The Danger of Political Dynasties; Leadership Should Be Rooted in Merit, Not Name

By Dean, Warren L., Jr. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Danger of Political Dynasties; Leadership Should Be Rooted in Merit, Not Name


Dean, Warren L., Jr., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: Warren L. Dean Jr., SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In countries such as North Korea and Syria, families take control of the reins of power and pass them from one generation to the next. The consequences are obvious, and their systems are exceptions to the natural laws embraced by free people everywhere.

Our government is a republican system, where voters in a democratic process choose the most qualified among us to confront a dangerous world and preserve the values and liberties we cherish. For that reason, the prospect of choosing yet another Clinton or another Bush to lead us makes one wonder whether there is something terribly wrong here. It is certainly not what the Founders of our great experiment had in mind.

Among the principles dear to the Founders of our republic in the late 18th century was their desire to avoid the creation of an oligarchy and its abuses, like the tyranny of King George III. Even the natural reverence accorded our first president, George Washington, by the general public generated criticism that he might assume the trappings of a monarch. England and the rest of pre-revolutionary Europe were regarded as being ruled by arrogant, incompetent aristocracies, whose principal qualification was their lineage. America's new constitutional charter, while not purely democratic, certainly was intended to be meritocratic in both substance and appearance.

Times have changed. The first-born son of former President George H.W. Bush was chosen with the support of his father's friends. What followed was that the nation was committed - rightly or wrongly - in pursuit of a foreign adventure that was the direct successor to his father's. The second George even sought and relied upon the advice of the advisers of the first George. At the end of his second term, the second George suggested publicly that his brother should succeed him as president. Good thing his name isn't George the Third.

On the other side of the partisan divide, the leading candidate to replace the second George as president in 2008 was none other than the spouse of President Clinton, who ran against and defeated the first George. That did not happen when Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama. Nonetheless, there always seems to be second chances when it comes to the entitlements of the elite, and the return of the Clintons, like the return of the Bushes, remains a possibility. A thirty-something future candidate, Chelsea Clinton, makes news by expounding on the ethos and competencies of elected officials. …

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