Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Dynasties Continue...Chelsea in 2016?

[Just my opinion, JUMP]

The ascendancy of dynasties as a feature of US presidential politics has been confirmed with reports on the first quarter fundraising efforts of major candidates for President.

That's an even bigger story, to my mind, than the sheer enormity of several campaigns' treasure chests.

The Clinton machine, intent on electing a second Clinton in sixteen years, raised $26-million in the quarter just past.

Meanwhile, the Bush machine, bowing to the fact that Jeb Bush can't succeed his brother to the Oval Office in the face of an unpopular war, is siding with another old Republican monied dynasty, the Romneys and their allies. Bush allies have fattened the presidential coffers of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in his bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. The Romney campaign raised $21-million in the same first quarter.

Clinton and Romney acquired that kind of money in spite of the fact that neither have much elective political experience--she's just begun her second term in the US Senate and he spent all of one term as governor.

Fund raising efforts for the 2008 campaign thus far confirm fears that the presidential contest may provide voters little opportunity to elect someone with new ideas. Instead, the election is likely to pit two dynastic families or their functionaries, people accustomed to wielding power, in a sort of War of the Roses. Clinton and Romney are different packaging for old brand names.

Increasingly, US politics at every level sees certain families with money and connections dominating government. It's a phenomenon that exists in both parties. Last year, for example, there were about ten races for the US House that pitted the children of former members of Congress against one another.

So, irrespective of how things turn out in 2008, you might want to start getting ready for 2016, when Chelsea Clinton, who turns 36 that year, will likely run against Jeb Bush, by then the beneficiary of Bush nostalgia, in another contest involving America's presidential royalty.

[Cross-posted at RedBlueChristian.com.]

[UPDATE: Per Mark Olson, in the comments below, I checked out Hugh Hewitt's explanations for Mitt Romney's first quarter success in campaign fund raising.]


Icepick said...

I doubt there will be any Bush nostalgia in 2016! Even if things turn out well in the Middle East, he'll never get any credit for it.

It's a shame about Jeb in this sense: I believe he would have made a much better President than his brother has been. He was an excellent governor through some trying times down here. If his last name wasn't Bush, he'd be getting lionized as one of our greatest governors.

Icepick said...

One other thing: the seemingly increasing level of political dynastic power reminds me of the later days of the Roman Republic. So, who's going to play the part of marius, and who will be Sulla?

merjoem32 said...

I live in a country where political dynasties are common so I know how bad they can be. Anyway, I think that it's a shame that money is the most significant factor in winning an election. I hope that money will not rule the result of the 2008 presidential race.

Mark said...


Hugh Hewitt has a different explanation for Romney's success at fundraising.

Mark Daniels said...

ice, merjoem, and Mark:
Of course, we have always had important political families in this country: the Adamses, the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, and the Tafts are among them.

But this dynastic tendency has seemed to become more pronounced in recent decades. I think that it also has more to do with the Roman or Flipino examples cited in your comments here. While he admittedly writes in a heavy-handed way, former Republican thinker Keven Phillips presents a withering portrait of the Bush family's political activities in 'Dynasty.'

Ice, your assessment of Jeb Bush is one shared by many people, I think. You may be right that Bush nostalgia may not exist in 2016. It clearly played a role in the election of George W. Bush in 2000, though.

Mark, I'm unable to get to the post you reference via your link. I will go to Hugh's site to look for it, though.

Thanks for your comments.