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November 16, 2011

Resumes and work experience... (tmi3rd)

Good afternoon, folks. As Ace runs an errand, I thought I'd toss something past you. And don't worry, it's not the usual marathon-length stuff I throw out.

Something interesting came across my desk in the past couple of days. It was an impressive entry-level rèsumè, with a bunch of big schools on it. Check this out…

B.A. in history with honors, Stanford University

Master of Philosophy in International Relations, Oxford

Master of Public Health, Columbia University

Currently pursuing a doctorate in public administration at NYU

What kind of gig do you suppose this person would be looking for?

Well, if you guessed this person wanted to be a politician, you’d be right. If you guessed this person comes from major-league money, you’d also be right. And if you guessed this person just landed a gig completely unrelated to any of the education listed above, congratulations, you just hit the trifecta.

This person just landed a gig on the NBC Nightly News. Her name is Chelsea Clinton.

Her Wikipedia page notes that she started off in pre-medicine, with a chemistry major, then switched over to history. (Let’s not throw too many stones there- science degrees, particularly chemistry and physics, run off a lot of good students.) The resume is impressive. Here’s where I start getting unhappy.

First of all, I’d take the master’s in public health seriously if she’d done any clinical work of consequence. Instead, she wound up working for a think tank called McKinsey and Company- they’re officially a consulting group for public administration- and then wound up with Avenue Capital Group, a hedge fund. She wound up on the board of the School of American Ballet (she’s got a ballet background), and is now on the board of directors of IAC (a significant Internet company).

Now, I’m living proof that you can do really well in journalism without a degree in it, but the contrast is that I started in a small market (Lake Charles, LA), then made a jump to market #30 (Nashville), and had a chance to move on to a top-ten market (Dallas/Fort Worth) before deciding to get out. Clinton, on the other hand, abruptly has a key feature reporter gig with the NBC Nightly News with zero experience in journalism.

Digging a little bit further into the work experience- the hedge fund management (and I can’t find any details on how much real work she actually did on it) sets her up financially quite well. The ballet gig gives her a tax shelter- she can make big contributions and use them for tax deductions. She’s on the board of directors at the Internet company- is there a qualification I’m not aware of that made her the right person for that gig?

Some folks in the industry are taking note, as well.
Brian Stelter at the New York Times notes some serious discomfort in the industry about someone devoid of experience jumping right into the national stuff.

So what are we seeing? Simply put, NBC is helping groom Chelsea to run for office. They may teach her to write for television a bit, but she'll have a whole production crew all to herself, and that includes writers. Combine that with the fact that she has a history of being very media-hostile, and there’s very little indication thus far that she’s inherited her father’s charisma. If she doesn’t improve her dealings with the media, it won’t matter how good she looks in the public eye- she won’t be able to get much higher than the low rungs of national office.

Long-term, however, make no mistake- if Chelsea Clinton grows some charisma and ease with the media, a Congressional run is the lowest level she’ll take a shot at. There are already mumbles of a Senate run, and if she has her mother’s ambition, then yeah, here comes the presidential run.

This is an effective use of the liberal infrastructure- four degrees from a who’s who list of Ivy League schools, a Wall Street gig, a gig at a liberal think tank, and now charm school at NBC. I say this with no bitterness- the Clintons are using the assets they have at their disposal to build a potent political weapon (and that includes the facial work Chelsea had done in her late teens and early 20s). Take note of this- this is what it currently takes to be part of the aristocracy. This, ultimately, is why you see kids of otherwise conservative politicos going to ivy League schools. Is the education any better than they'd get at State U? Debatable. But it's still the ticket into the big club.

More on the aristocracy to come...


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posted by Open Blogger at 04:10 PM

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