Writing on Tapped a few days ago, Ezra Klein gave credit to Mitt Romney for signing up Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard, two top-ranked economists, as his economic advisers:
I don't know how this process works, but Mitt Romney has named his two primary economic advisors for the 2008 campaign, and, to his credit, they're proponents of, quite arguably, the most politically radioactive ideas in economics. Greg Mankiw's current obsession is a significant gasoline tax, a policy he's so committed to he's created a Facebook group to promote it. Meanwhile, Glenn Hubbard provided crucial backup support when Mankiw admitted that outsourcing was good for the economy -- a position that doesn't play so well in The Rust Belt.
In a weird way, both these moves speak well of Romney... Both these guys are serious about policy -- more so, in fact, than they are about politics. And Romney's willingness to embrace them, impolitic statements and all, is evidence that there's a current of such seriousness in him, too.
The problem, however, is that both of them already served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bush, and have shown that they are unable or unwilling to stand up for honest economics in policymaking. President Bush has repeatedly contradicted his own economists (see here, here, here, and here) and constantly dissembled about economic issues (see chapters 4 and 7 of All the President's Spin). During and after their terms as CEA chair, Hubbard and Mankiw failed to stand up to these practices. So it's hard to see how their presence lends credibility to Romney now -- why should we believe they will be more than window-dressing?