Mitt Romney At Treasury?

There has been speculation since Tuesday’s Presidential election results became known, who would President Obama select for his next cabinet.  Two big openings will be Treasury and State.  Will the team of rivals expand?

One of the intriguing possibilities would be for President Obama to tap Mitt Romney for Secretary of Treasury.  Reaching out to his opponent would underscore both Obama’s desire for bi-partisanship as well as a nod to Romney’s business savvy.  Is this just wistful thinking?  Is Mitt even qualified?  Why would the President consider it or why would Mitt accept?

My guess is this is wistful thinking.  This proposition suggests that politicians are both selfless and possess magical qualities that can fix anything.  If any thing, Washington DC is the home for egotists, the self involved, and the greedy.  DC means “what’s in it for me”.  Strangely, however, our Federal Government seems to function as well if not better than any other in the world.  Never the less, thinking that the President would offer the post and Romney would accept it, puts DC is a romantic light.  The image raises very pleasant wistful thinking.

Hmmm.   But what if?

Romney is a Mormon.  He is a church leader and lives his creed genuinely.  Giving back to the community and sharing widely your gifts is mainstream Mormonism.  At 65, what’s left for Romney?

He could become CEO of a wide range of firms.  He could pursue higher church offices.  He could head a major University.  And he could write a book and sit home counting his money.  Doesn’t sound like new frontiers.

On the other hand, after so many years of public life, a compelling offer to put his talents to work putting America back on fiscally sound path might be attractive.  History would be extremely kind to someone who put first his country.  Pragmatically, what a chance for Romney to contribute to policies which shaped the business environment while fixing the deficit mess.

A Romney appointment would send shivers down the backs of many Liberals.  The anti-Wall Street crowd would think the President had lost his marbles.  Even big banks might worry…  Romney has nothing to gain or lose in his Treasury role…  He would not be for sale under any conditions.

Normally, there is a chemistry associated with these high level appointments.  President Obama, however, picked both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton who opposed his nomination.  The President found ways to work with both without the need for close friendship.

Mitt Romney is a complex character.  He made public statements during his run for office which were all over the map (far right to maybe center left).  Romney just might be able to accept a centrist White House direction and mold Treasury policies to match.  From this inside position, he could ensure his business views were heard.

Dreaming?  Maybe.  The biggest hurdle for Romney might be being a number two in the biggest tent, rather than a number one in some other tent?

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