In 2009 the betting is that America will see the son of a former president replaced by the wife of another former president. If Hillary Clinton is then re-elected in 2012, the world's greatest democracy will have been ruled by either a Bush or a Clinton for 28 years straight. And why should things end there? Michael Barone, author and pundit, points out that George P. Bush, the current president's nephew, will be eligible to run for the presidency in 2012, Chelsea Clinton will be eligible in 2016 and Jeb Bush will remain a viable candidate until 2024. . . . The dynastification of American political life is weakening America's claim to be a democratic beacon. These days political dynasties are usually associated with the young democracies of South Asia rather than mature republics. The dynastification of its political life also points to a deeper problem: the fact that America is producing a quasi-hereditary political elite, cocooned in a world of wealth and privilege and utterly divorced from most people's lives.
Plus, as political dynasties go, the Bushes and Clintons seem pretty second-tier, anyway -- but then, so is our entire political class these days. I also agree with Professor Bainbridge:
Perhaps it really is time to rethink how we select political leaders, so as to get back to the old model of citizen-legislators. Term limits, anyone?
Perhaps it is.
UPDATE: Reader Ben Borwick emails: "Almost all polls show Hillary losing to Giuliani so why perpetuate this
hype?" But will the Republicans be smart enough to run Rudy? Meanwhile, Professor Bainbridge writes: "Between Clinton and Bush 43 we've been ruled by Southerners for the last 4 presidential terms and Barnett wants to foist yet another good ol' boy on us. Not that there's anything wrong with Southerners, per se, of course. But maybe it's time to let a Yankee city boy have a chance?" I'm not sure where Hillary's faux-southern accent fits into this analysis.