If Yaron Brook, the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, had his way, the next U.S. president would be former BB&T Corp. Chief Executive John Allison.
The Irvine, Calif.-based institute actively promotes Rand's philosophy of individual rights and limited government, and in an interview with the Street.com posted online Tuesday, Brook said that Allison is a strong proponent of those ideals. Allison, he added, is also "a man of integrity and principle" — words not often associated with politicians whose beliefs tend to shift based on poll numbers.
Allison is a self-described Rand enthusiast who, since retiring from BB&T in 2009, has become more and more and vocal in his belief that government has become too big and too intrusive.
He was particularly outspoken about his dislike for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which directly contradicts Rand's belief that corporations, like individuals, should be left to fend for themselves, with minimum government interference. Under Allison, BB&T was one of the first banking companies to repay Tarp.
Of course, Allison has never expressed an interest in running for office and Brook acknowledged that it would be hard for him to win anyway.
One reason is because he's a former a bank CEO, and the public does not hold bankers in high regard these day. "But more importantly," Brook said. "his ideas are not winning ideas. They are not ideas that our culture is ready to vote for."