Monday, November 24, 2008

The Valedictorian Administration

As Obama assembles his cabinet and his administration team an interesting observation has come to light. The new administration is going to be one which has a large number of very highly educated members. David Brooks, an op-ed columnist from the New York Times writes,

"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)."

For people like me who wanted Obama to lose the election, because of his left leaning, 'Socialistic' policies, this news of the centrist (atleast!) intelligentsia being at the helm of the administration is appealing. But for the sake of it, I can't resist poking fun at the new administration which looks like a reunion or alumni meet of the very best from the top Ivy League colleges in the World. In fact the same columnist also has this to say.

"If a foreign enemy attacks the United States during the Harvard-Yale game any time over the next four years, we’re screwed"

I should give more credit though to these 'Achieveatrons', after all, closer to home here in India we have some very well qualified people leading us - Dr. Manmohan Singh (Cambridge, Oxford. PH.d) and P. Chidambaram (University of Madras, Harvard MBA) - and we are not doing so bad! Right?
But, one more thing that comes to my mind is this - did you notice the number of lawyers who are there in the administration? Including the president-elect and the first lady, the count is 5 out of 9 members listed above. The actual numbers may be more. This reminds of this famous scene in the movie "The Devil's Advocate" with Al Pacino, the Devil Incarnate rants that he chose the profession of a lawyer becuase "The law puts us into everything." He goes on to say that there are more lawyers in law school than practising lawyers in the US and that "We are coming out. Guns blazing!"

Hmmm. I wonder if this is the actual second coming of you know who!

The Messiah or... ahem...

On a serious note, it is heartening to note that president elect is not veering so much to the left as many had feared/hoped he would. But still, there are some shortfalls in his selection of candidates. According to Mark Cuban, there is a lack of entreprenuers advicing Obama on his team. He writes,

"There are a lot of great minds on the list.

“Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Laura Tyson, who served as Clinton’s top economic adviser; former Fed Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson; Time Warner Inc. Chairman Richard Parsons; former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman William Donaldson and Xerox Corp. Chief Executive Officer Anne Mulcahy.

Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Roel Campos, an ex-SEC commissioner, and Warren Buffett are also on the advisory board.”

Notice anything missing ?

Not a single entrepreneur. Yes Warren Buffett started a business, but he will be the first to tell you that he “doesn’t do start ups”. Which means there isn’t a single person advising PE Obama that we know of that knows that its like to start and run a business in this or any economic climate. That’s a huge problem."

This is absolutely true. It is only thruough entreprenuerial vigor that one can see this battered economy regain its past glory and such calculated risk takers need to be fairly represented in the administration.

But then again, will entreprenuers want to get into politics and waste their time? They might be more interested in taking the 'worthwhile risks' in the Market rather than in the political arena!

No comments:

Custom Search