This is the sixth post in my series on the similarities between the Obama and Franklin Roosevelt presidencies. Today’s topic is Columbia University, where both men went to law school. Both of them have hired Columbia alumni in remarkable numbers to fill key positions in their administrations.
It’s common knowledge that the culture on most of our college campuses is left-of-center, but most people don’t know that Columbia is so radically leftist that it makes other universities look like Tea Party rallies.
As I’ve pointed out in a couple of columns, the culture at Columbia has been radically Marxist for about a hundred years. During the Cold War, Columbia was basically a Communist recruitment center. In more recent times, the university has continued to be a home for every kind of America-hating left wing radical, including self-described Marxist Manning Marable, who said in 2008 that Senator Obama would make a good President because “a lot of people working with him are, indeed, socialists with backgrounds in the Communist Party.”
In 2009 the Obama Administration included nine lawyers from Columbia Law School in “key positions,” including Attorney General and, of course, President. In 2010 a university website boasted of several more Columbia alumni, including Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski. Not mentioned on either of these lists is Deputy White House Counsel Donald Verrilli, Jr., another Columbia grad.
In this, as in so many things, President Obama is following the trail blazed by President Roosevelt. most of Roosevelt’s original “Brain Trust” of economic advisers were either Columbia professors or Columbia grads. So was Harry Dexter White, the Soviet spy and Roosevelt Treasury Department official who helped found the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. There were others as well.
Given the university’s radical traditions, it’s probably a bad idea to make any Columbia alumnus President of the United States. But I would argue that it’s an especially bad idea to pick one whose goal seems to be to complete the unfinished fourth term of Franklin Roosevelt.