Sometimes “perfectly good” is the best outcome that can come from negotiations, instead of either side getting its ideal solution, Andrew Card recently told students at Mays Business School.

“I believe very, very strongly that perfection is never the result of a democracy, except by accident,” says Card, acting dean of The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. “I want it to be perfectly good — for both sides. That’s what I think we need more of.”

Andrew Card

Card speaks from experience drawn from a lengthy career as a Republican politician and business leader. He was White House Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush, U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President George H.W. Bush and a former U.S. Cabinet member.

He also served in the Massachusetts Legislature for eight years and sought the governor’s seat in 1982.

A report Card co-chaired with former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, “U.S. Trade and Investment Policy: Independent Task Force Report,” was the central topic of Card’s discussion with students of management professors Lorraine Eden and Michael Pustay.

Card calls the report released in September “a roadmap for rational thinking in trade. It’s pro-American, and says the federal government should step up and be the enforcer once in awhile and defend fair trade.”

International trade policy has been on hold “for quite awhile, for 10 years,” due to political divisions. He said the task force urged the creation and sustenance of a trade policy that yields greater benefits for Americans in job and wage growth. “I think America should have a very, very strong trade policy because I want America to be loved and respected and feared,” he said. “And the U.S. Patent Office and International Patent Convention should enforce it, not individuals.”

At the Bush School, Card works with students pursuing master’s degrees in public administration and international affairs. He says politics and economics are intertwined. “We focus on economics and how to keep our engine churning so we can continue to grow as a nation. In the world of economics, you need political scientists to help with that.”