On Gorka’s Expertise

In case you were not aware, via CNN:  Sebastian Gorka’s PhD adviser: “I would not call him an expert in terrorism”

“I would not call him an expert on terrorism,” said Stephen Sloan, a retired professor of political science who spent much of his career at the University of Oklahoma. Though he said Gorka is “knowledgeable” about terrorism matters, “his level of expertise does not match the level where he stands in the White House.”
Sloan said Gorka “does a very good job being the bulldog, if you will, for the administration … but as an adviser, I have some discomfort.”
Given that Sloan was one of Gorka’s advisers and has worked with Gorka, that is a pretty damning assessment.
From some experts who have no reason to damn with faint praise:
Mia Bloom, a professor of communications and Middle East studies at Georgia State University, said she met Gorka at a conference where they had been asked to talk about the characteristics of ISIS. She said he was so ill-prepared that she and other participants wondered if they were witnessing some kind of practical joke.
“He was making incredibly basic errors about the Arab revolt,” Bloom said. “We were all looking at each other like, what is he doing here?”
And:
Daniel Nexon, an associate professor at Georgetown University who has criticized Trump, recently reviewed Gorka’s 2007 PhD dissertation, which focused on post-Cold War terrorism, and described it as “inept.”
“It’s not remotely something that I would consider scholarship. It does not deploy evidence that would satisfy the most basic methodological requirements for a PhD in the US,” said Nexon, who added the paper referenced out-of-date information and reached unsubstantiated conclusions, among other issues.
If you have managed to be blissfully ignorant of Gorka, I would recommend Nexon’s posts on his dissertation and Daniel Drezner’s numerous posts on the subject of Gorka’s expertise.
FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Yes, but Trump likes him because, according to Trump, Gorka gives good tv interview.

    And we know what Trump considers to be expertise. Remember when he claimed that he knew more about ISIS than “the generals” because he watches “the shows”?

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Steven, there is at least circumstantial evidence that Gorka is or was a member of an actual fascist group from his native country, and that the uniform and medals he wore to the inauguration are from that group. Do you have any opinion on this?

  3. @MarkedMan: This is noted in the piece. I have no specific expertise on the group in question, but I do think, based on public statements, that Gorka is a white nationalist (or, at a minimum, in sympathetic). As such, I find the charges about the organization in question to have some merit.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    Here’s a few links:

    From NBC: Sebastian Gorka Made Nazi-Linked Vitezi Rend ‘Proud’ by Wearing Its Medal

    From TPM:

    Did Gorka Really Wear A Medal Linked To Nazi Ally To Trump Inaugural Ball?

    From The Times of Israel:

    Top Trump aide wears medal of Hungarian Nazi collaborators

    At the time I felt this was the perfect example of how decent Republicans stayed with the party while it took its half century ride into the racist toilet. Basically, if there is anyway, no matter how ridiculous, a Republican’s racist behavior or remarks can be explained away, then it is taken as merely poor judgement at worst.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Whoops. Accidentally left off two of the links;

    From NBC: Sebastian Gorka Made Nazi-Linked Vitezi Rend ‘Proud’ by Wearing Its Medal

    From TPM:
    Did Gorka Really Wear A Medal Linked To Nazi Ally To Trump Inaugural Ball?

    From The Times of Israel:
    Top Trump aide wears medal of Hungarian Nazi collaborators

    At the time I felt this was the perfect example of how decent Republicans stayed with the party while it took its half century ride into the racist toilet. Basically, if there is anyway, no matter how ridiculous, a Republican’s racist behavior or remarks can be explained away, then it is taken as merely poor judgement at worst.

    Read more: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/on-gorkas-expertise/#ixzz4qDueoK00

  6. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m at a point in my life and experience where I will no longer make a distinction between an “actual” and a “sympathizer.” I realize that it is polite to give people the benefit of the doubt, but my sociopathic side has emerged with the racist historiocultural cracker monuments, so I no longer care what is polite in this context.

    In for a dime, in for a dollar.

  7. @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: I don’t disagree.

  8. reid says:

    I’ve only seen a few interviews with Gorka, and he comes across as incredibly arrogant and obnoxious. I guess I’m not surprised that he’s rather ignorant, too. Typical combination among rightright wing, simplistic know it all’s.

  9. An Interested Party says:

    Gorka’s bungling incompetence mirrors the president he serves…

  10. Guarneri says:

    So Nexon is calling Sloan an idiot or incompetent.

    It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s hard to take any politically driven commentary seriously these days. Too agenda driven.

  11. @Guarneri: If you really want to appropriately assess Nexon’s assessment of Gorka’s dissertation, I wold recommend his series of posts on the subject.

    Short version: he ain’t wrong about the scholarship, nor is he wrong about Gorka’s academic career.

    To dismiss experts because you don’t like what they say (not because you have evidence or expertise to contradict them) is the very definition of “agenda driven.”

  12. @Robin Rosenblatt: I am confused as to how a project about exporting longhorn cattle (Hook ‘Em, BTW) is evidence of expertise in anti-terrorism.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    Oh, I like this Robin. Can we keep him/her?

  14. An Interested Party says:

    I am confused as to how a project about exporting longhorn cattle (Hook ‘Em, BTW) is evidence of expertise in anti-terrorism.

    This person obviously has quite a bit of experience with bull$hit…it isn’t surprising why he is undertaking his current endeavor…