Dylan Matthews

Benjamin Wallace-Wells's newest TNR piece revisits David Halberstam's treatment of Robert McNamara in The Best and the Brightest and argues that, far from criticizing McNamara for his expertise, Halberstam indicts him for being a "brilliant generalist" who knew little about any particular subject. Be they "brilliant generalists" or experts in their fields, the executive branch has not lacked for academics, quantitative jocks, and other quintessential "nerds" throughout the years. Click through to learn more about past geeks in government. Photo courtesy of Getty Images --Dylan Matthews

More than any demographic group, American 50 and over are skeptical of health care reform. While those aged 18-49 are equally likely to believe that health care reform will improve or worsen their own medical care, according to a recent Gallup poll those 50-64 are more likely to believe it will worsen their care, 37% to 26%, with the margin even wider (39% to 20%) among those 65 and older. As health wonks will tell you, there's a certain irony to this.

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Arthur Laffer, Reagan economic advisor, co-author of Proposition 13, and creator of the Laffer Curve: An elderly Louisiana woman, 1994 (cf. The System by Haynes Johnson and David Broder, page 558) [Senator John Breaux] was walking through the New Orleans airport, returning home, when an elderly female constituent approached him. "Senator, Senator," she said, plucking emotionally at his sleeve.

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