Washington Matters


Obama, McCain: Name Economic Cabinet Now


With Congress working on the largest government economic intervention in decades and the next administration having to manage it, both Barack Obama and John McCain might do a great public service and probably even help their campaigns by naming now the top economic people they intend to nominate if elected. That might be more important, even, than rushing back to Washington and suspending campaigning for a few days while the Wall Street rescue package is fashioned.

Both Obama and McCain are boning up intensively on the financial crisis, but wouldn't each appear stronger and clearer on the subject of the economy if surrounded by the actual economic team they intend to have?

Announcing their top choice for a few major players, such as for Treasury Secretary or the Securities and Exchange Commission in advance of the election and during the financial market mess would strengthen the foundation of their whole economic message -- which is not the natural high card for either. While it would be impossible to make firm commitments or to receive more than tentative commitments from those named, the candidates could choose already largely known and well vetted people such as Mitt Romney or Carla Fiorina for McCain or Robert Ruben or Laura Tyson for Obama, assuming they agree to serve.

Neither candidate need or should try to name a whole cabinet. That wouldn't be smart and could expose them to political risk with the media going wild about the past records of those chosen. But naming a couple economic marshals for the next administration would be a good step toward letting voters know the candidates thinking and the kind of people the intend to rely upon for advice. It would also give the candidates and Congress a head start on the transition process. 

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It would also demonstrate the direction each candidate would take on regulation and economic affairs. It would reveal a good deal more about how the candidates would steer how on the economy, the markets and coming regulation than any empty campaign statement.

 




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