No more dynasties
It's not too often you read an article on Clintons and Bushes without partisan snark or bias, especially in the LA Times. James Burkee, true to the middle, is critical of further explorations of Clinton and Bush power in (over) Washington. In his article Anybody but a Bush or Clinton (which is currently being linked to by both right and left wing blogs), he outlines the absurdity of what may await:
But if (Hillary) secures the Democratic nomination, wins and serves two terms, by 2017 the United States will have been governed by either a Bush or a Clinton for 28 years. That's three decades governed not just by the same two families but much of the same supporting staff.
And it might not end there. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, encouraged by Republican leaders and the current president (who said, "I would like to see Jeb run at some point"), has not ruled out a White House bid or a vice presidential slot on the ticket in 2012 or 2016.
If Washington's caustic, partisan atmosphere is to change, the era of Bushes and Clintons needs to end in 2008.
Not only is this phenomenon increasing the divide between the Republicans and Democrats, and consequently the political culture of the nation, it also makes the United States look medieval. All that American talent and enterprise and the best the Beltway can produce are families comprised of either self-serving con artists or ineffectual frat boys. Burkee notes the weak political capital dynasty presidents are likely to bring to power and observes:
Pundits compare 2006 to the late Nixon years, with a country disillusioned by war and a deep distrust of its political leadership. In one of his last interviews, former President Ford lamented the "extreme partisanship that exists in the nation's capital today," suggesting that partisanship is even worse than in the post-Watergate era he inherited.
The nation needs today, as it got in Ford then, a president respected by both Republicans and Democrats who can restore trust in politics. It needs new faces and new ideas if it is to confront advancing crises of war, debt and entitlement reform. And it needs a president who can assume office in 2009 swimming in the political capital that only a mandate can bring. The nation needs a candidate who can win 55% or more.
And that will not happen with a Bush or Clinton on the ballot.
I would also add that we should think of the children, the children of the future that is. Children in history classes decades or centuries from now will have an impossible time trying to sort out which Bush or which Clinton was responsible for what, especially when it comes to issues like military intervention in Iraq or Afghanistan.