I realize Nick Kristof is trolling…otherwise why would he use one of the principal architects of the Vietnam War as an example of how academics should get involved in politics?
When I was a kid, the Kennedy administration had its “brain trust” of Harvard faculty members, and university professors were often vital public intellectuals who served off and on in government.
Academia has also become inflexible about credentials, disdaining real-world experience. So McGeorge Bundy became professor of government at Harvard and then dean of the faculty (at age 34!) despite having only a B.A.–something that would be impossible today.
FWIW, I think Bundy was a pretty good dean, but he and fellow former Harvard professor Robert McNamara…you know what happened with Vietnam. Maybe in his next piece, McNamara can talk about the examples Paul Wolfowitz and Larry Summers set.
Bringing up Kennedy’s “wise men” and then asking why there can’t be more academics in American government….well, it’s not too far from asking why there can’t be more Austrian house painters in German government.