Don't Call Me, I'll Call You
"Massachusetts was Kennedy's Georgia," Milton Katz, Stimson Professor of Law, said yesterday, explaining why the new administration will almost surely not reinstate the Harvard-Washington nexus of the Kennedy years.
But Katz, who has worked with President-elect Jimmy Carter for the last 15 months, hastens to add that he not only hopes, but would be surprised if Carter does not turn his eyes to Harvard for at least a part of his staff.
Katz shares the semi-cautious, semi-hopeful attitude of many Harvard academics who have served as long-distance advisors over the last few months, warily describing his active participation and declining any concrete speculation on things to come.
Katz, as well as colleagues Charles M. Haar, Brandeis Professor of Law, and Alan M. Dershowitz, professor of Law, have talked to members of the transition office--formally organized after Carter received the presidential nomination to identify the most pressing issues that would confront the new administration.
And others, who may not be part of what Jerome A. Cohen, associate dean of the Law School, yesterday called the "inner sanctum" have served on small policy advisory task forces during the past months.
But in a press conference Thursday night, Carter quashed many rumors of already determined appointments, describing a long, slow process, stretching into December, to choose those who will fill the 75 top government posts.
"They collect all sorts of names without the slighest idea how well they would fill the job or if the president would be interested in them," Katz said. "The list is so speculatory that there is no obligation to inform people on the list that they are under consideration, he said.
In addition, despite the considerable number of Harvard faculty advising Carter in some capacity, Cohen, who served on Carter's foreign policy task force, says there is "no necessary link between people in the campaign and the jobs given out."
He adds that Carter has made it clear he does not want to rely on people from one region or one university alone--he seeks national coloration.
With the image of a Harvard exodus to Washington, to serve the Democratic administration, now cleanly erased from memory, the likelihood of Harvard representation in the new administration nevertheless remains.
But despite the rampant rumors that naturally follow any election, it remains too early to know just who might be flying south for the winter. As Cohen says, "There are so many people, one can't even make a good catalogue."