Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Think you’re safe in business school?

Some critics of American higher education have assumed that much of the harshest ideologues were to be found in the traditional liberal arts or in their agenda-driven progeny. Whatever may be true of sociology and cultural studies, business departments, relentlessly focused on the bottom line, and hence disciplined by the market, would be safely non-ideological.

But wait! Dean Barnett has found a Harvard B-school professor (much published and with a named chair, no less) whose political opinions and judgments wouldn’t be out of place on the Daily Kos. He’s written a novel (downloadable from this website), which is informed by the analysis (I’ll be generous and call it that) offered in this paper. Some samples:

When Albert
Gore conceded the presidential election to Bush’s son, George W. Bush, in December 2000, anger seethed in the streets of Washington, DC and cities throughout the nation. Disgust with the US Supreme Court for stopping the vote recount in Florida then ruling by fiat that Bush had won the election generated clenched fists and cries of fraud. Four years later, on election
night in November 2004, there was no solace for the once-again aggrieved. Allegations of faulty voting machines in Ohio gave many the impression that the United States could no longer hold a presidential election the outcome of which could gain the unqualified acceptance of winner and loser.

***

In both 2000 and 2004, our country teetered on the edge of instability, possibly even violence. A month after the Supreme Court affirmed Bush the winner of the 2000 election, Bush rode in a limousine through Washington, DC to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for his inauguration, and, it was not a
victory parade. “At times it seemed as if there were more protestors than well-wishers along the route,” Time reported. “An egg hit Bush’s limo as it reached Pennsylvania Avenue” (Nancy Gibbs, 1/29/2001 Time, p. 28, photo, p. 32). Four years later, fiery protests came in response to the news that Bush prevailed in the 2004 election. Feelings that the result of the 2004 election was tainted evoked the kind of military imagery that Sidey could
not find in Washington, DC in 1992. Sidey, mentions scuffles between police and protesters, and former President Bush’s thank you to injured NYPD Detective William Sample. ( 9/13/2004 Time).

As we look at the current political scene, a long period of uncertainty over the actual winner of a presidential election is not out of the question; nor dramatic civil conflict. The processes by which Bush became president
in 2000, and retained office after the election of 2004, have convinced many
that he is in power as the result of dishonesty. One recalls Stalin’s comment
on elections – “It doesn’t matter who votes,” he observed. “It matters who
counts the votes.”

Note that he accepts uncritically--and never questions--the claims of those who argue that the victories in 2004 and 2004 were illegitimate. He never mentions, for example, the media-sponsored recount which showed GWB extending his margin of victory, and simply accepts at face value the allegations of voting fraud in 2004, all of which emanate from the fever swamp. He’s surely right that there are some who refuse to accept the results of the 2000 and 2004 elections (and he may be one of them), but the vast majority have, as they say, moved on.

One who hasn’t, at least by Mills’s accounting, is Bill Clinton, which makes speculation about a contested election in 2008 at least entertaining. Of course, his speculation about 2008 assumes that the Republicans will be the bad guys, either rigging the elections or refusing to accept a Democratic victory. So the scenario, and the novel based on it, paint Republicans and conservatives as the villains of the piece, whereas the truth is that in 2000 and 2004 those who (rather implausibly) threatened political instability were on the Left.

Remind me not to recommend Harvard Business School to those of my bright students inclined in that direction.

Update: Mike DeBow beat me to the punch, linking to an article in the Harvard Crimson more than a week ago. I’m sorry I missed that the first time.

Discussions - 3 Comments

I confess, this subject kind of worries me. These people are in an intentional denial of the facts. For all their bluster that "Bush lied" etc., these are the same folks who saw nothing that alarmed them in the FBI filegate or the attack on Iraq in 1998.

I fear all there bluster now will quickly translate into very real and destructive excesses once they assume the mantle of power in Washington (and we all know that day is coming). They will quickly dismiss any over-reaching with a tart "So what, Bush did it!"

Nothing can stop that day from coming, of course. But we ought to be ready for it.

Does anyone have light to shed on the doings at Patrick Henry College, as reported in the LATimes today?

"Remind me not to recommend Harvard Business School to those of my bright students inclined in that direction."

Yes, let the weak-minded conservative students get their MBAs there, and go on to be President of the United States, like George W. Bush did.

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