Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quote of the day

"The population of the United States now exceeds 300 million, and the talent pool of the world's only superpower is deep and rich. How is it that the country is on the verge of filling its highest office for the sixth consecutive term from one of two families? That every President from 1989 to 2017 may be a Bush or a Clinton is a national disgrace. What has happened to the American Republic? How does it differ from a banana republic -- where a couple of dominant families often run everything for generations? Have we driven the vast majority of the potentially best Presidents out of the contest because of the high personal and professional costs of running for office? Are we the voters responsible because we are too lazy to go beyond the simplistic attractions of familiarity and high name identification? Or, most disturbing of all, has our political system become ossified, so that we are too fearful of change to seek out the most outstanding leaders among us for the toughest job in the world?" - Larry Sabato (via Media Matters)

This could easily go under the heading of the previous post. Where in our national media, is a serious discussion of the possibility of having a Bush or Clinton occupying the President/V.P office for 32 consecutive years?!! This is supposed to be a meritocratic country, after all, not War of the Roses era English monarchy.

See here, for what I've previously written about the decline of meritocracy and the rise of de facto aristocracy in America.


C2H50H said...

Yup, we've managed to go from a republic to an aristocracy in 20 years (From the election of the first brain-dead President, Saint Ronnie, to the "election" of George W. Bush.)

We entirely skipped the intervening couple of generations, where extremely capable people gather all the power into their hands before passing it on to their less-capable sons and finally to their worthless grandsons.

We went straight from a moderately-capable father to a completely worthless son.

If I have to make a choice between Romney and Clinton, it's not going to be a pleasant election. In that case, Nader could get 10 percent of the vote.

Sheldon said...

Although I don't think much of Mrs. Clinton, and even much worse do I think of the Bushs. However, I don't think there is much to the idea that we are somehow becoming an aristocracy. More of a coincidence than anything else I might start to be worried if Jeb Bush or Chelsea both run in the future!

Hume's Ghost said...


Social mobility is on the decline. The Economist article linked in the linked post deals with the decline of meritocracy. Our political class is a plutocracy. Districts have been gerrymandered so that elections are barely competitive, and with the right amount of money incumbents can remain seated for decades without challenge. The income gap between wealthy and poor is increasing to levels unseen since the Giled Age. For 4 decades, their has been a bipartisan effort to make our tax system regressive, with the tax burden being shifted onto the middle class. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy have further exacerbated this trend, and the elimination of the estate tax would go a long way towards making it so that the super duper rich will be rich perpetually.

And I fail to see how it is coincidence that we have Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-maybe-Clinton-Clinton.

Now, of course when I say aristocracy I'm not talking about a literal return to a line of royal succession. THat's why I wrote de facto aristocracy. But it is difficult to ignore that our gov't is stacked with rich people and their family. Micheal Powell was head of the FCC. Eugene Scalia is working somewhere in the federal gov't, I forget where. Jimmy Carter's son ran for Gov. in the last election. Dick Cheney's daughter was put in charge of overseeing Middle East policy in the State Dept. His wife is being considered for the Senate in Wyoming. Robert Kagan's wife is ambassador to Nato and was principal deputy National Security Advisor to Cheney from '03-'05. Michael Ledeen's daughter was given a job with the CPA in Iraq. Podhoretz's son-in-law is Elliot Abrams.

Our Washington beltway press elite acts as if their role is that of a beneficient of the Versailles role court. Media has become so consolidated in the hands of a few corporations that philosopher Jurgen Habermas has stated that we are witnessing the "refeuadalization of the public sphere."

The chief aims of the conservative movement are to undo the Progressive era reforms that helped create a prosperous thriving middle class and which will return us to the era of robber barons.

C2H50H said...


Actually, I think the Conservative Movement aims not merely to return us to the Robber Baron era, but to try to make that the permanent condition of the republic, by eliminating estate taxes, removing or greatly reducing taxes and regulation on capital, and by entrenching nepotism in the government sector.

It seems to me that they really want is not a return to the transient period from 1870 - 1914, but a return to the days of the Roman Republic, when Senator was a hereditary title and membership in the lower classes (i. e., slaves) were inherited as well.