DEMOCRACY BY PRIMOGENITURE
Our president, George Dumbya Bush, is the son of a previous president, George Humbert Humbert Bush. I would bet my house that if a person with the same life experiences and skills had run for president in 2000 -- from any party -- he would never have raised enough money to get enough signatures to get on any of the primary ballots. But because Daddy Bush had been president, he gets to make Sonny Bush president, too. And you can bet that Jeb Bush is in line in 2008.
This comes to mind today because I read how Connie Mack IV is moving to Florida to run for the same House seat his father, Sen. Connie Mack III, used to possess.
Not that the Democrats are any better. There are Kennedys (Jack, Bobby, Ted, Bobby Jr., Sargent Shriver, and now the Arnold-in-law, who seems to have taken up the family avocations, politics and pawing women), of course. Hubert Humphrey's son went into the family business. There are the Longs. And then the cross-party politicos, the Roosevelts (Teddy and Franklin) and the Rockefellers (Nelson and Jay).
While this phenomenon isn't unique to politics -- leaving the family business to the offspring dates back to when the first hunter-gatherer left his favorite sharp stone to his eldest -- it's particularly loathesome in the United States where we took up arms against our blood brethren (and their paid mercenaries) in order to keep away from monarchy.
Do I believe we should be able to elect anybody we choose? Absolutely. I don't believe the 22nd Amendment should have been enacted. As opposed to his presidency as I was, if the American public wanted to vote a third term to Ronald Reagan in 1988, I would have had no problem with the results of the election. (I would have campaigned vigorously against him, but I wouldn't object to a three-, four-, five-, or even six-term president.)
But why do we believe that, with 280 million bright, creative, and caring Americans, we have to limit ourselves to the love-juice dribblings of people we've already elected? Ask yourselves this: Was George W. Bush any better prepared for the presidency just because his father was able to keep Dumbya out of the county lockup during his wilder days? Is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. a better Congressman because his uncle was president? Aren't there better qualified people in Texas and Rhode Island? I say yes, there are -- even in Texas, where it takes a while longer to find the bright folks.
I would much prefer to do away with the 22nd Amendment and substitute for it one that prohibits the direct descendants of presidents and Congressmen from running for those offices. Is it a little bit unfair? Maybe. But I think we'd wind up with a better group of representatives, and perhaps even a group of representatives less bound by old-family debts and promises than the current batch.
Let's not even talk about actors and football players.