Dynastic Voyage

From The New Yorker:

Dynasty Shortly after Hillary Rodham Clinton declared her candidacy for President last winter, Roger Cohen, writing in the International Herald Tribune, declared that “a delicate problem confronts her that few people are talking about: almost two decades of dynastic domination of American politics.” Well, they’re talking about it now. “Forty per cent of Americans have never lived when there wasn’t a Bush or a Clinton in the White House,” a recent Associated Press story, by Nancy Benac, begins. “Talk of Bush-Clinton fatigue is increasingly cropping up in the national political debate,” Benac goes on. “If Hillary Clinton were to be elected and reëlected, the nation could go twenty-eight years in a row with the same two families governing the country.

If anything, the dynastic dynamic has picked up speed in the past half century or so. It reached a perfect storm in 1962, when Massachusetts voters filled the Senate seat vacated by John F. Kennedy, grandson of Congressman and Mayor John F. Fitzgerald and son of Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, when he was elected President—the very seat that, in 1952, J.F.K. had wrested from Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., who was a great-great-great-grandson of Senator George Cabot, a grandson of the Senate titan Henry Cabot Lodge, and a son of George Cabot Lodge, who, though himself a poet, married a Frelinghuysen. (Are you following this?) The 1962 Democratic nominee for senator was, of course, Edward Moore Kennedy, then thirty years old. His Republican opponent was—wait for it—another George Cabot Lodge, this one a son of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and a great-great-great-great-grandson of, etc. Nor was that all. There was a third-party “peace” candidate, too, a professor of European history at Harvard: H. Stuart Hughes, grandson of Charles Evans Hughes, Governor of New York, Chief Justice of the United States, and 1916 Republican Presidential nominee. During a primary debate, Kennedy’s opponent for the Democratic nomination told him that if his name were just Edward Moore his candidacy would be a joke.

More here.