For such a buttoned-down candidate, Mitt Romney is not very good at keeping secrets.
First, he tells the conservative Weekly Standard that after losing his 1994 Senate race in part because of opposition to his plan for abolishing Education Department, he's concluded it's better not to "give you a list" of what government agencies he believes should be cut.
Then this past Sunday, he lets reporters overhear similar comments to a private gathering of donors, telling them, "I'm probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go." But he did share with the private group that the Department of Housing and Urban Development "might not be around later," and regarding the Education Department, "I'm not going to get rid of it entirely,"
After letting these secrets leak out, Romney was forced to answer for those comments on ABC News, where millions of average voters would actually hear him.
So did Romney explain what his plans are? Not exactly:
I'm not proposing any eliminations at this point. But I want to streamline and combine agencies. We'll do-- a great deal of analysis to see which agencies could be combined.
Because you know what? There's-- there's too much overhead in Washington. There are too many bureaucrats, there are too many government workers.
We've got to cut back on the size of government. And if we do that we'll save a lot of money and make life a heck of a lot easier.
Let's get this straight.
Apparently, the philosophy of Mr. Economy/Mr. Turnaround/Mr. Fix-it is: make up your mind first, then do a "great deal of analysis" later.
Maybe I don't know how the "real economy" works the way Romney does, but based on my understanding of how both the private sector and the public sector function, it's a better idea to do the "great deal of analysis" first and then draw your conclusions.
Otherwise, you might fire thousands of "government workers" for no good reason but a knee-jerk right-wing ideology.
And instead of making "left a heck of a lot easier," you will have made life a heck of a lot harder for both the people that you fired, and the people who could use better housing and better eduction.
But Romney would prefer you voters just accept his knee-jerk view -- without being given any specific proposals, without him bothering to analyze the issue first -- because, in the words of Ann Romney, "it's our turn now."
That's not how anyone should run a business, a government agency or a country.