Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
Dynastic Politics, or why I won't vote for HillaryIn keeping with the tradition, set by the first lone pamphleteers who dealt with the issue of monarchical political schemes, I say enough of Dynastic Politics. Who'd have thought that today, 231 years after the fall of monarchy in the U.S., we'd still be faced with the possibility of having a family member "inherit" the position of leader of the free world.
Consider our current embarrassment, President Bush. Not only is he the son of a former president, he is the great-great grandson of former President Pierce, on his mother's side. I'd heard this on the Robert Wuhl's Assume the Position 201. I went to Wikipedia to confirm it (there is a reliable source cited there), and was astounded. President Dubya is also related to Pierce on his father's side, and is the cousin of thirteen other presidents by various genealogical lines. I know. I know. We're all related to Charlemagne, but thirteen? (Fillmore, Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Coolidge, Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Nixon, and Ford.) We're only on number 43, and I can safely say that Bush is also related to himself, though such a tautology might make his head implode. To put it in terms he'd understand, it's like he's his own grandpa.
(Extra-credit Lesson: Research the physical and societal effects of inbreeding among the great royal houses of Europe or Egypt after centuries of consanguineous marriage.)
This interrelation among the presidency is astonishing. I suppose it shouldn't be -- it's no secret that the politics of the so-called most-advanced nation are controlled by select, often secretive, segments of society (I'm specifically thinking of Skull-and-Bones here, having just seen The Good Shepherd, and recalling that both Kerry and Bush are reputedly members.)
Perhaps more obvious and certainly more topical, Hillary Clinton plans to become the world's next Isabel Peron. I have to say, she is less impressive every day. I think of all the candidates, she's been hurt the worst by the long lead on politicking for '08. Mostly I'm astonished how often she's gotten away with alluding to (if not outright claiming) "White House" experience. On CNN recently, she said "You're there in the oval office, having to make these tough decisions. I believe I am better prepared, and ready."
Ok, how does 6 years as a Senator prepare her for the White House? She cannot claim White House experience now anymore than she could actively participate in the Health Care reforms she tried to lead as First Lady. Am I the only one who recalls that in 1993, some health-care reform meetings were arranged, and it was either journalists or health care lobbyists -- the details are vague -- who wanted to be present at the meetings. The organizers said no, they were open to government employees only. Then the Secret Service had to escort out First-lady Hillary out of the meetings when the press pointed out she wasn't a government employee or representative--taking her elbow while explaining, perhaps, that her title was honorary.
And aren't first ladies supposed to use their honorary pulpit to promote charitable efforts, not policy? I've no memory of her taking on a particular charity, as Barbara Bush took on literacy, or Laura Bush took on the annual book festival. These events stand out in my mind as recognizably as Betty Ford's efforts to promote a sober attitude, or Jackie Kennedy's remodel of the White House. (Hillary did make a fashionable Christmas every year, and I'll gladly give her credit for the dozens of dead trees.)
She's no more ready, from what I've heard, to be in the White House now than she was then. Moreover, she cannot claim that watching her husband work the system qualifies for a spot on her resume any more than me cooking for Jon gives me credence as a mathematician, or Jon killing some wasps makes him an exterminator. Chris Dodd agrees that she's counting non-experience.
Most eloquent on the subject of dynastic politics and Hillary's lack of direct experience is the article by Patrick Healy of the NY Times. As Healy states, Hillary "casts herself... as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her 'eight years with a front-row seat on history'." This intriguing positioning places her next to her husband during his presidency, implies she was his unofficial advisor -- that is, when she wasn't too busy trying to "keep the dog on the porch."
What concerns me most is not that she perhaps was trying to be Eleanor Roosevelt during the (Bubba) Clinton years, rather that he might become Kirchner ruling through his wife Christina (Argentina). This tactic is also common among the PG County (Maryland) Hendershots; Mrs. ran for Mr.'s seat last year, but lost. Thank goodness.
I suppose for me it continuously circles back to the dynastic problem as posed by the original lone pamphleteer:
"When we survey the wretched condition of man, under the monarchical and hereditary systems of Government, dragged from his home by one power, or driven by another, and impoverished by taxes more than by enemies, it becomes evident that those systems are bad, and that a general revolution in the principle and construction of Governments is necessary." [Thomas Paine]
So no, I won't vote for the hereditary regime. Neither will I blindly vote for "the other guy."
I will vote for Barrack, because he strikes me as a sane, brilliant, committed, industrious, caring, worldly, fair-minded statesman. He's the type of politician who can be revolutionary from within the strictures set up by Paine and his allies. Certainly, he can rally the people.
But if Hillary somehow overcomes her own foibles through crocodile tears and wins the Democratic nomination, I for one will vote my conscience. Now, who are the independent candidates...?
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