As a follow-up (of sorts) to my post two years ago entitled Applying the Ivy League Test to the Republican Stars (Such as They Are), let’s look at this again, this time using the National Journal’s chart.
Although the NJ’s emphasis is on managerial vs. populist candidates, the educational pedigree of each can easily be seen. As I’ve noted before, the US hasn’t elected a non-Ivy Leaguer to the White House since Ronald Reagan, and same trend is echoed in the SCOTUS and other institutions of power in our government.
That being the case, unless the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney or Mitch Daniels (based on this list), and assuming the Democrats nominate Barack Obama or another Ivy Leaguer (the Democrats are more consistent in that regard), the GOP will lose the 2012 Presidential election.
It’s unsurprising that the two Ivy Leaguers are perceived as the best managerial types. But what about a leader? They don’t run for President any more; the process is too bruising and our political system too insane for such people. Leaders require followers, and we’re short on those too.
The only thing that would upset this “iron law” of American politics is a major disaster between now and then, a major terrorist attack or an economic calamity greater than the ones we have already experienced. Both of these are possible, and given his “cool” response to everything else that’s hit him, Barack Obama’s comeback to such an event could well be his undoing.
In such a scenario, someone from the military (repeal of DADT notwithstanding) would be a strong contender, somelike like David Petraeus or Stanley McChrystal. Both of these, I think, have at least some of their educational credentials from Old Ivy, so the iron law may even survive a national crisis.
Personally I think Mitch Daniels’ continuing presence on the list is a step forward, certainly an improvement over Mitt Romney. Whether the Republicans would actually nominate him is another story altogether. But at this stage I think it’s time that salvation came from somewhere else than Washington.