Romney and Obama: A Match Made in Harvard
The following is a guest post from Michelle Ontario. If you are interested in guest posting at Geek Politics, check out the guidelines here.
As election day draws closer, the rhetoric from both parties gets even more heated and the accusations spewed by partisan windbags on both sides becomes more bitter and less relevant. In this present election, much has been made of the slow economy under Barack Obama and the conspicuous absence of Mitt Romney’s tax returns. What has been lost in all the bickering is the fact of how similar the two candidates actually are. In fact, it could be argued that this is deliberately being ignored as it serves neither of them if it is pointed out that they have much in common. What would the partisans have to complain about? So, how similar are Romney and Obama? Are there any differences? The respective answers to those questions are “quite” and “yes.” See below.
Romney and Obama: The Harvard Connection
Harvard. The name alone conjures up an image of privilege and of an enclave for the wealthiest families in the nation. Those who attend and graduate from Harvard belong to a small and elite club of people who have a head start in life as a result of going to this prestigious school. A subset of this already elite set graduates from Harvard Law School, one of the most celebrated honors in the legal profession. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney belong to this group. That fact alone guarantees that they have more in common with each other than they do with most of the people who plan on voting for them. They not only have received the fruits of the intensive and broad education provided by one of the best schools in the world, they have all the connections that Harvard degrees bring. They are brothers in an exclusive club, and this should not be forgotten when evaluating both men.
Another important fact is that both Obama and Romney did well academically while at the school. This is another shared element of both men’s stories. The academic drive and eagerness that they possessed may have been due to the influence of their fathers, both of whom were high achievers; Romney’s father in business and politics and Obama’s father in the field of economics. Willard Mitt Romney would graduate from both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. He was in the top five percent of his class in business school and graduated cum laude from law school. Barack Obama would graduate magna cum laud from law school and went on to be a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School for four years.
Prior to Harvard
By the time they entered Harvard, both Romney and Obama were older than the typical college student. Romney was 24 and Obama was 27. Both men had previously attended other schools, with Romney’s educational path going through Stanford and later on Brigham Young before winding up in Cambridge. Barack Obama’s academic path was slightly different in that he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles right out of high school and majored in political science; he would eventually transfer to Columbia University in New York. Obama would also work as a community organizer before attending Harvard Law School and as an associate at two law firms while at the school.
Michelle Ontario is a professional blogger who occasionally writes about American politics. She is a fan of election season and has written multiple essays and blog posts about the last two American presidential elections. She also contributes to Degree Jungle who just launched an infographic on the Costs to Educate President which looks at the education background of both candidates.