Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Are you remarkably insouciant?

excerpt from The Economist, (may require online subscription-hardcopy on the shelf in the PRPL) October 8, 2007

What does the possibility of a Clinton restoration mean for America? Everything depends on whether Mrs Clinton can translate her air of competence into reality. The Clinton White House, be it remembered, lurched from crisis to crisis, some of them of Mrs Clinton's creation. It is also worth remembering that Mr Bush sold himself as an MBA president surrounded by political veterans. But three things are already clear—one positive and two negative.

The positive is that Mrs Clinton would break America's highest glass ceiling. Women have made their mark in almost every area of American life, from the Senate (16 currently) to the House (74, including the speaker) to the governor's office (nine). Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice have both been secretary of state. In that respect, a woman president would undoubtedly be a good thing for the country.

But there is a downside: dynasty. If Mrs Clinton wins the White House in 2008, members of the Bush and Clinton families will have been president for 24 years on the trot. Over 100m Americans have never known anybody but a Bush or a Clinton in the White House. If Mrs Clinton wins re-election, that 24 years will swell to 28.

Americans are remarkably insouciant about this development. They should not be. It suggests that American political life is in the hands of a small group of insiders who are organised around semi-royal families. And it divides America into “players”, who control political life, and “observers”, who simply comment on it. The dynastification of American politics is happening at a time when economic inequalities are growing, and the “haves” are proving increasingly successful at transmitting their privileges to their children.

Drawing of Hillary Rodham Clinton from The New Yorker, October 8, 2007

1 comment:

Apple Betty said...

Hillary is remarkably insouciant. Just ask her.