A lot of people these days are worrying about America's politics becoming "dynastic." I understand that, but John Podhoretz's riff on the subject in today's New York Post is an utter crock.
Podhoretz says that Jeb Bush would be an ideal GOP presidential candidate in 2008 -- yet he can't possibly win, except under one condition:
With a candidate named Bush running against a Democrat whose name was anything other than Clinton, Democrats would be able to win almost solely on the grounds that America shouldn't be a hereditary monarchy. But with a candidate named Clinton, Democrats would lose that issue against Jeb Bush.
The weirdest part of the whole Jeb scenario is that the only way he could get a fair hearing from the American people in 2008 would be if he were the one to face Hillary Clinton.
Oh, please. If Jeb gets the nomination in 2008 and runs against, say, Edwards or Clark, he won't suffer because he's a Bush -- hell, if the past is any indication, he could run against Barack Obama and the right-wing noise machine would find a way to make Obama look like the candidate of entrenched elites, while Jeb struts around in blue jeans as the champion of jes' folks. And Tim Russert and Chris Matthews and David Brooks and Mickey Kaus will tell us that's an accurate portrayal of the two candidates. Don't believe me? Ask a certain son of Greek immigrants about the campaign run a few cycles ago by Jeb's father.
On the other hand, I suspect the "hereditary monarchy" line will be used effectively against Hillary no matter what. Never mind the fact that she's a daughter of the middle class and went through school as a braniac meritocrat -- and then became the girlfriend and wife of another meritocrat, someone who was the purest of bootstrappers. The chatterers will wring their hands.
I understand the squeamishness about "dynasties." I'm not wild about them myself. (As an Italian-American, I'm still wondering when the hell we're going to elect a president whose forbears aren't British or Dutch.) But the fact is, we like dynasties -- all over the country we vote for them. We vote for Tafts in Ohio, the Landons in Kansas, Rockefellers and Kennedys (and Bushes) everywhere you look. Tennessee has Fords; Pennsylvania has Caseys; Indiana has Bayhs and Alaska has Murkowskis. Mitt Romney's the Utah son of a Michigan governor who's the governor of Massachusetts. I don't know why we're not smart enough to reject a new guy who has the same name as the old guy we liked, but we just aren't. So if we suddenly decide this is unacceptable in '08 because Hillary's on the Democratic ticket, that'll mean we're playing by the Clinton Rules again, denouncing something that's always been done simply because a Clinton is doing it.
Meanwhile, here it comes....
Elder Bush would like son Jeb to run for president
George Bush, the president's father, would like to see another Bush in the White House someday, saying on Tuesday that he would want his son Jeb to run for president when the timing is right....
In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," former President Bush said he would want Jeb to run for president "someday," but now was not the time.
"The timing's wrong. The main thing is, he doesn't want to do it. Nobody believes that," Bush said.
But he and wife Barbara both said they believed Jeb, 52, did not want to run in the next presidential race....
Well, bring it on Jeb. Or don't bring it on. I don't really care -- I worry about Republicans, not dynasties.