May 06, 2005

Political Legacies

I know everybody likes faces and names they've seen before. That's why sequels are commercially viable, why celebrity marriages so popular and why political families so common. Plus, pundits and reporters are lazy. It's a lot easier to look at the brother, daughter or wife of an existing politician than to go casting about in state legislatures and city councils for promising candidates of the future.

They have the name and face you recognize, politics you're familiar with, and they remind you of how much you liked the original politician. After all, Bobby and Teddy just remind people of Jackie and got significant political clout right off of that. After all, Bobby's initial claim to fame was being Attorney General... when his brother appointed him. And Teddy is a Senator... who took his brother's seat when he left for the White House.

By the same token, the current President started from under the wing of his father. He has a unique political brand more akin to Reagan than to his father, but George W. would likely not have been famous enough to become Governor of Texas and then POTUS if not for his father. JEB also got his initial start from his Dad's fame, too. Both men have become unique and independent politicians in their own right, and I would say probably better politicians than George H. W.

Hillary also took her shine from her husband's fame. Maybe she would have tried to become a politician anyway, and certainly she's both unique and now independent, but she got her fame from her conenction to Bill.

I just have to say I'm really tired of all this. Political dynasties always struck me as arbitrary and this is only slightly less arbitrary. Dynasties not from breeding or divine mandate but from a lazy press that likes what it's seen already. It's not going to change and it's not like it's some huge problem. After all, they're still clearly bending to checks and balances, to elections, to transfer of power, etc. I'm not saying this is going to become an aristocracy, I'm just saying I get the opposite reaction these legacies.

They're kind of boring. I like to spread around the political gene pool. If in 20 years the press are still feeding us stories about Chelsea Clinton or George P. Bush running for Congress I'll be annoyed. I don't expect it to change and I don't think it's a huge problem, but man it's annoying how lazy people can be.


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