Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Think Tank Presence Slim at Obama's Last State Dinner

It was the last chance for think tankers to get invited to a President Barack Obama state dinner, and only two think tankers made the cut to honor Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi to the White House.

The two who made it were Robert Kagan, a Senior Fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution, and Jane Harman, Director, President, and CEO of the Wilson Center.

It helps that Kagan is the husband of Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Interestingly, Mae Podesta, the daughter of Center for American Progress (CAP) founder John Podesta, also made the list.  Perhaps Mr. Podesta was going to go but become a bit too preoccupied with his ongoing email issues.

Earlier in the year Think Tank Watch wrote about the likelihood of think tankers being invited to a White House state dinner.  Basically, it doesn't happen too often.

Why not?  Part of the reason is that the current president and those who advise him do not see eye to eye on a number of issues.  In fact, many at the White House refer to Washington's foreign policy elite (i.e., think tankers) as "The Blob."

But do not fret all you think tankers.  For if you you did not get your invitation these past eight years, a new administration will always bring more opportunities.