A reader writes:

For the record, the following current Senators have not held prior elected office:

Mel Martinez
Ted Kennedy
Amy Klobuchar
Chuck Hagel
Hillary Clinton
Elizabeth Dole
Lamar Alexander
Orin Hatch
Robert Bennett
John Warner
Jim Webb
Herb Kohl

There are lots of reasons to dislike the way political power is acquired in America. But why are Elizabeth Dole and Hillary Clinton subjected to a kind of skepticism that one never hears about, for example, Lincoln Chaffee or Evan Bayh? What is less reputable about nepotism-by-marriage than about nepotism-by-birth? I struggle to see how anything but gender plays the primary role in this dynamic.

There is, to my mind, no valid distinction between marital nepotism and other sorts. Glad to have this info on the table.

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