Monday, June 05, 2006

The Bush-Clinton Tag Team Dynasty

In his Sunday Washington Post Magazine Rough Draft column She's No Lady, Joel Achenbach predicts that “the head of state will be a Bush or a Clinton until the end of time, or the year 2056, whichever comes first.” That’s a pretty bold prediction from the man that in June of 1992, called Al Gore, based on his environmental crusading, a potential candidate for 1996. A guess that was either 4 years off or 12 years off depending how you want to look at it. I wonder if a joint Clinton/Bush dynasty is even possible. The talent pool just isn’t that strong.

The presidency has two major procedural restrictions: You must be at least 35 years old (and native-born, sorry, Ah-nald) and you can only be elected twice.* Using those criteria, here is a potential timeline for the next 50 years of presidential elections.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (2009-2017)

Should the Junior Carpetbagger from New York wrest the nomination from Al “Save The Trees, They’re Like Family To Me” Gore, she would be the first spouse of a president ever elected to the White House, which I think would give her a much larger role in selecting interns. The ceremonial role of First Gentleman has yet to delineated. In Bill’s case, I think it would seriously impact his free-ticket cadging under the regulations governing gifts to elected officials.

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (2017-2025)

I would really love to be the fly on the wall during the sibling rivalry argument that let Dubya run for prez before Jeb, particularly since Jeb is universally acknowledged as the “smart Bush”, which is like being known as the “sober Kennedy”. It's just not that high a bar. After the shenanigans in Florida during the 2000 vote counting fiasco, Jeb will be calling in all his chads to make sure he gets his turn.

Chelsea Clinton (2025-2033)

If you assume that Neil Bush and Roger Clinton are essentially unelectable, the torch has to be passed to the next generation. The two leading contenders would have to be Barbara Bush and Chelsea Clinton. Both have fancy-schmancy degrees (Yale and Stanford, respectively) and trouble occasionally holding their liquor. For the sake of argument, let’s give Chelsea first shot since she has seniority. Chelsea at the age of 44, would be the third youngest President and the third child (as well as first daughter) of a former President. As a bonus, with both Bill and Hillary as ex-Presidents, there would be some economy of scale for Secret Service protection.

Barbara Bush (2033-2041)

Barbara is the heir apparent to the Bush political dynasty since twin sister Jenna went to a party school and is following the educator track of her mother. Not that Barbara doesn’t know how to party. Barbara would be only the second grandkid of a former President (you have to go all the way back to Benjamin Harrison for the first). I predict Barb II having to slug it out with another potential legacy candidate, Karenna Gore Schiff. Perhaps Karenna would be a little savvier about electoral college vote counting than her dad, but since we are positing a Clinton/Bush tag team, Barbara gets the nod.

George Prescott Bush (2041-2049)

By this time, even the second generation is getting a little long in the tooth. By 2040, George P would be 64 which is still a youngster by presidential standards. Particularly valuable would be his Hispanic background. By all demographic predictions, thirty years from now a good deal of the electorate will habla Espanol, or at least have parents or grandparents that do. That would make this handsome nephew of Dubya a shoo-in. Of course, he too has those “youthful indiscretions” to contend with.

Jeb Bush, Jr. (2049-2057)

In order to make Joel’s prediction ring true, for the 2048 election, either the Clinton clan has to get fertile or the Bush’s have to dig a little deeper for tenable candidates. Based on their legal problems to date, I can’t possibly imagine either of Jeb’s other two kids getting elected dogcatcher, let alone President. Of the two, Jeb Jr has the best shot for overcoming his tarnished youth as an underage canoodler and boozer. After all, in the words of Hank Williams, Jr., he’s just carrying on a family tradition. Whether the substance abuse history of big sister Noelle is enough to weigh down his campaign remains to be seen.

In summary, I don’t hold a lot of faith in the dynasty theory of American politics. Just look at the Kennedys. It’s a maxim of fortunes, financial and political, that the third generation wastes away what the first generation earns. Consider that George W. Bush is the grandson of Senator Prescott Bush, and you can draw your own conclusions there as well.

*The 22nd Amendment is actually more complicated than that, but it doesn’t affect my dystopic future history.


Anonymous said...

What about Duncan Mackenzie and his decendants?


Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Great post, and executed in flawless Foma* fashion!

The thought of either gene pool stepping foot in the White House after 2008 makes me want to get a head start on my application for Canadian citizenship right now!

Mooselet said...

That flower on George P. looks odd, like a bad afterthought.

Once again, people wonder why I'm seeking Aussie citizenship and have little desire to return to America.

J.Po said...

harmonica man beat me to it...Canada is looking better and better!

Pixel said...

Wow, I haven't seen a pic of Chelsea in ages. She looks quite the young professional.

Great post!


Anonymous said...

I to have been thinking Australia. America has gone to Pot in more ways than one!Cannot beleive half the stuff you read.. And to Me America has got to wake up or we will become and Afterthought..I love America. the people runng the show need to go,, Clean hose all three.. While house.. senate and the House of Reps

Anonymous said...

There has to be 8 years between a Democrat and a Republican. On the 8th year of every president, the public gets worn out of that party that is in power. So, the order is Bush-Clinton-Bush, ect.

Anonymous said...

This is, all at once, the most thoughtful, creative and amusing take on the "two families" theme that I have yet seen.

Our only disagreement is the acceptance of the 2000 "hanging chad" fiasco(though, to be fair, your mention of it doesn't actually constitute an endorsement so much as a handy tidbit to add for illustration). Everything else I read here seems perfectly plausible if one is aware of a few relevant facts and generally accepted beliefs.

--Ted Kennedy was an original legacy contender, and he might have fared better had he not chosen to challenge a sitting president eligible for a second term and thus already serving as a party standard-bearer.

--By all accounts from all sides, the conventional wisdom regarding Chelsea Clinton seems to be that she has pretty good sense and has enjoyed a mostly unpublicized young adulthood. I see no reason why she wouldn't be a serious contender, should she decide to abandon a good , quiet private life in exchange for high office.

--While the Eisenhower-Nixon marriage didn't produce any politically ambitious children, it certainly had the potential to create a dynasty of its own.

I do wish to submit one thought that I think hasn't been talked about much: it is entirely possible that, although the makings of a two-family American royalty are firmly established, it also remains true that a family can achieve such status without previously enjoying Establishment status. In other words, it's a grand manifestation of the American dream in that a family of unknown commoners can become a ruling dynasty within the space of one generation.

I could go on but this is rather lengthy already. I wish to submit just one more question to ponder: isn't it an unrelated fact of the American electorate if any and all challengers to the Bushes and the Clintons in future elections don't prove to be better choices?

Anonymous said...

There's plenty left in the Bush-Clinton talent pool! Check this one out!

Anonymous said...

Here's a good Bush-Clinton Dynasty video on youtube.