Friday, January 9, 2015

Too Many in the Bush

If it's Clinton vs. Bush in the 2016 presidential election, you can at least be glad that the Clinton (Hillary) isn't really a Clinton, and even if she were, the family's legacy began with Bill only a few decades ago.

Unlike the Bush legacy. We all know about George W. and George H.W., but I'd bet fewer of us know about Prescott (1895-1972), who was in the U.S. Senate, let alone his antecedents. Prescott, by the way, is said to have participated in grave-robbing the skull of Geronimo as a prank while he was a member of Yale's Skull and Bones secret society. Throughout his life, he "maintained homes in New York, Long Island and Greenwich, Connecticut; the family compound at Kennebunkport, Maine; the 10,000-acre...Duncannon Plantation near Barnwell, South Carolina; and a secluded island off the Connecticut coast, Fishers Island."

I kept looking for the Bush who first "made it," but I was disappointed. The Bush men have attended Yale since the early 1800s. The Wikipedia page about the family reports their presence back to the Plymouth Colony (though not the Mayflower, it appears).

The Bushes are clearly part of the "natural" aristocracy some people seem to long for (as in this essay about ur-libertarian Hans-Hermann Hoppe by the snarky populist Matt Bruenig). They serve out of noblesse oblige, I guess. Too bad about George and Jeb's brother Neil, who ripped off the public in the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, now mostly forgotten. If he'd just waited a bit longer and worked on Wall Street he's be making big money now. Maybe a future treasury secretary.

I have an innate dislike of dynasties. I don't like the Kennedy family either. Inherited wealth should at least be heavily taxed, if not outlawed. Then we'd see what these people are actually made of.


Michael Leddy said...

Another Bush or Clinton would be a great failure of the public imagination. Can’t we do better than that?

Have you seen Fran Lebowitz on the prospect of more Clintons?

Daughter Number Three said...

No, I hadn't seen that. The idea of a Chelsea Clinton future in national politics makes me feel ill, though I know nothing about her personally.

Hillary... I liked the Children's Defense Fund-era Hillary, but the version of her that's been in Washington for 30 years has eroded her best qualities. Her change of position on the bankruptcy law (between when she was First Lady and Senator from Wall Street [read: New York]) broke any interest I had in her.

It's almost as if she was in on that conversation between Larry Summers and Elizabeth Warren, which Warren writes about in her most recent book. Summers advised Warren that you have to learn to go along to get anything done in Washingotn. Hillary took that advice; Warren hasn't.