As the pool of presidential candidates starts to take shape, some people are looking for leadership, ideas, or experience. Others — notably a certain coterie in Cambridge and New Haven — are looking for alma maters.
You see, of late Yale has been kicking Harvard’s sorry butt at producing presidential contenders. In 2004, both nominees, George W. Bush and John Kerry, were Yale alumnae. In 2000, Harvard-educated Al Gore made the finals, only to lose to Yalie Bush. Bill Clinton, Yale Law ’73, landed the office in 1992, and Bush Sr., Yale ’50, preceded him.
Yale could easily keep the streak alive in 2008. For the Republicans, there’s George Pataki, governor of New York and a rumored candidate, who went to Yale as an undergrad. The Democrats have New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who graduated Yale Law with her husband. And, of course, there’s always Kerry again.
But Harvard is bringing in some heavy competition. If Harvard Med School grad Bill Frist doesn’t run, the GOP field still has our own governor Mitt Romney, who took degrees simultaneously from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law in 1975. Harvard Law also produced Russ Feingold (’79) and Mark Warner (’80), who are both unofficially pursuing the Democratic nomination. And who knows? Al Gore may yet enter the race.
Other area schools will also have alumnae in the presidential hunt. Hillary Clinton went to Wellesley. Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who is openly testing the waters, went to Providence College. Kerry got his law degree from Boston College. And Bill Richardson went to Tufts University and Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
But this may be the big year for Harvard. And even if things don’t work, Crimson loyalists, keep this in mind: Barack Obama, Harvard Law ’91.