Obama Should Beware 'Best and Brightest'

A la JFK's Cabinet, too often masks poor judgment, inexperience
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2008 1:18 PM CST
Barack Obama was smart to pass on former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and instead chose Paul Volcker as chairman of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Frank Rich writes.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, file)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama has won praise for appointing “the best and the brightest” to his Cabinet during a time of war and economic hardship. But all the back-patting sounds a little too familiar, Frank Rich writes in the New York Times. “The stewards of the Vietnam fiasco had pedigrees uncannily reminiscent of some major Obama appointees,” he observes.

Financial appointees like Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner are renowned for their intelligence, but with the misguided policies they helped create in the public and private sectors, they're the very people who got us into this financial mess. Rich also notes that the phrase "the best and the brightest" originally was intended sardonically as the title of David Halberstam’s book on JFK’s “hubristic team.”