By Matt Shuham
This mindset of professors, not only as educators but also as policymakers, has pervaded our government since the 1960s. And why shouldn’t it? While some argue that so-called “technocrats” are incapable of directing nations through troubled waters, few oppose the idea of having informed and scholarly advisers guiding our leaders.
There is a readily fluid relationship between “governing” and “campaigning.” During the 2008 presidential election, John McCain’s advisors included professors from Stanford, Columbia Business School, Vanderbilt, and Harvard among many other institutions. Barack Obama’s advisors notably included Lawrence Summers and Jeffrey Liebman, two big-name Harvard professors who left the “Kremlin on the Charles” to advise the then-Senator. Now, Alan Krueger, a professor at Princeton, is the administration’s top economic advisor
However, what might once have been considered mere policy and campaign advice has become something new, as professors have turned into political surrogates.