Should prez candidates unveil Treasury Secretary faves?

The Plain Dealer editorializes that because the Secretary of the Treasury has become so much more powerful (I referred to the prospect as making Hank Paulson head of the Communist Party) as a result of the passage of the bailout bill, that Barack Obama and John McCain should name their choices for Secretary of the Treasury in advance of the November election.

I should point out to the Plain Dealer that, by the time the bailout bill was passed, large-scale early voting in Ohio had already begun.  Whoops!  Those early votes are already locked in, no matter who is named.

Of course, if Barack Obama is to live up to his mantra that there is not a Blue America and a Red America, that there is only the United States of America, he might want to have a Cabinet comprised of individuals that aren’t of his own party, and who might not currently be in his campaign camp.

Of course, if John McCain is truly a maverick, and like the maverick Sarah Palin did as Alaska’s governor, invite some from outside his political party, then some of the people he might tap for roles in his Administration might not be in his campaign camp.

Wouldn’t it backfire if either one of them named someone outside their camp as Secretary of Treasury?  Such a nominee would retort that they are supporting someone else for U.S. President.  If they named someone within their camp, within their party, would negative ads crop up denouncing the consolidation of power within one party when the bailout bill was sold to the American people as an issue that needed a bi-partisan approach?

The bailout has so politicized and empowered the position of Secretary of the Treasury, that maybe the American people need to vote directly on who should fill the office.  I suppose that’s why the PD thinks the Secretary of Treasury nominee should be considered part of each party’s ticket along with the Prez and VP nominees.  Of course, my idea of fixing the problem is to repeal the bailout bill, or at least the portions that allocated taxpayer money to the bailout along with the additional power granted to the Treasury Secretary to exercise his/her own discretion in choosing where that money goes and what exactly gets bailed out.

Though I disagree with him on foreign policy issues and many domestic social issues, I recognized from the get-go that Ron Paul spoke the truth on monetary policy.  If I were John McCain (the nominee that I support for president), and I were trying to build a ruling coalition within my Cabinet that included a mix of ideologies and party affiliations, I’d be inclined to name Ron Paul as Secretary of the Treasury.  Ron Paul, though, isn’t backing McCain.  Ron Paul has recently endorsed Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin for U.S. President.  Ron Paul and John McCain have clearly different takes on financial policies, so Ron Paul would probably turn down the position because he wouldn’t want to be handcuffed by McCain’s presidency on how he handles the Department of the Treasury.  If both could put their misgivings aside, there is a political up-side for both.  The Republican Party has been losing some of its strength to minor parties, so a McCain invitation to Paul might help plug the hole on that front.  Ron Paul, on the other hand, lacks prominence because he’s only advanced as far as the U.S. House of Representatives, and hasn’t demonstrated his administrative acumen in a highly visible executive branch role.  So, if Ron Paul were to accept a McCain nomination, Ron Paul would have the opportunity to shore up perceived political weaknesses if he chooses to have another go at the U.S. Presidency.

Mostly, though, I’d like Ron Paul to be Secretary of the Treasury so he could talk some financial sense into John McCain in an area of expertise that is not McCain’s strong suit.  Ron Paul opposed the bailout, just as I do, and Ron Paul has a much better idea of how to correct course.

As for the person I voted for in the Republican Primary, Mitt Romney, I’d like to see him in a Cabinet position, too.  His most natural fit would be as Secretary of Commerce.  However, with our domestic economic woes spelling trouble for the global economy, perhaps the other nations of the world would be more reassured if Mitt Romney were Secretary of State.  Other nations could feel some reassurance that Romney would understand their economic concerns, and the U.S. could retain its position in the world as economic superpower, despite the looming downturn, with a person such as Romney as Secretary of State.

With Obama leading in the polls, McCain could use a game-changer, but I don’t think that naming a Cabinet before the elections is the way to do it.  The real issue is leadership at the top of the ticket.  If McCain seeks a game-changer, it has to be something that causes the electorate to see him in the role of leader, but not Obama.  Tinkering with Cabinet considerations, at this point, would not advance the leadership profile of either McCain or Obama, as such tinkerings could easily be portrayed as presumptuous and premature.  At this stage of the game, they both need to keep their eye on the prize or run the risk of looking less like a leader and more like a backroom-dealing party boss.

2 Responses to “Should prez candidates unveil Treasury Secretary faves?”

  1. James Says:

    I heard a comment by a fellow student once while I was attending college that he thought the most powerful man in the US was really Alan Greenspan (then Fed Chair). I think it is ironic that Greenspan did more to catalyze the balanced budget we had in the 90’s than Clinton did. Clinton wasn’t really worried about balancing the budget until Greenspan refused to raise interest rates unless he did so. Well the rest is history. Things went well economically while Clinton was is office and started to fall apart as he went out the door. He takes all the credit for being a “good” president and Bush all the flack for our economic woes. Now with the newly endowed powers of the secretary of the treasury he can either be the czar or the whipping post depending on how things go while he’s in office. One thing is for sure the “main street” bailout is just a front. Since the secretary of the treasury will essentially be able to pick and choose who he bails out it will be impossible to veil the whole thing with “looking out for the public interest”. I just can’t figure out how the federal government will keep it together when they are more fiscally insolvent than the institutions they are bailing out. The only reason they haven’t folded is that for some strange reason no one ever stops loaning the government money. At least not yet…

  2. buckeyerino Says:

    “. . . they are more fiscally insolvent than the institutions they are bailing out . . .”

    I guess it’s because stock in the federal government is not listed on the New York Stock Exchange. If it were, it would have gone belly up many times over.

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