The National Review Has an Ivy League Problem

As the brain-child of a disenchanted Yalie named William F. Buckley, Jr., the National Review has never had an easy relationship with the eight schools from which it draws much of its writing talent, like Nathan Harden (who recently published “Sex and God and Yale”), Eve Tushnet (the gregarious Catholic writer), Maggie Gallagher (the gay marriage conspiracy theorist), and of course Buckley himself. Add to that managing editor Fred Schwarz (a Columbia grad), who articulates “the true, the fundamental conflict in Obama’s soul”:

Is he a Columbia asshole or a Harvard asshole? The answer is important, because those are two very different types of asshole. Both are obsessed with showing you how smart they are, but the Columbia asshole does it by telling you everything he knows, while the Harvard asshole does it by acting bored with whatever you say. The Harvard variety is at least laid back, and the Columbia variety can be interesting; but put them together and you have a world-weary pest. That may not be an exact description of Obama, but he’s certainly getting there.

The salty language surprised us—even us!—because, in his discussion of a recent Pundits prank at Yale (involving a character called “Wilma Dickfit”), IvyGate hero Nathan Harden confers NR the distinction of being “family-friendly” (really):

You won’t believe what they’re up to in New Haven. The latest example of a Yale’s depravity is so graphic that I can’t even mention much of it on these family-friendly pages. It involves an innuendo-filled flyer that appeared all over campus this week, advertising a fake event by a female author of a sex-themed book supposedly entitled “Let’s Find Out The Hard Way.” Crude, and woman-demeaning, this is comic material worthy of a 13-year-old’s intelligence and sophistication.

(Contra Harden, we think the National Review’s audience will believe.) Back to Schwarz:

Now let’s look at the Ivy Leaguers. JFK (Harvard, after a semester at Princeton) is best remembered — except for his untimely death — for almost starting a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis; Gerald Ford (Yale Law) was overwhelmed by events during his brief term in office; Bush 41 (Yale) let Reagan’s defeat of Communism play out, won an easy war, and then raised taxes and couldn’t even get reelected; Clinton (Yale Law), while coasting on the peace dividend, flopped with Hillarycare and lost the Democrats’ 40-year hold on the House; Bush 43 (Yale, Harvard MBA) made grandiose plans but had considerable trouble following through; and Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law) narrowly passed a health-care law that everyone hates, plus he’s given some nice speeches.

Here’s the key passage: “Bush 43 (Yale, Harvard MBA) made grandiose plans but had considerable trouble following through.”

The fact that a Columbia graduate, a managing editor at the world’s most prolific conservative magazine, published such a sentence—a sentence so nakedly void of meaning—really says all there is to say about the Ivy League-anointed employees at the National Review.

  • ZJA

    I don’t know, however snarky the atlantic’s article is, he kinda has a point. He does stretch his reasoning a bit with Carter but it is interesting that ivy league has produced so many statesman who do not back up their ideology with huge practicality. We do need doers in office, and maybe the Ivies are producing people who do like to jump through hoops and see their presidential tenure as complete once they have arrived there, or when they hit a roadblock which they find hard to overcome

  • http://www.cstech.net.au/ ecommerce consultant

    One of the biggest hurdles from theory to practice is that all of the ‘connections’ these men make via college and on is that these ‘connections’ will always reappear as ‘friends’ in need of agenda pushing and there is no educational equipment for that.