Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hillary says: vote for me, I'm a Clinton

I just heard a clip of Hillary Clinton saying that it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and that it may take another Clinton to clean up after this Bush. Great. Just what American democracy needed, it's own War of the Roses, with a husband-wife team of one party trading the presidency with a father-son of the other party.

This is supposed to be an election, not a restoration. As far as I knew, we were looking to elect leaders based on merit, not on family pedigree. This is still supposed to be a democracy and not an aristocracy, isn't it?

Gary Wills raises another point about a potential Clinton restoration

One problem with the George W. Bush administration is that it has brought a kind of plural presidency in through the back door. Vice President Dick Cheney has run his own executive department, with its own intelligence and military operations, not open to scrutiny, as he hides behind the putative president.

No other vice president in our history has taken on so many presidential prerogatives, with so few checks. He is an example of the very thing James Wilson was trying to prevent by having one locus of authority in the executive. The attempt to escape single responsibility was perfectly exemplified when his counsel argued that Mr. Cheney was not subject to executive rules because he was also part of the legislature.

We have seen in this campaign how former President Clinton rushes to the defense of presidential candidate Clinton. Will that pattern of protection be continued into the new presidency, with not only his defending her but also her defending whatever he might do in his energetic way while she’s in office? It seems likely. And at a time when we should be trying to return to the single-executive system the Constitution prescribes, it does not seem to be a good idea to put another co-president in the White House.
It's hard to take seriously the notion that American politics are meritocratic. If George Bush was not named George Bush and did not have his family's connections to keep him out of prison or bail him out from failed business and to raise inordinate amounts of money for his campaigns he would not be president. If Hillary Clinton was not the wife of a former president she would not be a leading candidate for president and would not be able to run a campaign that is going to total nearly a billion dollars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

However, on the other hand, Obama stands as a stark example of it possibly being a meritocratic system (albeit only in a few election cycles).