Image is Everything

I love James Bond movies even when they keep changing the guys playing James Bond.

That's because all the guys who play James Bond seem, in the end, very "James Bond-ish." All very cool. All very sly. All -- sadly -- very thin.

That's why no Hollywood producer is ever going to pick me to play James Bond. I just don't fit the part. And I think that's what hurt Paul O'Neill. The outgoing Treasury secretary simply never fit the part.

It kills me too, because just as I think I could do a really cool job playing James Bond, I think Paul O'Neill could have been a really good Treasury secretary.

The trouble is I don't look like James Bond. And, in the end, Paul O'Neill didn't look or sound like a Treasury secretary.

He was too blunt, too different and too much his own man. He didn't cow-tow to anyone. And he didn't finesse.

He called international lending programs what they are -- bailouts for crooks.

He called a lot of welfare programs what they are -- boondoggles for bureaucrats.

And he called Wall Streeters for what all too many Wall Streeters are -- self-absorbed, self-righteous phonies.

And he paid the price -- they killed him.

They forgot he ran one of the most successful turnarounds in corporate history -- his stewardship of Alcoa.

They forgot he came from nothing and amassed a fortune he freely shared with others.

And they forgot he loved his country. So much so, he'd step down rather than play in squalor they call D.C. politics.

Some jobs require image as much as substance. That's why I'll never be James Bond and why Paul O'Neill now won't be Treasury secretary.

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