Can Partisanship Be Fixed?
Investigate the debate over parties by examining their nature and role in American political life.
Associate Director, Maimonides Scholars Program
“Hertog is a great place to go if you’re interested in public policy. Whether it’s political journalism, think tanks, Hill work, or diplomacy, at Hertog you get a chance to preview all the different political lives at once. That’s something you really can’t beat.”
Associate Director, Maimonides Scholars Program
Researcher to Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Tikvah Fellow
St. John’s College, Annapolis
Prolific freelancer Kate Havard Rozansky has had bylines in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard. A graduate of St. John’s College, Annapolis, Kate was part of the inaugural 2010 class of Political Studies, which she credits for helping her get her start in Washington, DC. She now directs the Maimonides Scholars Program at the Tikvah Fund.
I was a sophomore at St. John’s College when I first heard about Hertog. My freshman Greek professor, Adam Schulman, nominated me for the Hertog Political Studies Program. I went into it being interested in the classics; I didn’t have any political background before that.
What drew me to the Program was the Machiavelli, the Aristotle, and the Great Books angle. That’s what I had already been studying at St. John’s and what I was most attracted to. And, of course, the chance to study with [Professors Amy and Leon] Kass was really exciting for me. So that was my pull, and all the political stuff was new to me.
Something I will never forget from Political Studies is the week we were reading Machiavelli. Henry Kissinger was coming to lecture, and I got to give an introduction about Machiavelli and Henry Kissinger in front of Henry Kissinger. That was amazing to me, and is something I will never forget. That class was one of my favorites I’ve ever been in.
At Hertog, the intellectual experience with your peers is also impressive. I met my best friend at Hertog; she was one of my roommates at Political Studies. I’m also close with a good number of other alumni from the 2010 class.
My time at The Weekly Standard was rooted in Hertog. I met the editor, Bill Kristol, at a Political Studies lecture on Tocqueville that he gave. The Political Studies scholars were given copies of The Weekly Standard, and that was my first time seeing it.
After reading The Weekly Standard, I knew that I wanted to work there. Meeting him through Hertog gave me the opportunity to ask for an internship. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do that without Hertog. This was my first exposure to that world, and I kind of ended up in journalism as an accident after the fact of wanting to work for Bill Kristol.
Hertog gave me a lot of great connections that I’m so glad to have had, especially in terms of friends, teachers, and mentors. After The Weekly Standard, I got a fellowship with the Tikvah Fund. That fellowship put me at The Wall Street Journal working for Bret Stephens, which was a wonderful experience. I helped work on a book he was writing that’s just about to come out.
I think because you have direct engagement with this high caliber of teachers, and just by virtue of being immersed in the DC world from the very beginning, Hertog is a great place to go if you’re interested in public policy.
Especially if you’re politically interested, but you’re not exactly sure what aspect of politics you want to get into. Whether it’s political journalism, think tanks, Hill work, or diplomacy, at Hertog you get a chance to preview all the different political lives at once. That’s something you really can’t beat, particularly if you go in like I did with a purely academic background.
I’d still like to be involved in politics and still writing in whatever capacity I can make a living at.
Rhodes Scholar, University of Oxford
Yale Parker Huang Fellowship
Hannah Carrese attended the 2014 Political Studies Program. She is now attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Previously, she studied refugee and migration policy with the support of the Yale Parker Huang Fellowship.
While at Yale, Professors Norma Thompson and Steven Smith in the Humanities Program recommended me for Political Studies. They suggested that it would be a way to supplement my study of the Great Books and to think more deeply about political conversations—all in DC, which is an exciting place to think about those things. And then it just became obvious that this was what I should do with my summer.
Of course! I’m going to do an MPhil in Politics at Oxford, with a focus on refugees, migration, and the political theories that underpin our ideas of human rights and state order. The degree isn’t directly related to what I studied at Hertog, but all that I studied at Hertog is implicit in it.
These crucial crises of our time have to be solved by people who have an understanding of the ideas that came before us and the theories that underpin our own thought. T. S. Eliot talks about knowing the canon before you can change it, and it’s the same idea with politics. To know the canon in the way that Hertog taught us and then inspired us to do at our own universities is a great gift for people who want to go into public policy and public service.
The Gettysburg staff ride was really memorable. By the time we got to the field where Pickett’s Charge happened, it was pouring rain. We were running across this muddy battlefield, and it felt like we were really examining the relationship between the American history we learned about when we were younger and the great ideas we were discussing at Hertog. Pickett’s Charge was enmeshed in a broader discussion about strategy: It’s about Lee’s moral vision of the war and Lincoln’s language of the war.
After we came back from Gettysburg, a group of us ran down to the Lincoln Memorial and just sat there for a bit. It felt wonderful to be there in that city reading those books, feeling the presence of those figures. That’s what Hertog does best: They bring these texts, ideas, and events alive. All this was evident throughout the Program, but especially on that day.
