in tourism-based economic development and take over failing city schools.
At the vanguard of the movement were Goldsmith in Indianapolis, Rudy Giuliani in New York and Ed Rendell in Philadelphia.
Goldsmith led the reinvention of Indianapolis from a Midwest backwater into the self-professed amateur sports capital of the world.
Giuliani aggressively ramped up public safety and cleaned up vice-ridden city streets in the Big Apple.
Rendell polished up the reverence for historic Philadelphia while turning an intractable budget deficit into successive budget surpluses.
The bottom-line approach to governing challenged cities appears to have worked, turning post-industrial Rust Belts such as Baltimore and Cleveland into metropolitan oases unimaginable in the economically depressed 1970s and ze'80s.
The glittering renovated downtowns turned many voters' heads, and they've subsequently looked for similar business-minded leadership at higher political levels.
Now many states, facing responsibilities previously overseen on the federal level, are run by governors with a business approach.
Gov. Tom Corbett exemplifies that mentality. He has made limited government, the privatization of state-run liquor stores, the introduction of school choice and the enactment of prevailing-wage laws big-ticket items in his agenda.
The turn toward business-minded elected officials also has spread to Congress in historic numbers.
According to Congressional Quarterly, businessmen and businesswomen make up the largest group of professions in the House of Representatives.
This move began in the mid-1990s, when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich steered the GOP candidate-recruiting organization GOPAC to actively train business owners for elected office.
"Newt Gingrich understood that you need to have a farm team," said Robin Kolodny, a political science professor at Temple University.
Resonating with business
Now, with a cadre of big-city mayors, governors and members of Congress having established laudable track records espousing business-style management and the nation paralyzed with economic angst, Romney is hoping to ride the growing voter inclination toward business management into the White House.
"Voters realize that governments have become very large enterprises," said Lowman Henry, the CEO of the Lincoln Institute, a Harrisburg-based conservative think tank.
"And the public has also come to understand that the actions and inactions of government have a dramatic impact on the economy," Henry said. "As a result, it's only natural for people to look to leaders that they feel can push and pull the right levers to help economic growth."
The institute's biannual survey of state CEOs, released in May, found Obama's tenure has not inspired confidence in the economy.
Asked if business conditions in Pennsylvania are better, the same or worse than they were six months ago, 30 percent of business executives said conditions are worse, according to the study.
The bulk, 51 percent, said conditions remain the same.
"That's a killer when it comes to job creation, and right now uncertainty abounds everywhere," Henry said. "When a business doesn't know what to expect,
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