Ask yourself, do we have that in economics? Krugman, Oster, DeLong: are they good enough? Are they Bill Nye-caliber?
People could use a little more economic reasoning, and economics needs a range of people who are able to effectively help the public at large appreciate new findings, simplify the language of economic research so it can more easily be applied in daily life where appropriate, and generally mingle economics with common sense. The field would benefit, and people in general would benefit. The main obstacle to the possibility is that most social research represents divided fields: right- and left-wing thought draws boundaries where certain conclusions are appropriate to be stated. We also have a cult of economic thought within the discipline that has a taste for exclusiveness, a cynicism or disdain for everyday non-economic thought.
Everyone recognizes the importance of economic thought in understanding daily issues in politics, policy, and war, in disease, hunger, and poverty, in banking and daily business such as food and gas prices, business loans, and home mortgages. I can start a running log of news stories that deserve an economics-perspective, and the list is obvious: Russian-Europe energy trade, American union laws, corporate-government connections, virtues of education. Does anyone disagree that economics is useful in understanding today's issues?
Because there is an emphasis on well-being in social research, a communicator needs some cleverness. People don't necessarily want to be told what's good for them. No one likes a lecturer, a pedant, or a scold. A smart choice of words could be the difference between sounding like a nanny or helping people realize that new opportunities uncovered by research are theirs for the taking. Explaining government policies without browbeating, connecting research to the real rather than the ideal, and tying research findings to work and home without telling people to do the tying are the kinds of behaviors we need.
Finally, economics communicators need to be a little gimmicky, a bit of a mascot for the field, as Nye or Tyson are (TV shows, bow-tie, big moustache): a friendly face rather than a heavyweight. If both sides of the political fence want their own mascot to communicate only their side of the rhetorical coin, they will only give us people good for talking about a segment of policy and research, rather than the whole thing.
Skimming the history books
Keynes did his part to advance wide understanding of economics, but what was advanced was often tied to his specific findings. His advocacy and his participation in government relied on his theories on government expenditure and budgets, which at the time were part and parcel of the forefront of the field, but now have become synonymous with half of it (the left half).
Milton Friedman was a good proponent of economics and highly involved with the public, but he could be too philosophical. Emphasis on "arguing from first principles" and the extensive monetary history he published with Anna Schwartz still aren't representative of what we're looking for: someone at least as famous for public outreach on basic ideas and general research (other peoples' research) than for their own deep contribution to the academic literature.
The best example comes from John Kenneth Galbraith, even though he was identifiably on one side of the fence (opposite Friedman) on political issues. He also had a strain of the polemic in what he wrote. But his books threaded together economic research, politics, and social history, and they were more concerned with everyman issues than fundamental principles (Smith etc) or development of the field (Keynes and Friedman). That focus on everyday issues, weaving in the insight from research, is what we want.
Today, the most likely candidates are Emily Oster, Brad DeLong, Tyler Cowen. Their research regimens probably allow little time for economics communication per se, rather than writing books and articles. Oster is at the University of Chicago, for goodness' sake, and their culture and brand demand heavyweight research, not fluffy communicating. We also have Krugman and Stiglitz, among a few others. But they are the most polemic yet, and are clearly batting lefty.
Just that, and the tiny nation of Economics has qualified ambassadors to The World.