John McCain’s editorial on the Kagan nomination got me thinking. At issue, her move as dean of Harvard Law School denying military recruiters access to the campus Career Services Office. McCain cites one beleaguered recruiter complaining that without this access, they were “relegated to wandering the halls in hopes that someone will stop and talk to us.”
Funny, recruiters have no problem meeting recruiting targets by wandering the halls (or streets, parks, gas stations, malls, and Wal-Marts) in low-income communities cruising for teenagers to sign on the dotted line. Of course, there is less competition in this arena than in the post-grad job market of a Harvard law student, whose student body emerges equipped with a world-class education, awesome earning potential, and is still majority white, almost 70%. McCain bristles at the thought of “white-shoe law firms” recruiting students, but not “one of its great institutions, the U.S. military.”
The damage done to military recruiting efforts by Kagan’s decision is a chimera, but the opportunity to resurrect a tired (and frankly a little pathetic) narrative of God & Country was too hard for Senate conservatives to resist. When the best and the brightest (read: richest and whitest) don’t roll out the red carpet for military recruiters, it is an insult to the pedigree of military-political careerism and chickenhawks everywhere. And John McCain won’t stand for it.