The intellectual community at Hertog is really special. There’s this sense that everybody’s done the reading, so when we go into discussion, there’s an ability to focus on what’s really being said. It’s sometimes rare to get an unfiltered look at a great book or a great person.
My current plan after Oxford is to return to the United States and attend law school to study asylum law, problems of refugee movement, and general migration. Then I want to use the theoretical training I’ll gain from Oxford and the legal training I’ll have as well to make policy on these issues.
I think matters of migration touch aspects of our politics that go beyond humanitarian factors. Refugees flee political crises, and we have to solve the conflicts that they flee through political means. The first step is to understand refugee crises as inherently political, and that’s what I want to work towards.
Policy Advisor, Office of Senator Marco Rubio
Office of Congressman Ralph Hall
Abilene Christian University
Caleb Orr completed his degree at Abilene Christian University while also serving as an intern and later legislative correspondent in the office of Senator Marco Rubio. Caleb participated in Hertog’s “Great Figures of the 20th Century” Weekend Seminars series, with sessions on Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and David Ben-Gurion.
Working on Capitol Hill is all about keeping in touch with what other members of Congress are doing and partnering with them based on their expertise and abilities. So getting to know other Hill staff from Hertog, but also people in the think-tank community has been very helpful in connecting me to those resources and being able to serve Senator Rubio better as a staffer.
One-hundred percent. It’s a great entryway into the world of DC. Hertog programs provide access points into Capitol Hill and the academic community in ways that you don’t get at universities across America.
With the Weekend Seminars, the Foundation brought in some of the most well-known experts to lead seminars about each of these leaders. The ability to really have an intensive session over a weekend where you’re spending time with these scholars—in an academic setting, but also over dinner or drinks—really allowed you to get to know them as people, which made them all the more effective in conveying the subject matter. It was interesting to take that much of a deep dive into world leaders. To explore all the ins and outs, both the good and the bad of their characters, was helpful in seeing how the same traits that produce epic achievements can also lead to moral failures.
Hertog Foundation programs bring the kind of education that you expect at an elite university, combined with a grounding in the civilizational values that America was founded on and made us able to produce freedom, order, and prosperity. As a result of that, students are able to come together in an environment where you’re with many smart people from different fields and learn from one another.
It really is remarkable how vibrant the alumni community is and how much I’ve stayed in contact with people I met at Hertog. I think that’s unique, even when compared to other DC fellowship programs I’ve done. In fact, I’ve started to meet up with two other Hertog alumni about every other week to get steak dinners and just talk politics.
I want to be promoting the kind of human flourishing that I learned about at Hertog – ordered liberty, the American family, and American leadership. I want to be working for the first “reformicon” president in the White House.
J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School
Nonresident Counterterrorism Fellow at Institute for the Study of War, Department of State, Obama for America
Harvard graduate Harleen Gambhir enjoyed her time with the 2013 Hertog War Studies Program so much, she deferred her master’s program at Oxford University. Encouraged by program instructors Fred and Kim Kagan, Harleen decided to spend a year at the Institute for the Study of War to research ISIS and jihadist groups worldwide. She is now a J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School, and continues as a Nonresident Counterterrorism Fellow at ISW.
I was a junior at Harvard and took a course with Graham Allison and David Sanger on U.S. national security decision-making and the press. I believe that Drs. Fred and Kimberly Kagan are friends with Dr. Allison, and he asked a small group of us if we were interested.
I had studied foreign policy and the diplomatic side before and felt very comfortable with those facets, but I never really understood military strategy. War Studies seemed like a great way to fill that gap. When I did the interview for the program, Dr. Fred Kagan asked me why they should take me. My response was, “I’m exactly the kind of student you’re looking for—I know nothing about this! I know about the diplomatic and foreign policy aspects, but I don’t know about the military side, and I want to learn.”
My story is a little bit unorthodox. When I did War Studies, I became close with ISW Research Director Jessica Lewis, who was in charge of the Al-Qaeda in Iraq (now ISIS) portfolio. I helped her with a project she was working on about car bombs in Baghdad and around Iraq.
I came on as a summer intern at ISW with the help of Hertog Foundation funding. I interned directly under Jessica on the counterterrorism team. I hadn’t planned to spend the majority of the summer focused on ISIS, but three days into the internship, ISIS started its urban offensive in Iraq and went into Mosul. Obviously, the entire office went into hyper drive. It was an amazing experience. Both being able to engage with the material and be a part of a really dynamic team was incredibly important and worthwhile.
Over the course of the summer, I started thinking about possibly trying to defer Oxford. Somehow everything managed to work out! As a Counterterrorism Analyst at ISW, I get to help out with ISW’s technology partnerships, which fits in very well with what I want to do in the long term. I’m extremely grateful to the Hertog Foundation for creating the space for these relationships and networks to grow for me.
