"It's time to embrace American royalty," Glenn Greenwald wrote yesterday in reaction to Jenna Hager Bush's hiring as a correspondent for the Today Show. As far as rants go, it is heated and a bit unhinged, but not without insight. He opens:
They should convene a panel for the next Meet the Press with Jenna Bush Hager, Luke Russert, Liz Cheney, Megan McCain and Jonah Goldberg, and they should have Chris Wallace moderate it. They can all bash affirmative action and talk about how vitally important it is that the U.S. remain a Great Meritocracy because it's really unfair for anything other than merit to determine position and employment. They can interview Lisa Murkowski, Evan Bayh, Jeb Bush, Bob Casey, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Dan Lipinksi, and Harold Ford, Jr. about personal responsibility and the virtues of self-sufficiency. Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson and John Podhoretz can provide moving commentary on how America is so special because all that matters is merit, not who you know or where you come from.
Greenwald, who is rivaled by only Andrew Sullivan in his detestation of Dick Cheney and Cheney's policies, took special aim at Obama-era talk show starlet Liz Cheney:
Liz Cheney is really the perfect face of Washington's political culture, a perfect manifestation of all the rotting diseases that define it and a pure expression of what our country has become and the reasons for its virtual ruin. She should really be on every political TV show all day every day. It's almost as though things can't really be expressed thoroughly without including her. Jenna Bush as a new NBC "reporter" on The Today Show -- at a time when every media outlet is firing and laying off real reporters -- is a very nice addition though.
Noting that many of our nepotistic leaders are opponents of affirmative action, Greenwald contrasted Jenna Bush and Liz Cheney with the critics of Sonia Sotomayor.
All of the above-listed people are examples of America's Great Meritocracy, having achieved what they have solely on the basis of their talent, skill and hard work -- The American Way. By contrast, Sonia Sotomayor -- who grew up in a Puerto Rican family in Bronx housing projects; whose father had a third-grade education, did not speak English and died when she was 9; whose mother worked as a telephone operator and a nurse; and who then became valedictorian of her high school, summa cum laude at Princeton, a graduate of Yale Law School, and ultimately a Supreme Court Justice -- is someone who had a whole litany of unfair advantages handed to her and is the poster child for un-American, merit-less advancement.
I just want to make sure that's clear.
Today's post is about a particular strain of royal succession: those who inherit their position and and whose achievement is attributable to their mommies and daddies and yet ludicrously purport to be Stern Advocates for (and Beacons of) Meritocracy and become righteous opponents of "unfair" affirmative action on the ground that only merit should determine advancement. Not everyone who inherits their influence is guilty of that.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.