Academia’s One-Way Revolving Door

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Professors and college administrators are still in a state of denial about the overwhelming dominance of liberal Democrats in higher education, despite the presence on many campuses of many once-high-profile partisans.

“Emory freshmen are compelled to attend the Carter Town Hall meeting annually, where they are required to hear former President Carter make disparaging remarks about the President of the United States and the War on Terrorism,” Emory College Republicans Edward Thayer and Jeff Wilson point out.

Nor is this an isolated example. “What happens when you get fired from a losing presidential campaign?” writer Jeffrey Seligno asks in the August 6 Chronicle of Higher Education.

“You might end up at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government,” Seligno answers. “That’s where Joe Trippi, the former national campaign manager for Howard Dean, will land this fall as a fellow at the Institute of Politics.”

In that same article, Seligno updates us on another veteran of a Democratic presidential campaign. Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, the Democratic Party’s unsuccessful presidential nominee in 1988, divides his time between Northeastern University and UCLA.

Here’s another question: How can you work in academia when you served as director of the CIA—the government agency college faculty and administrators love to hate? Answer: When you held that job in a Democratic presidential administration and did your level best to hamstring the agency in its intelligence-gathering operations.

Stansfield Turner, President Jimmy Carter’s director of the CIA, is now on the faculty of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. John Deutch, director of the CIA from 1995 to 1996 and deputy secretary of defense from 1994 to 1995, under President Clinton, is an Institute Professor at MIT.

“In the summer of 1977, after setting in motion a plan to eliminate 820 positions in the espionage branch (and notifying the affected case officers by a computerized form letter), Turner reported to President Carter that ‘the espionage branch was [now] being run ethically and soundly,’’’ Edward Jay Epstein wrote in Commentary magazine back in October of 1985.

Turner’s management policies at the agency led to shortages of skilled personnel, such as linguists specializing in Middle Eastern languages, that affected the CIA’s work for decades to come, intelligence specialists say. The edicts of one of his successors, John Deutch, also proved disastrous to effective intelligence gathering.

“When I chaired the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security in 2001 and 2002, I was particularly struck by the internal CIA guidelines promulgated in 1995 by then-Director of CIA, John Deutch, that severely limited the ability of CIA case officers to meet with, develop, and recruit foreign nationals who may have been involved in dubious activities or have blood on their hands,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, said in March.

President Clinton’s CIA director issued the infamous Deutch guidelines forbidding agency involvement with unsavory characters it allegedly used as informers. “We found, through extensive oversight work and dialog with CIA field officers, that these so-called Deutch guidelines had a significant chilling effect on our ability to operate against terrorist and rogue state ‘hard targets,’” Sen. Chambliss concluded. “After all, how can one penetrate a terrorist organization or Saddam’s brutal regime, for that matter, without dealing with unsavory people?”

Clinton Administration officials are scattered throughout America’s college campuses. Former Vice President Al Gore taught at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. The campaign manager of Gore’s unsuccessful 2000 run for the White House, Donna Brazile, is a senior fellow at the Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

Dr. Jocelyn Elders, President Clinton’s colorful surgeon general, is a distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science in the Maternal and Child Health Department. Elders, as surgeon general, shocked the Clinton Administration when, in a speech before the United Nations, she endorsed masturbation.
That endorsement led to her resignation.

One Clinton Administration alumnus missing from the Ivory Tower is former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, but then he was one of the token Republicans in that cabinet. Cohen, secretary of defense from 1997 to 2001, is chairman and CEO of the Cohen Group.

Not all of the veterans of Democratic politics—national, state and local—retire to academia. President Clinton’s first secretary of state, Warren Christopher, for example, is affiliated with a law firm in California.

Nonetheless, they are more welcome behind the Ivory Curtain. Recall the professor at Duke University who concluded that if there aren’t that many conservatives on the faculty there, it’s because they are not as bright as liberals.

The commencement speaker at Duke last year was President Clinton’s last secretary of state Madeleine Albright. In his memoir, current secretary of state Colin Powell, a retired general, remembers his shock when Albright asked him, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

Albright came to the Clinton Administration from a decade of teaching at Georgetown University and was welcomed back with open arms to a faculty slot at the School of Foreign Service when President Clinton left office. Will Condoleezza Rice receive a similar heroine’s welcome from Stanford University?

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.