A week prior to the 2012 elections, I reported on the fact that Barack Obama wanted to add a new cabinet level secretary in to be put in charge of the Commerce Department, naming the individual the Secretary of Business. Now presidential historian and Pulitzer prize winning author Doris Kerns Goodwin says that Obama should tap his GOP opponent Mitt Romney as the Business Czar.
Kerns appeared on Meet The Press Sunday and The Examiner reports:
Kerns offered a very narrow list of things she hoped Romney would handle. It included developing incentives to keep manufacturing here rather than abroad, plus, creating sanctions for countries that are not dealing fairly.
The five-point Romney plan to create a friendly environment to enable business to thrive included vital "incentives," such as low taxes, fewer restrictions, and repealing Obamacare plus an expansion of energy opportunities. It was never just about Romney's superior ability to cut a better deal for foreign trade; it was a broad program of pro-business policies. Romney stressed that Obama's policies are so anti-business that manufacturing companies aren't inclined to invest in America again. Merely making a better deal with China won't bring manufacturing back.
Pulling Romney in as a business czar for the Obama administration is a popular idea being volleyed around among liberal circles. Recently, a CNN panel enthusiastically endorsed Romney for Secretary of Business. Perhaps Romney's opinion of adding a new office to government was forgotten.
While on the campaign trail Romney said, “I don’t think adding a new chair in his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street. His solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat ... I don’t think adding a new chair in his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street. We don’t need a Secretary of Business to understand business. We need a president who understands business.”
However, during his victory speech on election night, Obama hinted at talks with the former Massachusetts governor as he said, "I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward."
Romney's wife, Ann, said that neither of them would ever seek political office again. However, the London Telegraph reports,
Grant Bennett, who served alongside Mr Romney as a Mormon bishop in Massachusetts, said that his friend would never run for office again but could well be persuaded back into public service.
"If Mitt were invited by the president, he would say 'I'm an American. Can I contribute?," Mr Bennett told The Daily Telegraph. "Mitt's fundamental motivation is to make a difference for good".
Such a move would be likely to enrage Republican colleagues determined to block Mr Obama from implementing his plans. Alex Castellanos, a prominent Republican strategist, described Mr Obama's gesture to Mr Romney as "incredibly generous, but also incredibly smart politics".
But Mr Bennett said that at 65, the former Massachusetts governor "has enormous energy and is in great health" - and that after a break with his grandchildren, he would certainly not be retiring altogether.
One has to wonder if such a move could become reality and just how would Republicans react to it.