"Run the government like a business" is an oft-heard phrase on the Right, and it has a lot of appeal in the center as well. Anthony Scaramucci's success in finance was one of the reasons people held out hope he would succeed in reining in a chaotic Trump White House press shop.
He didn't. He failed. The brash obscenity that helped him on Wall Street and on cable news didn't work in the White House. Whatever insights allowed him to build a business and pick winners didn't enable him to build a team and earn the support of his colleagues.
Maybe it's a sector-specific thing: Sometimes success in finance can involve antisocial habits and behaviors.
Also, running a business is, in a way, much simpler than helping to run the government. During Mitt Romney's failed political run, Forbes contributor David Davenport put it well:
Leaders in business have a single overriding goal which must be proven to a well-defined audience of investors: making a profit, measured every quarter. By contrast political leaders have multiple goals, few of which are clearly stated or predominate over the others. They have multiple constituencies and a plethora of responsibilities measured primarily by the vagaries of political polls and elections.
Historians argue that successful businessmen, like Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter, have been the worst presidents.
The assumption that business or investing success translates into political or governing aptitude is a stubborn one. Will Scaramucci's failure help dent that idea?
Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's commentary editor, can be contacted at email@example.com. His column appears Tuesday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.