My Chronicle colleague Rich Monastersky analyzes the academic ties and professorial style of our new commander-in-chief:
The academic style offers some advantages in developing policy. Many reports of how Mr. Obama has operated his campaign and his Senate office suggest that he runs discussions with advisers much like graduate seminars, by seeking a diverse range of options and opinions. If he kept up that habit in the White House, it could help prevent him from developing myopic policies unconstrained by facts on the ground, which many scholars have accused President Bush of doing.
A lot of people compare Obama to JFK, but one scholar hears echoes of Woodrow Wilson in Obama’s speaking style. Is that a good thing?
Henry W, Brands, a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Woodrow Wilson (Times Books, 2003), says Mr. Obama’s speaking style echoes that of President Wilson, another former professor and a president of Princeton University before being elected. That similarity should serve as a warning to Mr. Obama, says Mr. Brands, because Wilson was sometimes accused of being pompous, and “he got worse at that the longer he was in the White House.”