Meredith C. Carroll: Looking for some Aspen Institutional knowledge |

Meredith C. Carroll: Looking for some Aspen Institutional knowledge

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off

Even though he’s not due to officially leave his post as president and CEO of the Aspen Institute until the end of the year, Walter Isaacson made his final public appearance last week at an event in Paepcke Auditorium. Isaacson, 65, has been widely praised for broadening the scope and eminence of the renowned think tank over the past 14 years, including through the establishment of the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, a public program division, and transforming the Henry Crown Program into “a global leaders’ network of more than 2,200 fellows from 50 countries,” according to an email sent to Institute staffers upon the announcement of his resignation.

Speculation about Isaacson’s successor is reaching a fever pitch as the Institute’s busy summer season winds down. His shoes will be tough ones to fill, even if a highly confidential memo from the Institute’s search committee that was recently leaked to Muck Off shows a substantial attempt is being made to match Isaacson’s star power.

The top replacement candidates, along with notes from the committee, include:

Hillary Clinton

She admitted to the committee that the breadth of Aspen’s woods in which she could wander makes the position that much more attractive.

Madeline Albright

Wait, is she not already in charge here?

Barack Obama

We tried gauging his interest but couldn’t hear him over the steelpans, clinking ice cubes and roar of the yacht engines.

Michelle Obama

Sigh. We wish.

Tina Fey

Sigh. We wish.

Bill O’Reilly

Who? Oh, yeah. Right. He wishes.

John Oliver

Yes, please. *Wipes away drool*

David Letterman

That beard though.

O.J. Simpson

After he’s released from prison in October, the former Heisman Trophy winner will have plenty of time to tackle the job — when he’s not out looking for the real killer, that is.

Sean Spicer


Anthony Scaramucci


Melania Trump

It was tough to understand her since she was whispering on a burner phone with poor reception, but it sounded like she’s asking for a way — any way — to get her and Barron out of the White House. (Note to our travel staff and/or the United States Federal Witness Protection Program: Melania has also asked if we can help secure them new names, Social Security numbers and passports.)

Donald Trump

Anything to get him out of the White House.

Jared Kushner

Anything to get him out of the White House.

Ivanka Trump

Anything to get her out of the White House.

Kid Rock

Anything to keep him out of the Senate.

The Rock

Anything to thwart a “Baywatch” sequel.

Bert Myrin

Anything to get him off of Aspen City Council.

Dwayne Romero

This may be the only remaining position — anywhere — to which he has yet to be appointed.

Bob Braudis

Because it never got weird enough for us.

DJ Naka G

Have we checked on his availability for next year’s Ideas Festival? Asking for a friend. (OK, asking for Institute trustees Mercedes Bass, Katie Couric and Henry Louis Gates Jr.)


After all, she does run the world.

Taylor Swift

Beyoncé/Swift in 2020.

Ryan Seacrest

His logical next career move. #TheNextIdol

Chuck Norris

We can’t go wrong with a man who counted to infinity. Twice.

George W. Bush

If you’d mentioned his name 281 days ago, we would have laughed. Now the joke is just how much our view of him — and pretty much everything else — has changed since then.

Sarah Palin


Gwyneth Paltrow

Anything we can do she can do better. Just ask her.

Prince Philip

His schedule is rumored to have opened up quite a bit recently.

Tom Hanks

If he acts it, it will come.

Steve Bannon

He put out feelers to our search committee (who then had to shower with steel wool afterward — twice). Of course we’d shut down the Institute before ever letting him near it. On second thought, we might consider letting him clean the campus port-o-potties since his conscience and hands are already beyond filthy.

Ken Frazier

Isaacson will be a tough act to follow, although another person who also has integrity made of steel could be an inspired choice.

Brian Williams

Speaking of integrity, the former NBC Nightly News anchor explained to the committee in his interview that his current role as president of the Brookings Institution, coupled with the fact that he was the fifth Beatle, not to mention a seven-time Tour de France champion, should sufficiently distinguish him from the other candidates.

Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at