By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – According to its website, the mission of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School is to “unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service.”

And over the years, I’ve appreciated numerous interactions with the Institute, getting expert analysis, and admiring the professionalism of the people who run the place.

But with its latest crop of visiting fellows, the Institute seems to be losing a bit of focus on its stated mission.

I’m sure Sean Spicer, President Trump’s late, unlamented press secretary, has some great stories to tell, although I doubt he’ll tell them unless some publisher gives him a fat advance to do so.

spicer Keller @ Large: Harvards Institute Of Politics Too Focused On Celebrity Buzz

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Perhaps instead, he’ll share his only apparent skill – flagrant obfuscation – with the students, not an inspiring thought.

It’s unclear to me what Chelsea Manning, the former soldier court-martialed for leaking sensitive and classified documents to the Russian propaganda organ Wikileaks, knows about politics and government, beyond her successful campaign to get her sentence commuted.  Again, not especially inspiring.

Robby Mook, campaign manager for the S.S. Titanic of politics, a.k.a. the Hillary Clinton campaign? He can teach the kids what not to do, I guess.

joemika Keller @ Large: Harvards Institute Of Politics Too Focused On Celebrity Buzz

MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Daily Front Row)

Joe & Mika of cable TV fame?


Sorry, IOP, I really like your work, but this latest crop of fellows seems more about buzz and celebrity than your mission statement of “promoting greater understanding [of] the world of politics.”

Then again, maybe buzz and celebrity is what that world has come to.

  1. Interesting comment, Jon, from a person who is one with his finger firmly planted on the buzzer.

    Perhaps if you wouldn’t elevate these people beyond their station, you might have a better selection of informal advisors.

    And BTW, Sean Spicer knows more about the inside workings of the White House than you might be willing to admit…

    As I recally, you didn’t do a lot of complaining when David Axelrod was lying daily from the podium when Barack Obama was President of the United States…or any of his other “press secretaries” for that matter.

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