Benjamin Wallace-Wells

He claims to be a rigorous academic. He's not.

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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

There was a time during the presidential primaries that I thought Mitt Romney might make a good foreign-policy president. Where John McCain was impulsive and pugilistic--willing to make grave decisions about the fate of the country with little reflection, or for purely tactical reasons--Romney seemed more moderate, less reactive. I hoped that Romney's penchant for strategic analysis, and the problem-solving skills he picked up as a management consultant at Bain & Company, would make him a more thoughtful commander-in-chief.

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