Bush, Clinton Families Treat US Presidency as Family Heirloom

In today’s Financial Times, our old friend Grover Norquist complains about the “dynastic disease” in American politics.

“We are about to hold a presidential election,” he writes, “that may extend a sequence that gives the land of the free four years of George H.W. Bush, eight years of William Clinton, eight years of George W. Bush, son of, and the start of eight years of Hillary Clinton, wife of.”

Grover notes that America was set up as a country without an aristocracy. No inherited titles. No king. No purple robes.

But now there is a “creeping tendency to see elected office as a family heirloom”. Not just in the White House, but in Congress too. Grover cites dozens of examples. Some are very familiar. Certain families have national brand names that prove useful to gullible voters – Kennedys, Bushes, Gores. Most are just local brands like the Dingells of Michigan. And sometimes the desire to keep a political post in the family reaches comic levels. When Senator Mel Carnahan died just before an election, somehow his widow won the race – and she wasn’t even on the ballot.

But Grover is no medical man. He is wrong about the ‘disease.’ It’s not a disease at all. It’s merely politics in its natural, unhealthy condition. If the idea of democracy is that voters put their heads together and select the most worthy candidate, the whole thing is a fraud. Just look at Congress. What voters really do is select the fellow with the best haircut, the best line of guff, or the smoothest fundraising machinery. And it helps to have name recognition. That’s how popular actors – such as Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger – were able to break into the business. People do not really select the best man for the job; they have no way of knowing what the job is or who would be best for it. Instead, they buy their candidates like bath soap…based on the jingle that most appeals to them. And that’s why a hereditary monarch is actually better than an elected president. Monarchs are born to rule, rather than elected to it; that is, they are chosen by chance rather than by fraud.

Bill Bonner
Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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5 Comments on "Bush, Clinton Families Treat US Presidency as Family Heirloom"

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Why not? Its just like playing cards with a trump.

A Clinton seems to be an excellent trump card for a Bush, where a Bush then becomes an excellent Trump card for a Clinton.

Rinse and repeat!


I am sick and tired of criticism of U.S. Presidential system. Voters in the U.S. have the best congressmen/women, senators and Presidents that money can buy……

Shame on you, to suggest that a hereditary monarch is better than leaders who we can vote out is just a tad superficial. Yes actors are going to be good fronts for parties. How does society assess the performance of the party? Is the media free? Are there too few media groups? In a free country is it permissable for a wife of a former president to run? Discussions about so called independence issues are irrelevant as the presidents are becoming mouthpieces for party policies. Of course Bush has taken this too far. He seems insensitive to global and domestic… Read more »
Zeke Putnam

Couldn’t agree more. For a long time, I’ve felt we never left our feudal heritage. Most of us blindly follow authority believing everything we’re told (complaining all the time of course) or we’re blindly fighting it. But in no case, do we want to think about what we are doing.

Jared USA
“But Bush can be voted out, but not if he is a King.” He WAS voted out by one of the best of the American Nobility, Al Gore. He would have made things slightly better for a while, but is that the best that we have to offer? The lesser of two evils? The American propoganda machine tells us this country was founded by ordinary men who fought for what they believed in and made a country of their own. But the sad truth is that they were rich, powerful, connected men that designed a Romanesque empire under the guise… Read more »
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