HUNTSMAN: But let's be real about what it takes to get into federal government service these days. Who on Earth from the private sector is ever going to want to give up their privacy and enter government service with the background checks, the financial disclosures, and everything else that serve as tremendous disincentives for good people to get into government?Great topic! But a little vague on how we get there.
So what we have today, Charlie, we've got a professional governing class of people on one end and then you've got private- sector people on the other.
ROSE: And so what would you do about that to change that, to attract those kind of people so that they would be willing to serve a cross-section of people from every gender...
HUNTSMAN: Let's get back to what we did a generation or two ago, when we were more open in terms of accommodating people from all backgrounds who wanted to take a little bit of their life and serve in government, and then leave, and go back to what it is they did best, whether on the farm, or whether insurance, or whether business, or whether academia.
Fortunately, I have a ready-made program for any candidate who wants to take this problem seriously. There are two parts: massively reduced vetting on the presidential end, and then requiring only a simple majority for confirmation in the Senate.
As I've proposed, the way to get there (at least on the White House side) is to set up a commission designed to recommend some sort of minimal vetting, along with some sort of at least slightly saner conflict-of-interest rules. Note that while some are barred by actual rules (such as Obama's rules against lobbyists), the real problem, as Huntsman -- who has been through a confirmation, so he knows what he's talking about -- says is what happens to the people who fit in those rules. First there's the incredible intrusive vetting system; next, there's the increasingly long wait between when people are first offered the job and when they can start work; and, third, there's a very real possibility that the Senate won't confirm, even in cases where the nomination isn't at all controversial.
Would the Senate consider switching (back) to a simply majority system for nominations? I think it's possible; Senate reform is coming, and it's actually in the Senate's interest to be able to process nominations far more efficiently than they do now. If they retained the ability of single Senators and small groups to still place holds, as I think they should, it might be enough to get them to go along. If not, I'd like to see the president implement as much of his as he can anyway.
I have no idea what Jon Huntsman thinks he's doing as a presidential candidate, but he's obviously not going to win and, as far as I can tell, he's not in the running for a Fox News show, either. Maybe he'll consider taking this up as an issue over the remaining few weeks of his campaign. Hey, it could even be a very mild net plus; after all, it should appeal to both his natural constituency in this campaign (Washingtonians) and, if he pitches it as he did in the debate, to Tea Partiers who can be convinced that Evil Washington Rules are preventing farmers from serving as cabinet secretaries. Go for it, Ambassador!