It was fairly easy to assume that outgoing dim-wit George W. Bush didn’t deserve his degree from Yale. But now that the Barack Obama is filling his administration with plenty of folks who did their book-learning behind ivy-covered walls, it’s not at all surprising that the media suddenly feel weirdly obligated to hand-wring about whether our President-elect’s cabinet will be too high-brow, too elitist, too big for its britches. Because there’s no happy medium in politics, clearly, either you’re too clever or just a moron who wormed his way in based on alumni connections.
So after recordings surfaced of Nixon talking shit about Ivy League Presidents, The New Yorker‘s Lauren Collins caught up with a few Ivy League university presidents, who defended the value of a degree from one of their fine institutions which nobody can afford to attend any longer.
Overall, the presidents asserted that real-world experience can be as important as credentials. "I would say that brains are back in style, with the premium on pragmatism and governing from the middle," noted Amy Gutmann, the president of Penn.
Brains are just now in vogue again? Huh, I didn’t realize such a thing was dependent on finally having a guy in the White House who is most certainly of an academic bent.
Perhaps the people controlling the fancy schools of which we speak should focus less on whether being tweedy is cool and instead figure out how to navigate the recession in a way that would set an example for the debt-riddled graduates they’re about to send out into the workforce come May.