Hillary Clinton is an ambivalent member of a political dynasty — at least when she's talking to reporters.
In an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Clinton insisted for the umpteenth time that she hasn't made up her mind about running for president. But more interesting was this question posed to Clinton, which framed her potential run as evidence of the quasi-aristocratic nature of the presidency [emphasis mine]:
SPIEGEL: For the past 25 years, there were two families that were very prominent in politics, your family and the Bush family. First George Bush was president for four years, then your husband led the country for eight years, and then George W. Bush was president for eight years. If either you or Jeb Bush were to win the election in 2016, once again a member of these two families would become president. Will the American democracy turn into a monarchy?
Clinton: We had two Roosevelts. We had two Adams. It may be that certain families just have a sense of commitment or even a predisposition to want to be in politics. I ran for president, as you remember. I lost to somebody named Barack Obama, so I don't think there is any guarantee in American politics. My last name did not help me in the end. Our system is open to everyone. It is not a monarchy in which I wake up in the morning and abdicate in favor of my son.
Clinton's right — we do not live in a monarchy. But it might seem like it, surveying the field of popular Democrats who want to run in 2016 whose initials are not HRC (cue crickets).
Which raises the question: Do dynastic families have more of a genetic commitment to public service, as Clinton suggests, or is it just the family business? Blake Carrington would never claim to "just have a sense of commitment or even a predisposition to being an oil tycoon."
Still, one recent study found that inherited political power is more about nurture than nature.