July 24, 2021

Jill Biden’s Doctorate Is Garbage Because Her Dissertation Is Garbage

You can tell someone is smarting from an inferiority complex when he insists on being addressed as “Dr.” on the basis of holding an academic doctorate rather than being a physician. Ph.D. holders who have genuine accomplishments don’t make you call them “Doctor,” which is why you never hear about “Dr. Paul Krugman” and “Dr. George Will.” None of the professors I knew at Yale, even the ones who were eminent in their fields, insisted on the title, and I think most of them would have scoffed if someone had addressed them as “Dr.” The only reason you ever hear the phrase “Dr. Henry Kissinger” is that Kissy grew up in title-mad, airs-and-graces Germany, where people are awed rather than dismissive even if you insist on a triple-serving title (“Herr Professor Doktor”).Insisting on being called “Doctor” when you don’t heal people is, among most holders of doctorates, seen as a gauche, silly, cringey ego trip. Consider “Dr.” Jill Biden, who doesn’t even hold a Ph.D. but rather a lesser Ed.D., something of a joke in the academic world. President-elect Joe Biden once explained that his wife sought the degree purely for status reasons: “She said, ‘I was so sick of the mail coming to Sen. and Mrs. Biden. I wanted to get mail addressed to Dr. and Sen. Biden.’ That’s the real reason she got her doctorate,” Joe Biden has said.Mrs. Biden wanted the credential for its own sake. As for its quality, well. She got it from the University of Delaware, whose ties to her husband, its most illustrious alumnus if you don’t count Joe Flacco, run so deep that it has a school of public policy named after him. That the University of Delaware would have rejected her 2006 dissertation as sloppy, poorly written, non-academic, and barely fit for a middle-school Social Studies classroom (all of which it is) when her husband had been representing its state in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades was about as likely as Tom Hagen telling Vito Corleone that his wife is a fat sow on payday. The only risk to the University of Delaware was that it might strain its collective wrist in its rush to rubber-stamp her doctoral paper. Mrs. Biden could have turned in a quarter-a**ed excuse for a magazine article written at the level of Simple English Wikipedia and been heartily congratulated by the university for her towering mastery. Which is exactly what happened.

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