10/19/2012 03:04 pm ET Updated Dec 19, 2012

CEOs vs. Presidents

Business magnate Mark Cuban recently gave us a "teachable moment" when he expressed his enthusiasm for Mitt Romney

In essence, Cuban believes that Mr. Romney will prove to be an effective president because he's been a very successful businessman; Cuban feels confident that Romney will bring to the White House the same skills as a negotiator and dealmaker that he honed at Bain in Boston.

The problem here isn't merely the magical thinking that Cuban engages in when he believes that Romney will bring bipartisan comity to the Capital. Rather, Cuban has confused the job of being president with the job of being a private equity fund manager. The president does not function as the CEO of the nation, and Cuban--and many others--perpetuates a dangerous misperception when he suggests that he does.

For starters, the nation is not a business, despite the rhetoric we hear from Mr. Romney, nor should it be. Businessmen make money, and Mr. Romney made a lot of it. Presidents must make policy.

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