The main thing I was struck by was the caliber of the students who were taking part in the program. Every single person was incredibly brilliant and interesting in their own way. I learned more in those two weeks than I did in some semester-long courses. It was one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had, but also exceedingly enjoyable because of people who were there.
I loved that even though the program was obviously based in military studies, it was military studies coming from three people with academic backgrounds. The Drs. Kagan had taught at West Point, and General Dubik was completing his Ph.D. while teaching the program and had a philosophy background.
So for me coming from a social science background, they were the ideal people to be bridging that gap. I just remember reading Clausewitz’s On War and having them explain it to me. I was completely blown away by this material that I wouldn’t have picked up had I not taken the course.
The War Studies Program is definitely beneficial for young people interested in public service. The underlying philosophy of the Program is that civilian leaders can’t make informed national security decisions without an understanding of the fundamentals of war—and that’s absolutely true. War Studies offers a type of education that normally isn’t available to public service-minded civilian students.
I absolutely see myself working in public service, and public policy if possible. I would love to keep working in the national security space, hopefully doing something intelligence analysis related. I hesitate to limit myself to a certain region because you never know where life’s going to go, but ideally I’ll be working in the public sphere addressing some of the most complex national security problems we face as a nation.
Client Services Associate, Gerson Lehrman Group
University of Oxford, The White House, 2013 Truman Scholar
Stefan Johnson has worked in the White House and been a community leader in his hometown of Philadelphia. Stefan is currently a Client Services Associate at the Gerson Lehrman Group.
I heard about the Hertog Foundation through Dr. Daniel Mark, one of my professors of Political Science at Villanova University. I applied because I thought Hertog would help me understand how theory and practice complement one another. I have had many political experiences, which might be called ‘practical,’ but previously did not have a solid foundation in the history of Western political thought. The opportunity to read canonical texts in the context of contemporary political discourse is what attracted me.
The Political Studies Program provided me with grounding in not only the theoretical aspects of how our institutions came to be, but also in the practical aspects of how they currently function. I read important thinkers such as Aristotle, Machiavelli, and de Tocqueville, while also placing these readings within the context of contemporary public policy, such as American foreign and domestic policy. On top of our seminar classes, we enjoyed weekly lectures and events with accomplished scholars, like Harvey Mansfield, and practitioners, like Congressman (now Senator) Tom Cotton.
I had many of the most intellectually stimulating conversations in my life with my peers at Hertog—both regarding the texts we read in class and about the issues of the day.
The Political Studies Program offers something that is overlooked in academia today: intellectual diversity. The Program truly attracts students from across the political spectrum, and that is something incredibly unique to Hertog.
The study of politics is critical for all people, regardless of someone’s interests or vocation. One of my friends from the program is a Physics major at Princeton, and we both agreed that the knowledge of political institutions is essential to human flourishing. Political ideas propel our republic forward.
I would recommend Hertog to anyone, especially folks who are interested in public service. During my junior year of college I had the opportunity to win the Truman Scholarship, which is awarded to students who have demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service. After doing Political Studies I went back to the Truman people and said, “We’ve got to get more of our Scholars over to the Hertog Political Studies Program. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn about civic life, how to give back to one’s community and ultimately how to be a more well-rounded person.”
Life is very interesting; you never know where you’re going to end up. I helped organize the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, an event which worked to highlight the important role of the family on a global scale. I never thought I’d help prepare for a papal visit to my hometown—it’s so hard to know what life with throw at you. But in 10 years, I hope to be in a position where I can give back to my community, especially on a local level.
On Thursday, July 12, 2018, the Hertog Foundation hosted a panel discussing the current challenges facing the university. The panelists included three Hertog Political Studies Fellows and recent graduates, each of whom has written about their experiences for major publications.
Do you know a student or colleague who would benefit from one of our programs? Applicants may apply directly to our programs, but nominations are helpful for reaching and selecting great participants. Nominate a potential applicant by submitting their name, email address, and a brief description of their abilities and interest in the study of politics and policy. Program staff will follow up with an email to the nominee mentioning your nomination and offering information on how to apply.Nominate a Student
Daniel DiSalvo is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for State and Local Leadership and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at The City College of New York-CUNY. His scholarship focuses on American political parties, elections, labor unions, state government, and public policy.
Vance Serchuk is Executive Director of the KKR Global Institute and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Serchuk served for six years as the senior national security advisor to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut).
Daniel Blumenthal is the Director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on East Asian security issues and Sino-American relations. Mr. Blumenthal has both served in and advised the U.S. government on China issues for over a decade.
Gen. David Petraeus
General (Ret) David H. Petraeus is Chairman of the KKR Global Institute. Prior to joining KKR, Gen. Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands, five of which were in combat, including command of coalition forces during the Surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan.