A reader writes:
Your comments on "dynastic democracy" are way over the top and gratuitous and silly. You ask if the two Bushes count? No, not really. Neither do the Kennedys, Cuomos, Daleys or Clintons (or any of the others you say you can name). Yes, politics does run in certain families. Yes, those with political families have a much greater chance and opportunity to get elected or appointed to political positions. And yes, the same can be said of other professions - for instance, families with an overabundance of lawyers, doctors, writers, teachers, musicians, etc. Comparing the U.S. situation to the countries with true dynastic rule is like comparing apples and oranges.
Nobody's forced to vote for one particular family over another. Nobody's forced to run for office just because his or her parent was a politician.
However, as in many other professions, children do enter the family business. If you grow up in a Hollywood family, or a military family, or surrounded by dentists or lawyers or doctors or politicians, not only are you going to be influenced by that environment, but that's where your power base and job-finding network is going to be. I don't see how we can prevent people from choosing their profession or inheriting their family's connections.
So yeah, there will be times when we end up with Kennedys and Bushes and Clintons. But then there will be times when the country decides it's time to choose Obama and Scott Brown instead.
What do you recommend? Making it illegal for someone to run for president if a relative has done so? Constitutional amendment against first-degree relatives or should we extend it to cousins? Aunts and uncles? Do you also exclude highly placed members of previous administrations?
Believe me, I understand the feeling; I live with someone who raged about this for the last several elections! But I've never gotten a good answer about a "solution" for that matter.