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May 16, 2006

My response to the Harvard presidential search committee

A select group of bloggers -- those who have written favorably about Harvard . . . and I -- have received a letter from James R. Houghton, chairman of Harvard's presidential search committee. The letter begins: "On behalf of Harvard's governing boards, I write to invite your advice on the search for a new president of Harvard, in light of Larry Summers' decision to conclude his tenure as our 27th president at the end of the 2005-06 academic year." (Ah, so maybe it was this photo comic that got me the invitation.)

I'm considering whether to give Harvard the following advice. If anyone from Harvard's presidential search committee happens to read this, please use it in good health.

I think that I shall never see
At Harvard University
An intellectual inquiry
Pursuing logic faithfully,

Oblivious to jerking knee
And voice of angry faculty --
An argument that's totally

No president, though scholar he,
Can fight the pettifoggery
That, sadly, does accompany
The bearer of a Ph.D.

Still, why this question's posed to me
Is something of a mystery:
My thoughts are not, apparently,
The stuff of left-wing lunacy.

And so I say, respectfully,
If Harvey Mansfield would agree,
That Harvard choose him finally
And show some masculinity.