Obama – Harvard Man

Taegan Goddard passes on a Bloomberg report that President Obama has thus far brought eleven Harvard professors to join his administration, “the most since the Kennedy White House.”  This isn’t surprising, really.  Obama’s a technocrat and enlisting top level college professors, who must be “the best and the brightest,” is natural.

The problem, as Dave Schuler noted on last night’s episode of OTB Radio and regularly here and at The Glittering Eye, is that these people tend not to have much practical experience at, say, running a business.  I don’t mean that to be insulting — I’m a PhD who works at a think tank, after all.  But a mix of academics and those with more “real world” experiece is probably best.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Uh-huh. ‘Cause the business-oriented and -experienced people “Yale Man” GWB brought in to run things did such a bang-up job? I think at this point just about any policy that could be defined as “the opposite of what’s been done in the past 8 years” is a good starting point…

  2. Bithead says:


    You’re ignoring who has been running congress for the last few years, and was as close to running the place as no matter for the last eight.

    Congress, as they’re currently demonstrating on steriods, has the power of the purse. Since this is a financial issue we’re dealing with, your focus seems incorrect.

    I suspect, sadly, that point will become evident to even you, given the next couple years.

  3. legion says:

    a) Congress wasn’t running the SEC when it failed to stand in the way of the financial system’s complete descent into make-believe, or the FDA when it failed to notice Chinese imports that practically set off metal-detectors with their lead contents, etc., etc. and

    b) If Congress really _is_ responsible for all our problems, why does it matter at all _who_ Obama puts into his cabinet?

  4. Steve Plunk says:

    Wasn’t congress standing in the way of Fannie and Freddie reforms? Didn’t the meltdown start with a easy money housing boom and bust followed by a mortgage securities bust? Again the smell of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank permeate the mess.

  5. Drew says:

    “But a mix of academics and those with more “real world” experiece is probably best.”
    As one of the latter…..amen.

    eg arguing with Bernard can be interesting…..and exasperating.