Wanted: New Secretary of Commerce

Donald Evans is leaving his position as Secretary of Commerce. And I can’t imagine how it will make the slightest difference to anything:

At Commerce, Evans backed Bush’s economic policies enthusiastically. He traveled the nation, talking with small business groups, extolling the benefits of lower taxes and reduced regulation.

Nevertheless, Evans left no discernible mark on the policies or direction of the department, which Republicans once pledged to dismantle.

The top job at Commerce is often reserved for a presidential friend, fund-raiser or political adviser, such as Maurice Stans in the Nixon administration, or Ron Brown and Mickey Kantor under President Clinton.

Brady said Bush will similarly need to find a successor for Evans who will not rock the boat, said Henry Brady, a professor of political science and public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Often mentioned for Evans’ job is Mercer Reynolds, national finance chairman for the Bush campaign, who raised more than $260 million to get him re-elected.

“It’s such a wild card,” Brady said. “(Bush) needs to go look for somebody who supported the campaign, someone who is loyal. It doesn’t take a lot. It’s a way to pay off somebody, to be blunt about it.”