THE SELECTION of Barbara Franklin to be secretary of commerce may be one of the wiser moves President Bush has made in recent months -- not because Franklin is a woman, but because she's so well qualified for the job.
Stories describing her as a Republican fund-raiser and campaign contributor may be accurate, but they give the misleading impression that Franklin is just another political appointee.
The record shows she's smart, energetic, highly competent, serves on the boards of seven major corporations, was an original member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and has been a champion of career-minded women since graduation from Harvard Business School in the 1960s.
A measure of her ability and tenacity is that Franklin often serves on corporate audit committees. Such committees are forced to take a hard look at how chief executives spend money, thereby disrupting the old-boy collegiality that normally prevails.
She'll have a strong voice in trade policy and could be influential in White House proposals to get the economy moving again.