At the turn of the century, the football (soccer) club Real Madrid began collecting some of the most famous players in the world. Termed los Galácticos by the media, the team included a stockpile all-world players such as Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, Michael Owen, Roberto Carlos, and Raúl.
It seems Presdient-Elect Obama is trying to form his own team of Galácticos. Obama has assembled an economic team with impressive resumes: Lawrence Summers (Harvard Ph.D., former Harvard president), Peter Orzag (London School of Economics, Ph.D.), Christina Romer (M.I.T, Ph.D.), Paul Volcker (Harvard, LSE, former Fed Reserve President).
Does this ensure success? Not necessarily. David Halberstam’s book, The Best and the Brightest, reveals that President Kennedy’s team of extremely intelligent, well-educated individuals still managed to make poor decisions during the Vietnam War.
On the other hand, Obama is also following President Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals” model. Lincoln choose William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates for cabinet positions even though each of them opposed his nominations. Similarly, Obama has choosen Democratic rival Hilary Clinton as secretary of State, and has allowed Bush-appointee Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense.
Will Obama’s choices for cabinet positions lead help lead the United States on the path to peace on prosperity? Hopefully, they will at least do better than los Galácticos.