Change We Can… Compete For

obamalogo ivy

As Barack Obama prepares to take the highest office in the United States, he has begun to build a team of accomplished and skillful men and women that will help the young president lead America in these most troubled times.

Indeed, America stands at a crossroads in history, and Obama’s star-studded team hopes to answer some of the nation’s most pressing questions. How does America weather the recession? How does the nation withdraw its troops from Iraq? Which Ivy League school is really the best?

Come on. You thought it wouldn’t be a competition?

People have already noted that Obama’s team is noticeably “Ivy-tinged”. This, of course, begs the question that burns constantly in the American public mind:

Which of the “Ancient Eight” comes out on top?
Yes, perhaps this most crucial question may finally be resolved. But probably not. At least it gives Ivy Leaguers one more thing to compete in that isn’t totally ridiculous. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill U.S. News and World Report ranking. This is real, heavy stuff.

To catch you up to speed, The New York Times provides a snapshot profile of each Obama pick here.

Get out your scorecard, this may be tight. Here are some of the big picks.

Eric Holder (Attorney General): Columbia University, Columbia Law School
Holder, Columbia College ’73, Columbia Law ’76, and a Columbia trustee, seems like a pretty clean guy, not at all like that Alberto Gonza – Oops.

Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education): Harvard College, Harvard Board of Overseers
Arne “Dunk” Duncan ’86 played professional basketball in Australia for a few years before committing himself to education administration. He is, apparently, what your high school phys. ed. teacher was not: successful. Props, Harvard.

Shaun Donovan (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development): Harvard College, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Graduate School of Design at Harvard
Donovan offers “extensive experience with housing issues” after years of working for New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Yet, despite earning three degrees from Harvard, he doesn’t seem to get any love from The Crimson. A search for “Shaun Donovan” on the daily’s website yields no results, which may help explain the concerning frown he’s sporting.

Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State): Yale Law
Everyone happy now?

Timothy Geithner (Secretary of Treasury): Dartmouth College
Boasting a master’s in international economics and East Asian studies from Johns Hopkins, Geithner seems like a perfect pick with the growing presence of China in the global economy. But it gets better. The Dartmouth reports one of Geithner’s professors as saying, “’he had this wonderful giggle” and “everyone loved him.” Well, I’m sold.

Lawrence Summers (Director of National Economic Council): Ph.D. Harvard, five-year Harvard president
Lawrence Summers appears to be a logical selection for the economic council, having been around the “economic block,” if you will, once or twice before. However, he says stupid things. His propensity to say stupid things may not bode well during a highly televised recession. Fingers crossed, right?

Lisa Jackson (Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency): Master’s, Princeton
I wish I could be more excited about Jackson GS ‘86’s appointment, but it’s a bit tough. Sure, she’s a Princetonian with experience as New Jersey’s chief of staff and its Department of Environmental Protection. But she’s already been heavily criticized. Even worse, she wasn’t appointed to the newly created position that has possibly the greatest title in the U.S. government: climate czarina.

Peter Orszag (Office of Management and Budget Director): Princeton
Orszag ’91 is bomb. Or at least, “He was more or less a model student, really,” Alan frickin’ Blinder said about him. Not to mention that, for such a young guy, he’s already worked in the CBO and Clinton’s National Economic Council. Sounds like a home run for Princeton.

Gregory Craig (White House counsel): Harvard College, Yale Law
Craig is, apparently, two-faced. For one thing, he’s represented in court both a president, Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial, and a president’s near-assassin, John W. Hinckley Jr. (the guy who shot President Reagan). Even worse, he went to Yale after graduating from Harvard. Yep, two-faced. …But I guess that’ll make him a good lawyer.

Now, using absolutely no scientific method of weighing these separate positions in this nearly-arbitrary ranking (and assuming these positions are all approved by the Senate), it seems that Harvard wins, with these picks boasting four Harvard degrees and two positions in the university’s leadership. That’s not to mention the fact that the man himself got his J.D. up in Cambridge.

(Damn it, Princeton, we could’ve done better. Thanks a lot Woody Woo.)

Also notable: Brown, Cornell, and Penn haven’t shown themselves capable of producing an Obama administration-worthy alum, solidifying their status as safety schools. Sorry guys. Maybe next time.