February 9, 2006


The Nation's Dual Political Dynasties Are Growing Closer Than Arm's Length (ELISABETH BUMILLER, 2/08/06, NY Times)

When the Bushes and Clintons held hands before 15,000 mourners at Coretta Scott King's funeral on Tuesday, it looked like a prayerful moment in the life of the nation. But as almost anyone watching America's two leading political families knew, underneath the tranquil image was a drama of ambition, rivalry, love and alliance that could shape the 2008 presidential election.

The scene, a riveting tableau in the six-hour celebration of Mrs. King's life and the political power of black America, offered complex layers of interconnecting relationships: father and son, husband and wife, president and former president, adversary turned ally and first lady turned senator turned probable presidential candidate.

It was one of the most public manifestations to date of the odd friendship and mutual need of two dynasties that, on the surface at least, have almost nothing in common. But as President Bush put it in an interview with CBS News last month, "Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton." Mr. Bush made the remark in a telling exchange with Bob Schieffer, who said, "Well, you know, if Senator Clinton becomes president."

"There we go," Mr. Bush said.

"Maybe we'll see a day," Mr. Schieffer continued.

"Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton," Mr. Bush responded.

The interesting thing is the continuity historians will trace from Ronald Reagan through Jeb Bush's presidency, with the eldest Bush and Bill Clinton being just mild deviations from the more conservative norm. Hillary could interject herself into that line of succession if she ran to John McCain's right, as her husband ran to George H. W. Bush's, but she doesn't seem likely to do so.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 11:52 AM

The more you see GHWB doing this, the more you think it's because he knows saying favorable things about Bill and the missus is driving the left side of the Democratic Party into apoplexy.

Posted by: John at February 9, 2006 12:20 PM

How exactly do the Clintons qualify as a "dynasty"?

Posted by: b at February 9, 2006 12:43 PM

Well, they have financing and a faux Palace Guard (Carville & Begala, Ann Lewis, sometimes Susan Estrich, Sid Vicious, Howard Wolfson, etc.). And they are hated by the Right and many on the Left. So they probably qualify, although Chelsea is probably quite happy to live in relative obscurity.

Now, with Jimmy's son running for the Senate in NV, will there be rumblings of a Peanut dynasty?

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 9, 2006 1:03 PM

hillary is tanking fast. good.

Posted by: toe at February 9, 2006 1:20 PM


Where has Chelsea gone? For a while (early in the Bush presidency) one couldn't avoid mentions of her in the press (usually tabloids). Now it seems she deserves her own side panel on a milk carton.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at February 9, 2006 5:18 PM

Talking about presidential kids, where's Amy Carter?

Posted by: erp at February 9, 2006 6:19 PM

Good for Chelsea if see is staying out of the limelight (although going through the checkout line it appears National Enquirer still occasionally reports on her.

I can't see Hillary getting the win in '08 (or perhaps even the Dem nod if her current performance keeps up) so the next one in the dynasty is probably Jeb.

I remembering reading somewhere that in history Clinton will get "lost between the Bushes". See no reason to disagree.

Posted by: AWW at February 9, 2006 8:53 PM

Yeah, a dynasty requires more than one generation. And New England needs 4 Super Bowl wins in 10 years, like Pittsburgh and San Francisco. This dilution of standards stops here.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at February 9, 2006 9:42 PM