The position of chair of the Council of Economic Advisers is open. How President Barack Obama fills it can tell us whether he's finally gone wobbly on Obamanomics -- maybe in time to arrest some of the damage.
Would President Obama, to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, ponder whether to nominate liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg or conservative Antonin Scalia? Would his finalists come down to Sonia Sotomayor or Samuel Alito? Elena Kagan or John Roberts?
Laughable, of course.
Such a range of choices would mean that the left-wing Obama does not know whether he wants a "constitutionalist" or a proponent of the "living, breathing document" school of jurisprudence -- whether he wants a "strict constructionist" or whether he wants a jurist who decides cases based, as he put it, on "empathy."
We know where he stands. And it is not on the side of Clarence Thomas.
Now, for the chair of the CEA, would Obama's list of possibilities include both the Obama-sympathetic left-wing economist Paul Krugman and supply-side economist Lawrence Kudlow?
Don't laugh. A Washington Post columnist actually suggested that Obama consider these two polar opposites. Honestly, Kudlow? To paraphrase press secretary Robert Gibbs, somebody needs drug testing.
Kudlow, a former member of the Reagan administration and current CNBC host and syndicated columnist, advocates lower taxes, free trade, smaller government and less regulation. Krugman, a Princeton professor and New York Times columnist, wants more "stimulus" spending and called the first package "too small and too cautious." They're as different as George Patton and John Lennon.
Obama wouldn't hire Kudlow to caddie his golf clubs, let alone to lead his team of economic advisers.
Obama is a community organizer, a person who, by definition, wants government to do more, not less. Obama rails against the "greed" of capitalism and believes that "at a certain point, you've made enough money." He urges higher taxes on the rich to "spread the wealth." He admits that higher capital gains taxes actually produce less revenue but supports a hike so that the rich pay a higher percentage -- a matter of "fairness." He doesn't understand that government subsidization of the housing market -- through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and the Community Reinvestment Act -- sparked the unsustainable run-up in home prices. He ignores the consensus among economists and says, "The American dream ... means that we raise the minimum wage not just every 10 years, but all the time."
This is not a man who plans to get in touch with his inner Milton Friedman.