Political dynasties (Romney, Bush, Kennedy) betray basic American values
Families like the Kennedys, Bushes, and Romneys will likely ever seek political power – and the public may well respond with a certain star-struck awe. But hereditary ambition and home-grown royalty run counter to the American Revolution premise ‘that all men are created equal.
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Even after the Kennedys suffered two assassinations, the family’s ambition continued to soar. Brother Edward tried (and failed) to unseat his party’s president, Democrat Jimmy Carter. So strong was the family’s belief that the White House belonged to them, that a defeated Teddy petulantly refused to shake hands with President Carter at the 1980 Democratic convention.Skip to next paragraph
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The youngest Kennedy brother never made it to the Oval Office, but he helped Barack Obama get there, acting as kingmaker along with his niece Caroline, as they pointedly favored Mr. Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton (from a would-be dynasty).
This practice of hereditary ambition and home-grown royalty betrays a basic premise of the American Revolution, “that all men are created equal.”
The Europeans spent centuries, sometimes knee-deep in blood, eliminating czars and kings.
Yet in the past 50 years in America, we have had to ride out allegations of rape, manslaughter, drug abuse, infidelity, and drunkenness in our “royal families,” overlooking all this on the medieval assumption that those with better bloodlines are somehow beyond reproach or the law.
And, like kings of old, today’s royals seek to maintain position and power by plying supporters, friends, and family with gifts, whether they be tax breaks or cabinet posts. At their peril, they forget that stability in any kingdom involved a delicate balance between the crown and nobility, and the people.
The republic could again use the same disdain for pretense employed by an earlier patriot who once said he wished that “wadding of the cannon fired to salute President [John] Adams would hit him in the seat of the pants.”
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The progeny of political families will likely ever seek political power – and the public may well respond with a certain star-struck awe and hope for favorable treatment. But in this country, we ought to judge a candidate on merit. That’s what we were raised on.
Walter Rodgers is a former senior international correspondent for CNN.