"I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land." Ezekiel 22:30

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's in a Name?

My most recent blog for The 9s magazine tackles the question: is another Bush or Clinton what we need in this country?


Barbara Bush is right.

In an April 2013 interview on the TODAY show, the matriarch of the Bush family responded very bluntly when Matt Lauer asked about a potential Jeb Bush presidential run.

Her response:

“…we’ve had enough Bushes.”

And she’s right.

It’s still too early to know whether her son will listen to her sage advice, as Jeb has not yet ruled out a run for the White House in 2016. Nevertheless, Mrs. Bush’s sentiment is respectable because she knows that her family has had its time in power. Consider this: between 1967 and 2009, at least one member of the Bush family was in public office. Now, as Mrs. Bush knows, the time has come to step back and let democracy function. Her attitude is one a few other families could take to heart as well.

Take the Clintons for example. From 1977 until earlier this year, except for the time between January 1981 and January 1983, either Bill or Hillary Clinton held a public office (and for 17 days in January 2001, Hillary was both an elected senator and first lady). By all estimations, Hillary Clinton will, if she hasn’t already, toss her hat into the ring for the 2016 presidential campaign. No doubt her resume is impressive: Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, first lady of the United States. With all that experience, another shot at the presidency would seem a logical step. But, like the first lady that preceded her, Hillary should know when her time has come.

The familiar story is playing out in statewide races as well. In Georgia, the grandson of President Jimmy Carter, Jason Carter, is running for governor of the Peach State where the Carter name can be a big help, as well as a hindrance. In Texas, George P. Bush, is running for Land Commissioner in 2014, a position which is usually a stepping stone for Texans with higher political aspirations. George’s lineage is impressive: son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, nephew to President George W. Bush, and grandson of President George H. W. Bush.

Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to admit the Clinton and Bush names are tired commodities. Based on name ID alone, Jeb and Hillary have a running start for 2016, and would stand a decent shot of winning, or at least securing their party’s nomination. But forget for a second whether Jeb and Hillary are actually electable, and just ask yourself if another Bush or Clinton is what we need or want in this country.

The beauty of this country is that our form of government allows just about anyone to win elected office. Conceivably, any average Joe could become president; although in this day and age, winning takes more money – and status – than ever. Even Senator Ted Cruz, the populist Tea Party’s favorite son, went to Princeton and Harvard. While the Clintons and Bushes are not the first “dynasty” families (I need only mention Adams, Roosevelt, and Kennedy to make the point), we should ask ourselves if another Clinton or Bush would be in the best interest of our country, if only because of their last name.

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