One more thing about that David Brooks column that Mike Schaffer nicely deconstructs below. I don't know if Brooks's point that the Obama administration will boast unusually strong academic credentials even holds up.
Here's Brooks's lede:
Jan. 20, 2009, will be a historic day. Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law) will take the oath of office as his wife, Michelle (Princeton, Harvard Law), looks on proudly. Nearby, his foreign policy advisers will stand beaming, including perhaps Hillary Clinton (Wellesley, Yale Law), Jim Steinberg (Harvard, Yale Law) and Susan Rice (Stanford, Oxford D. Phil.).
The domestic policy team will be there, too, including Jason Furman (Harvard, Harvard Ph.D.), Austan Goolsbee (Yale, M.I.T. Ph.D.), Blair Levin (Yale, Yale Law), Peter Orszag (Princeton, London School of Economics Ph.D.) and, of course, the White House Counsel Greg Craig (Harvard, Yale Law).
But you could write a very similar lede for the famously anti-intellectual Bush administration:
Jan. 20, 2001, will be a historic day. George W. Bush (Yale, Harvard Business) will take the oath of office as his father (Yale), looks on proudly. Nearby, his foreign policy advisers will stand beaming, including Donald Rumsfeld (Princeton), John Bolton (Yale, Yale Law), and Paul Wolfowitz (Cornell, University of Chicago Ph.D.).
The domestic policy team will be there, too, including John Ashcroft (Yale, University of Chicago Law), Larry Lindsey (Bowdoin, Harvard Ph.D.), Mitch Daniels (Princeton, Georgetown Law), Glenn Hubbard (Central Florida, Harvard Ph.D.) and, of course, the White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales (Rice, Harvard Law).
Okay, the Obama people might have more slightly impressive undergrad credentials than the Bush folks; and, in the Bush lede, I did have to leave out heavy-hitters like Cheney, Powell, and Rice--because they don't have any Ivy at all on their CV's, save for Cheney, who flunked out of Yale before graduating from the University of Wyoming. What's more, you could argue that, given the age of the Obama folks, their academic credentials mean more (Michelle Obama's Princeton was much more meritocratic than Donald Rumsfeld's). But, all that said, I think that when you get into the upper echelons of government, you inevitably find a lot of people with pretty powerful resumes, so I'm not really sure what Brooks is proving here.