Thursday, January 6, 2011

Only Jews?

This passage written by Brad DeLong and highlighted by Felix Salmon did strike FLG:
I would say that you want to draw your White House staff from successful managers--people who have had lots of experience bossing other people and who have done very well at it--and that there are only three groups of successful managers who are Democrats: Hollywood studio executives and their ilk, people who have made careers in government and academia, and executives who have worked for traditionally-Jewish investment banks. If you want managers in a Democratic administration, that's where they have to come from. And I don't think you want to throw out a third of your potential talent pool at the very start.

The portion in which DeLong mentioned traditionally-Jewish investment banks made FLG think. Studio executives? Jews. Democrats with careers in government and academia? Mostly Jews.

Forget the three pools to draw from. Is the only pool of successful managers the Democrats have to draw from consist entirely of Jews?

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but for a party that prides itself on diversity, something seems, well, not kosher with the arrangement.

It's not that FLG was unaware of the strong affinity between Jews and the Democratic Party, but he never really thought that was the entire available talent pool for Democratic administrations.


Withywindle said...

Just most of it.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Actually I think there probably needs to be some quantatitive analysis here. Jews are a rather small minority in the US so despite their prominence I have trouble believing they have a numerical majority in the first two pools. There is no question that Jews are disproportionately represented in American academia. But, are they really a majority? Likewise in US government I am pretty sure that Jews make less than 51% of federal civil servants.

I do not have any hard figures here so bear with me. But, overrpresentation is not the same as majority. If Jews are 2% of the US population and academia is 25% Jewish than it might seem like a majority. But, in reality it would be 75%, an overwhelming majority, non-Jewish.

So I think at first sight this is over exaggerated. I think there are probably a lot of Democratic academics and civil servants of non-Jewish background that could be called upon. Maybe FLG could see if he could get some figures on ethnic break downs for these pools?

FLG said...


That's definitely fair.

I was more thinking along the lines of liberal economic professors and policymakers, almost all of whom are Jewish. But then again, a great many conservatives ones are as well.

I will say though, on the civil servants point, I don't think its a matter of looking at all of them, but the ambitious, higher up ones. Don't know how of those are Jewish. But looking at every civil servant isn't really a useful metric.

I'll see what data I can scrounge up.

Alpheus said...

This reminds a little of that Family Guy song that was so controversial....

The Ancient said...

Just the other day, I was talking with le Comtesse de Crepitude on that great complex of questions which she reliably reduces to "those dreadful money people."

I said that I wouldn't entirely object if, one day out of the year, the NYPD was pulled back from lower Manhattan and the Great American Public was given free range to go down to Wall Street and hang as many investment bankers as they could catch.

I didn't really think this would produce any reliable reforms, but I thought it might have some salutary effect.

As Withywindle might say, people can behave any any number of appalling ways without endangering the fundamental contstructs of our society. Why not -- one day a year -- replace Hermes with Hemp?

The Ancient said...

P.S. My previous post goes to investment bankers as a class, and NOT to ethnicity.

By all means, let the People start their lynch party at Morgan.

Anonymous said...

What cracks me up is the notion Democrats must only hire Democrats.

If we're talking money and taxes as opposed to penning soundbites and rigging elections the real brain power for that is on the Right. And happily for Democrats most of that brain power -on social issues -is exactly were the Democrats are.

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

FLG, did you catch Ed Morrissey on the pick of Sperling? Very intersting considering the angle this comment thread was discussing:

"With Obama promising a “singular focus” on job creation, why didn’t he look for an economic adviser with actual experience in creating jobs, rather than yet another academic or political insider for the NEC? CBS says that the White House found it too hard to find a CEO with experience in economics:

""Some White House aides originally wanted Obama to name a business leader to the council job as a way to give the private sector a greater voice in the administration and ease the perception that the president is anti-business. But finding a CEO with economic credentials proved difficult and the White House thinking evolved over time.""

"It proved difficult, I imagine, to find a CEO with economic credentials who supports Obama’s rapid expansion of the regulatory regime as somehow being a “singular focus” on job creation. CEOs with or without “economic credentials” would be more likely to oppose the Obama policies on both economics and in the regulatory area as excessively burdensome to existing business and long-term investment. Instead of listening to someone who actually knows how to create jobs and adjust policies accordingly, Obama chose insularity — and continues to generate economic policy without having any real-world experience on board for reality checks."

By the way, I almost spit my coffee out from laughing at Gene Sperling of the Clinton War Room fame being selected. That tops the selection of Billy Daley. Remember David Brooks's whopper that Obama may not have the experience but surrounded himself with the best people?

Guess that all depends on what your definition of best is...

Mrs. P

David said...

There are actually quite a few Dem-leaning CEOs and other executives in "technology" companies...perhaps partly because Democrats, being the fashion-followers they are, have been slightly less disrespectful of tech companies than of manufacturers, oil drillers, transportation companies, etc.

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