Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton? Is it me or are we starting to look like a monarchy? And if so, is it a bad thing? Michael Barone (US News and World Report) considers the idea:
Not that anyone assumes that family members are all alike. It would not do for candidate Bush in 2000 and for candidate Clinton today to claim to be clones of his father and her husband. Rather, candidate Bush made comments about his mother's fearsomeness, and candidate Clinton's "let's chat" suggests that she is more of a listener and less of a nonstop talker than her husband. So the trend to royalism may not be all bad. It does give some candidates an unfair advantage over others. But let's face it: Only four of the 300 million living Americans has been president and probably only 10 or 12 more ever will be. We need as much knowledge of our presidential candidates as we can get and, if we get some of it by knowing their families as closely as we know the families of recent occupants of the White House, so be it. As Bagehot put it, "The best reason why Monarchy is a strong government is, that it is an intelligible government. The mass of mankind understand it, and they hardly anywhere in the world understand any other."
In any case, it's no sure thing that a Clinton will follow a Bush who followed a Clinton who followed a Bush. But keep the following in the back of your mind. George P. Bush will be eligible to run for president in 2012. Chelsea Clinton will be eligible to run for president in 2016. So will Jenna and Barbara Bush, who will turn 35 several days after the election. And Jeb Bush, who had a fine record in eight years as governor of Florida, will be younger in 2024 than John McCain will be in 2008 or Ronald Reagan was in 1984. Royalism may be here to stay.