By Michael R. Shannon
The most frightening observation in connection with the Donald Trump presidential campaign came during a call to the Rush Limbaugh Show. Barely able to contain his excitement, the caller breathlessly proclaimed that after the RNC convention speeches by the Trump children, "We are seeing the birth of a new political dynasty!"
So far that's the only valid reason I've heard to vote against Trump.
Nipping political dynasties in the bud should be one of the top priorities of constitutional conservatives. Passing political office from one glad–handing relative to another is a recipe for national decline. It's a short, wobbly step from talking about "Camelot" to gushing over Ted Kennedy; "The Hero of Chappaquiddick" or "The Lush of the Senate." Take your choice.
It's bad enough when states become fiefdoms of some dynasty. Think of the Byrds in Virginia, the Longs in Louisiana and the La Folletes in Wisconsin. If you get tired of the cornpone conspiracy in Mississippi you can always move to Oklahoma. National dynasties are inescapable, unless you want to join Susan Sarandon in Canada.
Governing Magazine has the genuinely horrifying news that "…a professor at the University of Southwestern Louisiana estimated that one-fourth of state and parish officials had another relative in office. In a 2010 analysis of Congress, Harvard University's Brian Feinstein concluded that 12 percent of U.S. House candidates from 1994 to 2006 were members of a political dynasty."
You'll know you've fallen into dynasty thinking when you refer to "Joe Biden's Senate seat" or "Eric Cantor's House seat." When it's not their seat at all, it belongs to the voters, God help them.
I agree wholeheartedly with the statement Barbara Bush made on The Today Show. When one of the hairdos asked her what she thought of presidential rumors (at that time) surrounding Jeb she stated emphatically, "There are a lot of great families, and it's not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we've had enough Bushes."
Quite. We've had enough Bushes, Kennedys and Clintons.
When the electorate of a formerly fiercely independent republic starts selecting its leaders from hereditary political dynasties it's a strong indicator of national decline. Sharing a famous name doesn't grant any particular political or leadership ability — although it may give one a leg up when applying for a job at select presidential libraries.
Can you imagine Billy Carter in office or Roger Clinton?
Yet lemming Democrats chose Hillary Clinton as their nominee for president.
The choice would have been unthinkable if her name was still Hillary Rodham. Compared to Hill without Bill, former Gov. Martin O'Malley is a paragon of political accomplishment, fully qualified for the Democrat nomination.
I will give her credit, Hillary Clinton is the only woman in America who could turn a trial separation into a New York Senate seat and then use that as a convenient stepping–stone to a presidential nomination.
Hillary's the nation's fierce feminist role model, yet you couldn't peel her fingers off Bill's coattails with a pair of Vice–Grip pliers.
The Democrat elite joins the political class in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in making heredity the prime component in selecting the next leader.
Political dynasties on a national scale are a recent development. No one to my knowledge was agitating for Eleanor to make a run after FDR died. It took television, Democrat media and Jack Kennedy to validate heredity as a selection criterion.
Had JFK served out his term, political history may have been different, but one can't have "Camelot" without an entitled aristocracy.
Dynasty talk died out during the Carter interregnum and it would have been unthinkable to promote a Reagan dynasty. It took Bill Clinton and his grasping wife to revive the politics of name identification.
Of course the coat–holders in the GOP are no better. They were eager to give the nomination to Juan "Ball–o–Fire" Bush until Trump crashed the party — in more ways than one.
Yet none of the chattering classes is bothered by the inequality of "who's your daddy?" politics. They're as dazzled by a security cortege as the lowliest Walmart shopper. In the past the chosen ruled by the divine right of king's, now the select benefit from the divine right of celebrity.
My solution is not an outright unconstitutional ban on wives, husbands, brothers, sons, daughters, cousins, uncles, aunts or in–laws who've assumed the name. Instead, I would give any of that lot my blessing to run for office, as long as they changed political parties to do it.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!).