- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 27, 2008




In the wake of Sen. John McCain’s announcement Wednesday that he would suspend his presidential campaign and return to Washington to focus on the nation’s economic crisis, I hope the two presidential candidates will tell voters soon whom each intends to nominate to be the next Treasury secretary.

Because the economy is the No. 1 issue on most people’s minds, I am more interested in knowing the answer to that question than I am in hearing Sen. Barack Obama restate his plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. Ditto for Mr. McCain and his statement that he would fire the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I am a realist, so let me be the first to say I doubt that Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama will trip over themselves to disclose the name of the next Treasury secretary. Still, there is a lot of time between now and November, so shouldn’t we at least put the issue on the table?

Former Rep. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996, thought eight years ago that presidential hopefuls should “name names.” That’s when he and retired Sen. George Mitchell both endorsed the idea on “Larry King Live.” Mr. Mitchell even went so far as to say he expected the first such announcements to come during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Close examination of the key players in both the Obama and McCain camps reveals differences in style and assumptions that guarantee conflicting views about the economy.

I think it’s safe to say Republican insiders, in general, are more likely than their Democratic counterparts to argue that “less government intervention” is the solution to any financial crisis. Mr. Obama knows he’s on a tightrope: He is trying to convince voters that his recovery plan not only will minimize the pain people are feeling today, but actually improve America’s economic outlook going forward.

Naming names undoubtedly will cause a ripple or two on Wall Street and on Main Street. That’s OK with me because we have been riding a financial tsunami recently. Anyone who will (or anything that can) calm the economic waters should be a major boost to one of the presidential candidates.


Laguna Beach, Calif.

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