They are getting smug in New Haven.
Of the four men running for president and vice president in the 2000 election, three of them went to Yale. Both Republican candidates, Texas Gov. George W. Bush and former Wyoming representative Richard B. Cheney, as well as Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, are sons of Eli. Only one candidate, Al Gore '69, went to Harvard College.
In public relations terms, this is the greatest thing to happen to Yale since the invention of bulletproof glass. The national media doted on the coincidence this summer, chronicling Bush's days as head of a fraternity and Lieberman's tenure as chairman of the Yale Daily News. Former Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin, who most of us know only as the inspiration for the Doonesbury character Scott Sloane, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times glorifying the "strong social consciousness" that prevailed at the Yale of Bush and Lieberman's day. Yale of those days, we're to believe, bred men for greatness.
Far be it from us, of course, to deny Yale its moment in the sun. Lord knows, they don't come too often. We can take comfort in the assurance that if Gore wins in November, as the polls now predict, things will return to normal. And even if Bush wins, it will take more than a president or two to cure Yale's well-deserved inferiority complex.
Meanwhile, the age-old rivalry is heating up on the campaign trail. Earlier this month, the Eli-ticket of Bush and Cheney were overheard referring to New York Times reporter (and former Crimson president) Adam Clymer '58 as a "major league asshole."
To many voters, the idea of the Harvard-Yale rivalry (which curiously seems to be referred to as the "Yale-Harvard" rivalry in every publication on earth except The Crimson) being played out in national politics will seem sickening. Both universities represent wealth, privilege and elitism to most Americans. Harvard and Yale are about as status quo as you can get. Luckily, for voters who believe both candidates are pawns of the powers that be, there is an alternative: They can cast a protest vote for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. He, after all, went to Princeton.