Where to begin? Is it a news flash that either party has legacies?
Charles Mahtesian: Nepotism Nation: Democrats Embrace Dynasty Politics
Barack Obama's path to the presidency included beating what had been one of the nation's most powerful families. But, in an unusual twist, his election last month is helping accelerate the trend toward dynasty politics.That's right. Barack opened the floodgates to a giant wave of Nepotism. Is this author serious?
His secretary of state will be Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president. The Senate seat she’ll vacate is being pursued by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of a president and the niece of two senators. Joe Biden’s Senate seat may go to his son Beau. Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama’s pick for interior secretary, could end up being replaced by his brother, Rep. John Salazar.
The U.S. Senate could end up looking like an American version of the House of Lords – and Republicans have begun to take notice.There was once a senator named Paul Wellstone who made that point over 10 years ago. And he was a Democrat.
“Democrats seem to lack a common man who can just win a good, old-fashioned election,” said Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.You mean a non-legacy who can work hard and win big? I might know a guy.
While Obama’s election and subsequent Cabinet appointments may have accelerated the trend toward dynasty, he’s hardly responsible for it. There is a rich bipartisan history of dynasty in American politics that dates all the way back to the Founding Fathers; Obama-Biden actually represents the first winning ticket since 1976 without a son or a grandson of a U.S. senator on it.Oh, so midway through the article, Mr. Mahtesian puts things in perspective. It weakens his argument, but I'm sure it must be central to his point.
Almost everyone agrees that the high cost of elections is making the world’s most exclusive club seem even more exclusive. According to some estimates, the cost of winning Clinton’s New York Senate seat in the special election in 2010 and the general election in 2012 will be in the neighborhood of $70 million.Again, Paul Wellstone made speeches about this very issue, and he taught me and many others that the Senate is a millionaires-only club, for better or worse. Paul Wellstone and Ted Kennedy taught me more about the workings of the Senate than anyone else in my lifetime.
“There are three issues behind this trend,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause and a former Pennsylvania congressman. “Money is issue number one, money is issue number two and money is issue number three.”
“It’s an enormously expensive process to run for the United States Senate,” added Edgar, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1986. “And once someone [wins] a Senate seat, there is a sense of ownership.”
And before we declare this to be a new era of nepotism and legacies because Sweet Caroline wants her late uncle's NY Senate seat, let's pause and acknowledge that there are many smart Democrats who are against her appointment.