They’re not sending their best

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It may come as a surprise to many of you (it certainly did to me) that America’s Ivy League universities are over-represented in the Republican Party. Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania have many alumni in the GOP part of Congress and in other parts of the American government. What on earth is that all about?

These lofty institutions are where great minds sometimes go, but not necessarily where they are made. Therein lies the mistake. One can be from Harvard but not necessarily of Harvard.

That holds true of other fine institutions as well. Mike Pompeo graduated first in his class from West Point, an institution noted for its devotion to truthfulness, yet Pompeo is one of the biggest liars to emerge from an administration known for its liars.

The fallacy that the institution makes the student was exposed by David Halberstam’s 1973 bestselling book, “The Best and the Brightest.” He showed that the architects of many of the mistakes made in the Vietnam war were elites from Ivy League schools.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was a member of Princeton’s class of 1992 and the Harvard law class of 1995. He routinely sticks his foot in his mouth and appears to have the intellectual weight of a can of chickpeas. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, Stanford class of 2002 and Yale law class of 2006, pumped his fist in the air (from a very safe distance) in a show of solidarity with the insurrectionists, then goose-stepped at high speed in terror down the halls of Congress when he thought they might be coming for him.

Then there’s New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Harvard class of 2006, now the third-ranking House Republican, who recently referred to the January 6 hearings as a “partisan witch-hunt,” voted to invalidate the 2020 election and is a glassy-eyed repeater of the Big Lie. She is Liz Cheney’s self-righteous replacement in the House Republican Conference — and a willing Trump toady. Stefanik is one of the House’s many QAnon wackos who linked Democratic lawmakers to unnamed “pedo grifters.”

Attending a prestigious university isn’t a moral antiseptic. Some of these people who have an elite education are evil, some are also fools, and some are just downright crazy. An Ivy league school education is certainly an indication that you might be smarter and more stable than the average bear, but it’s not a guarantee.

Then there’s Donald Trump, who went to the University of Pennsylvania. One of his professors said of him that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamned student I ever had.” Trump promised he would populate his administration with “the best people.” It was certainly true that, like Trump, some of those people had elite and often Ivy League educations, but it didn’t stop them from making stupid mistakes.

All I can conclude right now is, I may have attended a humble state university, but at least my house isn’t being raided by the FBI. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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