, when it was fashionable to pretend that the US and the USSR were basically alike or were converging, so we should resign ourselves to adopting Russian titles. You will recall that we did not hear of any Czars after Reagan took office.

The media is now in its New Deal nostalgia phase. Because GDP dropped about 0.1% in the third quarter, we have just endured a camp Depression, so we need to enact a camp New Deal.

It is always 1932 in the donkey's brain.

Anonymous said...

The word tsar is derived from the Latin title Caesar by way of the Old Slavonic tsesar. The word is cognate with German Kaiser, Gothic Kaisar and its Dutch, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian cognates. --anonymous

Yes, and if the press is caught using, without our express permission, the Cæsar family name, image, trademark, or any derivative thereof, in any language, dialect, pidgin, argot, or jargon, or in any language-game derivative therethereof, in any alphabet, syllabary, pictograph, glyph, rebus, sign language or other manual or corporal gesture, or semaphore, Morse, binary or other code, they will be hearing forthwith from our attorneys.

Anonymous said...

Health god (small-g of course)

Anonymous said...

Kaiser and Czar come from the same root ("Ceasar").

Anonymous said...

"Health Messiah" would sound too much like someone was actually going to be healed somewhere along the line. "Health Czar" has the right ring, though--a distant king with great powers which he wields in ignorance of local conditions, to little positive effect.

Anonymous said...

You will recall that we did not hear of any Czars after Reagan took office.

What are you talking about? The concept pretty much started its current vogue in the Reagan Administration, when a 1982 news story by United Press International which reported that “Senators... voted 62-34 to establish a ‘drug czar’ who would have overall responsibility for U.S. drug policy.” Actually, recent scholarship suggests (unsurprisingly) that our brilliant Vice President-elect originated the term. See the NYT, October 9, 1982, "U.S. plans a new drive on narcotics" Section 1, Page 18:
"But Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Maryland [sic!] Democrat who is a strong advocate of antinarcotics efforts, said today that he thought no program could work without a Cabinet-level "drug czar" in charge to coordinate the work of various agencies."

Anonymous said...

When the new administration appoints this or that czar (health czar, drug czar, ring-around-the-collar czar, whatever), a suit should be brought against them in federal court based on Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution:

"No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States:..."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the first time I heard it was when Bill Bennett was named "Drug Czar." I was outraged at the evident seriousness with which the term was used. First I believed it was a joking term, but nooooo. It was the country that was turning into a joke...

Anonymous said...

Health Jesus