George Bush Still Resents Ivy League


George W. Bush (A.B. Yale, M.B.A. Harvard), the president who just keeps hanging around the news cycle, apparently hates the Ivy League. In his new memoir, Decision Points, he writes that Harriet Miers (B.A. and J.D. Southern Methodist University) couldn’t get confirmed because of her lack of Ivy League credentials:

It seemed to me that there was another argument against Harriet, one that went largely unspoken: How could I name someone who did not run in elite legal circles? Harriet had not gone to an Ivy League law school. Her personal style compounded the doubts. She is not glib. She is not fancy. She thinks hard before she speaks – a trait so rare in Washington that it is mistaken for intellectual slowness.

Well it may also have been her lack of policy and litigation experience and the fact that she had no background in constitutional law that made even Republicans object to her candidacy.

While there may be something legitimately wrong with a condescending attitude toward someone who didn’t attend a fancy school as an undergraduate, we’re talking about the U.S. Supreme Court here. It’s not inappropriate to expect the people on that body to have attended very prestigious law schools.

And it’s not like it was only the aristocratic senators who objected to Miers. Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (B.S. Oklahoma State, M.D. University of Oklahoma) said that the woman seemed unprepared when he met her. She “flunked” and “[was] going to have to say something next time.” He didn’t object to her background; he objected to her incompetence.

As Constance Boozer writes at Ivy Gate:

The Ivy League is not an elitist liberal conspiracy bent on destroying America and “non-fancy” outsiders. These “elitist” institutions reach out to students of all backgrounds to help further intellectual thought in this country.

Miers withdrew her nomination and eventually went back to Dallas, where she’s now a partner at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell. Bush picked Samuel Alito (B.A. Princeton, J.D. Yale) for the Supreme Court instead. So I guess the Ivy League worked out pretty well, didn’t it? [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer