Tevi D. TroyArchives
tags: Top Young Historians
Position: Deputy Secretary, U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
Area of Research: American political and intellectual history, 20th-century American conservatism, U.S. Presidency.
Education: Ph.D., American Civilization, University of Texas at Austin, 1996. B.S., Cornell University, 1989.
Major Publications: Tevi Troy is the author of Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).
He has also contributed a book chapter "All the President's Brains," in Public Intellectuals: An Endangered Species?, Amitai Etzioni and Alyssa Bowditch, eds., (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).
Troy also regularly contributes editorials and book reviews for National Review Online, and has written for the mainstream media including such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Policy Review, The New Republic, Washington Times, Investor's Business Daily, The Weekly Standard, National Review, and Reason among others. He has also written for academic journals including The Hoover Institution's "Perspectives in Political Science."
Awards: Troy is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
University Fellow, University of Texas;
Salvatori Fellow, Heritage Foundation;
Publius Fellow, Claremont Institute;
Herman Kahn Fellow, Hudson Institute;
Claude R Lambe Fellow, Institute for Human Studies;
Young Leadership Award, American Friends of Lubavitch.
From 2005 to 2007, Troy served as Deputy Assistant to President Bush for Domestic Policy, and from 2003 to 2004 was Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary and the White House liaison to the Jewish community. He also served as deputy director of policy for George W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.
Troy began working in the Bush administration at the Department of Labor, where he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and the Director of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives.
Troy served as the Policy Director for Senator John Ashcroft. From 1996 to 1998, Troy was Senior Domestic Policy Adviser and later Domestic Policy Director for the House Policy Committee, chaired by Christopher Cox.
He has also been the Herman Kahn Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Indianapolis and a Researcher at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
I still remember reading how in the 1980s the newest issues of the New Republic would go straight from the printer to the West Wing of the White House. I was fascinated by how intellectuals moved their ideas from the academic world to the political. In graduate school, I first tried to do a study of books that made a difference in shaping political leadership decisions. I examined how books like Michael Harrington's The Other America or Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mindinfluenced elected leaders. What I found was that it is very hard to prove that a president actually read an important book, let alone assimilated its ideas. What I could prove, however, was which books were recommended to presidents and who recommended them. This led to the discovery that in every administration since President Kennedy at least one person has been charged (or charged himself) with the role of keeping the president and his senior staff informed of intellectual developments in the wider culture.
For my doctoral dissertation, I decided to investigate the important role of intellectuals inside and outside the White House. This work became my first book Intellectuals and the American Presidency. After completing my dissertation, I found that my interest in ideas in politics opened doors into the political world. Over the last decade, I have worked in a series of policy-development roles. I have worked on Capitol Hill, for several executive agencies, and at the White House. My prior doctoral research gave me a real insight into how future historians would view the documents I was preparing and submitting. It made me aware of my responsibility to future historians as I drafted critical documents.
My academic interests and public service came full circle at the White House. As part of my job in the administration, I was able to sit in on a number of meetings that the president held with small groups of prominent historians to discuss world history, current events, and long-term trends. Right before one of these meetings, Karl Rove brought the historians into his office and we started discussing the role of intellectuals and the presidency. Rove looked over at me and said: "Wait a minute, this guy wrote the book on the subject." At that moment, I thought back and I realized I could have never planned anything like this when I was in grad school.
By Tevi D. Troy
This situation makes presidents, for all their power, extremely vulnerable. As a result, they understandably seek some magic elixir that can help shape their image among the voting public, the scribbling classes, and the history books. If they cannot confer a positive image on a president, they can certainly help sully a president's image. Lyndon Johnson, for example, was one of the most powerful presidents of modern times, both in his understanding of the power of the office and his willingness to use that power. Yet he stood powerless against the campaign waged against him by intellectuals, most of whom probably belonged to his own party. And Johnson recognized his impotence on this front. As the Nation put it at the time, "Johnson was not oblivious to the fact that widespread antagonism among thoughtful citizens can be unhealthy for any President." As Johnson and later Nixon learned, this unhealthiness can prove politically fatal.
As a result of these pressures, presidents look to intellectuals to help define their presidency. Presidents do this by paying attention at some level to what intellectuals are doing and by addressing intellectuals and intellectual developments in some fashion. The approach they take can vary, especially between Democrats and Republicans, but they must address the issue. If presidents are the lions of American politics, intellectuals are the mice. While the lions can smite the mice, the mice have the potential to remove -- or insert -- the thorn in the lion's paw.
-- Tevi D. Troy in "Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians"
About Tevi D. Troy
In key leadership roles in the executive and legislative branches, Tevi has contributed much on the issues of health information technology, public health and childhood obesity, food and drug safety, welfare, and family and community services. His strong domestic policy skills, academic background, history of accomplishments, and enthusiasm all combine to make him a tremendous addition to the HHS leadership team. I am delighted to welcome Tevi to the Department and look forward to working closely with him." -- Statement by Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, On the Swearing In of Tevi Troy as HHS Deputy Secretary, August 7, 2007
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