Dems Embrace Dynasty Politics, Charles Mahtesian, Politico.com, December 17, 2008.
Barack Obama's path to the presidency included beating what had been one of the nation's most powerful families. But, in an unusual twist, his election last month is helping accelerate the trend toward dynasty politics.
His secretary of state will be Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president. The Senate seat she’ll vacate is being pursued by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of a president and the niece of two senators. Joe Biden’s Senate seat may go to his son Beau. Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama’s pick for interior secretary, could end up being replaced by his brother, Rep. John Salazar.
And Obama’s own seat could go to the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. – less likely now in light of developments in the Rod Blagojevich scandal – or to the daughter of Illinois’ current House speaker. The U.S. Senate could end up looking like an American version of the House of Lords – and Republicans have begun to take notice.
“Democrats seem to lack a common man who can just win a good, old-fashioned election,” said Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “They’ve got seat-warmers, seat-sellers and the making of pillows for the seats of royalty. No wonder the public wonders what’s going on in Washington.”
While Obama’s election and subsequent Cabinet appointments may have accelerated the trend toward dynasty, he’s hardly responsible for it. There is a rich bipartisan history of dynasty in American politics that dates all the way back to the Founding Fathers; Obama-Biden actually represents the first winning ticket since 1976 without a son or a grandson of a U.S. senator on it.
In 2008, the storied Udall clan, sometimes referred to as the Western Kennedys, saw two members elected to the Senate— Mark from Colorado and Tom from New Mexico. In 2010, they could be joined in the Senate by Florida’s Jeb Bush, the son and brother of presidents and the grandson of a senator. All told, it’s entirely possible that the Senate will be comprised of nearly a dozen congressional offspring by the end of Obama’s first term as president.
Text Source: Politico.com
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