My apologies to the admirable Adams Family (John, John Quincy, etcetera), but there is something in me that strongly rebels against the habit of governmental power passing from father to son (and to son and to son), even via elective means. It’s not that sons of powerful fathers should be excluded from power (or, rather, not that voters should be denied the opportunity to choose the sons of famous fathers), but this is to say that the political classes so often promote from within that the public is sometimes presented with a system that seems to favor dynastic legacies.
The problem now is acute, or at least the circumstantial evidence seems to support an interpretation that lends legitimacy to complaints about the perceived problem.
Witness today’s endorsement of Mitt Romney by George H.W. Bush, thus adding his weight to that of son Jeb and (if I remember correctly) the clear indications of wife Barbara.
What we have is the son of a senator (and scion of a long line of powerful Bushes and Walkers), who became president, along with his son, who became governor of one of the nation’s most populous states (and whose brother also became president) endorsing for president the son of a man who was governor of another big state and who once was the perceived front-runner for president.
You had Bush the father trying to outdo HIS senator father by becoming president, and Bush the son who tried to outdo his president father by becoming a re-elected president. (Both succeeded.) Now you have Mitt Romney trying to outdo his father, who failed at a presidential run, by becoming president.
Last election saw the son and grandson of Navy admirals seeking to outdo his forebears by becoming president. On the Democratic side, in 2000 we saw the vice-president son (Al Gore) of a senator (the elder Al Gore) who vied to be at least vice-president and dreamed of the presidency come within some 500 votes of defeating the son of president/grandson of a senator in order to become president.
In the Senate (recent past and present), Evan Bayh followed Birch Bayh. Mark Pryor followed David Pryor. Mary Landrieu followed former mayor and Cabinet member Moon Landrieu. Lisa Murkowski followed Frank Murkowski. Mark Begich followed House Member Nick Begich. Robert Casey Jr. followed Governor Robert Casey Sr. Rand Paul, Mark Udall, and Tom Udall are dynastic legatees. Connie Mack the umpteenth is trying to become one. And then, of course, there are the Tafts, the Kennedies, and the Roosevelts: Not even Joan Collins did dynasties like they did.
Again, all of these people won election fair and square. But does all of this give anybody else the creeps? Or is it just me?