Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obamessiah Suck-Up of the Day

Alec MacGillis in Sunday's Washington Post:
All told, of Obama's top 35 appointments so far, 22 have degrees from an Ivy League school, MIT, Stanford, the University of Chicago or one of the top British universities. For the other slots, the president-elect made do with graduates of Georgetown and the Universities of Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina.

While Obama's picks have been lauded for their ethnic and ideological mix, they lack diversity in one regard: They are almost exclusively products of the nation's elite institutions and generally share a more intellectual outlook than is often the norm in government. Their erudition has already begun to set a new tone in the capital . . .

All agree that the picks reveal something about Obama, suggesting he will make decisions much as he did in the U.S. Senate -- by bringing as many smart people into the room as possible and hearing them out. This contrasts with the style of President Bush, who played down his own Ivy League credentials and played up his mangled elocutions and the gentleman's C's he received at Yale and Harvard. While Bush brought in a few academics, such as former Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice, he relied heavily on his Texas associates and business executives outside the Ivy League echelons he encountered in his schooling.

Bush's first Treasury secretary, Paul H. O'Neill, went to Fresno State, Vice President Cheney dropped out of Yale before graduating from the University of Wyoming, and strategist Karl Rove never finished college. Dozens of administration members hail from Regent University, founded by Pat Robertson. And many of Bush's hires were friends from Texas, such as former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales, former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.
Suck-ups have selective memory, as Powerline's Paul Mirengoff reminds:
MacGillis is cherry-picking (to mix my fruit metaphors). Judge Gonzalez graduated from Harvard Law School. And MacGillis chooses to ignore the following examples: Don Rumsfeld (Princeton); Steven Hadley (Cornell, Yale Law School); Elaine Chao (Harvard MBA); John Ashcroft (Yale, University of Chicago Law School); Spencer Abraham (Harvard Law School); Scooter Libby (Yale, Columbia Law School); David Addington (Georgetown; Duke Law School); Mitch Daniels (Princeton); Josh Bolten (Princeton, Stanford Law School); Henry Paulson (Dartmouth, Harvard MBA); Ben Bernanke (Harvard, MIT Ph.D); Cam Findlay (Northwestern University, Oxford, Harvard Law School); Alex Azar (Dartmouth, Yale Law School); Andy Card (Harvard Kennedy School of Government); Paul Wolfowitz (Cornell, University of Chicago, plus Yale faculty); Douglas Feith (Harvard, Georgetown Law School); Jim Haynes (Harvard Law School).

Obama's reliance on advisors from "all the best schools" is probably worth noting. But the suggestion Bush's selections showed an anti-intellectual or anti-elite slant does not withstand scrutiny.


OBloodyHell said...

As I've commented previously, given the choice between smart advisors and wise advisors, I'll go for wisdom every time.

Just look at the list of screwups the last "all-smart" advisors gave us:

Fannie Mae
The Social Security Ponzi Scheme

Yeaaaaauhhhh. Give me more o' THAT!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think a minority percentage of ivory-tower academics is a good thing, especially as advisors. Doers need to dominate in the doing parts.

Carl said...

Agreed. But, AVI, I note that only one "doer" was a mainstream candidate for President--and Mitt Romney lost, big time. The electorate seems to prefer "dreamers."

Anonymous said...

Smart people make mistakes. So what? Everybody makes mistakes. Anybody notice where those bailout dollars are landing? At least with Obama, it will be nice to have a smart, articulate President for a while, assuming he does his job with some substantial degree of integrity. I'm wondering along with many others how Rezko will benefit from the Obama election and how his illegal immigrant aunt will benefit.

Carl said...

Don't over-rate articulateness. Bush clearly lacked it, but many refused to look at the logic behind his misshapen language.