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How Political Ignorance Causes Political Nepotism:

In a September interview with the New York Sun, the soon-to-be assassinated Benazir Bhutto explained how political ignorance fosters political nepotism by leading voters to support canddiates who are relatives of popular politicians (hat tip Kerry Howley):

Q: Why do you think that the U.S. seems to have a harder time with women at the highest level of power than other countries?

A [Benazir Bhutto]: In a country like Pakistan or India, when a charismatic leader dies, people are not sure that the traditions he symbolized will continue—there's a lot of illiteracy and there isn't the same access to information. So they tend to transfer allegiance from a male leader to a female descendant, in the hope that his policies will be continued. But in Westernized societies, it's a little different, because people have greater education and greater access to information—they don't have the same need to be sure of the message of the leader.

Because voters know very little about the details of candidates' ideology and issue positions, they use a candidate's family affiliation with a popular political leader as an information shortcut. Voters could instead analyze each candidates' qualifications and ideology in detail (though, as Bhutto noted, that may be impossible for those who are illiterate or poorly educated). However, rational ignorance ensures that most of them have neither the time nor the incentive to do so. Bhutto herself, of course, rose to power in Pakistan in large part because voters associated her with her father, a popular politician who had been executed by a military dictator in 1979.

Bhutto was wrong to assume that this logic is limited to female politicians in economically backward societies. Right here in the United States, George W. Bush would probably never have become president if not for the voter name recognition he enjoyed by virtue of being the son of a former president. Hillary Clinton would not now be a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination if not for her association with her popular ex-president husband. Few of the many Kennedys who have achieved elected office would have done so absent their family name. To paraphrase one of Senator Ted Kennedy's electoral opponents, he would never have made it to the Senate if his name were not Edward Moore Kennedy but Edward Moore.

Is this kind of ignorance-induced voter nepotism a bad thing? I would suggest that it often is. Political leaders who achieve high office in large part because of nepotism are likely to be less qualified, on average, than those who reach it by virtue of their own achievements. This is not surprising; it takes a lot less ability to win office on your daddy's or spouses coat tails than to do so without it. George W. Bush's incompetence on many issues is a case in point. Most of the Third World politicians who became heads of government by this means were also failures in office (see the examples Kerry Howley gives in her post linked above). Benazir Bhutto, for all her recent courage in opposing military dictatorship and radical Islamism, was ineffective in her two terms as prime Minister of Pakistan in the 1990s. Isabel Peron's disastrous term as president of Argentina after the death of her husband Juan Peron helped set the stage for a brutal military dictatorship (not entirely unlike the way that Bhutto's failures in office helped pave the way for Purvez Musharraf's military coup).

On rare occasions, the nepotism information shortcut pays off. Winston Churchill was first elected to Parliament in large part because voters associated him with his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, a popular Conservative politician of the 1880s. However, Bush, Bhutto, and the lesser Kennedys are more typical beneficiaries of ignorance-induced political nepotism than Churchill.

As Bhutto pointed out, this form of nepotism does have one potential advantage: it can sometimes pave the way for women to reach high office in sexist patriarchal societies that might not otherwise accept them in such positions. I don't deny that such achievements have some symbolic value. But I'm not convinced that they're worth the high price we pay for them in the form of policy disasters caused by poor leadership. Moreover, it's not clear how much of a breakthrough for women such events really represent if people recognize that the women in question reached high office primarily because of their family connections. To my mind, the true breakthroughs for women in underdeveloped societies are likely to come when their opportunities and social status increase as a result of economic development. Ineffective political leaders of either gender are likely to set back such development - and with it the cause of women's rights.

Waldensian (mail):
Uh oh. I just had a vision of a future President of the United States.
1.3.2008 12:08am
cowenj:
"George W. Bush's incompetence on many issues is a case in point." Oh really? i don't recall Bush Sr. freeing 50 million people. What planet ar eyou on?
1.3.2008 4:55am
Edgardo (mail):
Bush, Clinton, Kennedy. Maybe it's because I've been reading the NYT and WP, but I cannot understand how Bush Sr. could help Bush Jr. Please if another Bush is elected, don't tell me that it's because of "name recognition".
Regarding Peron, you're wrong: Isabelita inherited a disastrous situation and she relied on the same person (Lopez Rega) that had been running the government between June 20, 1973 and April 1, 1974.
1.3.2008 6:24am
subpatre (mail):
Ilya said
"Because voters know very little about the details of candidates' ideology and issue positions, they use a candidate's family affiliation with a popular political leader as an information shortcut."

Don't you mean family affiliation, as in Democrat or Republican?
1.3.2008 6:45am
dearieme:
Pitt the Younger. But however you get your seat, in a functioning parliamentary system you must expect to be pretty thoroughly scrutinised by your fellow MPs before and during your period as PM.
1.3.2008 7:16am
dearieme:
"the U.S. seems to have a harder time with women at the highest level of power than other countries": and gave women the vote in national elections pretty late too. Perhaps it's because American men are so hen-pecked in everyday life that they don't fancy being hen-pecked politically too?
1.3.2008 7:19am
A.C.:
I don't exactly mind if someone named Kennedy goes into politics, but I want to see a much more serious resume from someone who starts with that kind of advantage. Dynasty kids (and wives) should go out of their way to build independent credentials and work their way up through the ranks. Those who try to use a famous name as a shortcut bother me.

This applies to industries besides politics, too. Academia, law, even Hollywood... people in those fields should make sure the relatives who want to ride their coattails pay some dues along the way.
1.3.2008 8:24am
PLR:
Bhutto herself, of course, rose to power in Pakistan in large part because voters associated her with her father, a popular politician who had been executed by a military dictator in 1979.

Her political party, the PPP, is a hereditary party. Don't feel bad though, Senator Clinton got that wrong also, as this blogger helpfully points out:

link
1.3.2008 8:53am
x (mail):
Political leaders who achieve high office in large part because of nepotism are likely to be less qualified, on average, than those who reach it by virtue of their own achievements. This is not surprising; it takes a lot less ability to win office on your daddy's or spouses coat tails than to do so without it. George W. Bush's incompetence on many issues is a case in point.

You're vastly overrating the importance of 41's connection to 43. GHW Bush had approval ratings as low as W's, falling from the 90% range after GWI due to internal party fights and a lingering recession. Name recognition might have played a part in obtaining the nomination but I don't think any one has a particular fondness for the four years that GWH Bush was president (in contrast to the current Bill Clinton-era nostalgia boom).

Also, W is/was less qualified than who, exactly? Among the current front runners for nomination are a senator who served a single term before declining to seek re-election and a senator who hasn't finished his first term. Neither have significant executive experience. W was twice elected governor of the second most populous state, defeating a popular and nationally recognized Democrat (Ann Richards) and subsequently winning re-election in a landslide.

Nepotism also doesn't explain why W was *re-elected* to both the Texas governorship and Presidency. Certainly after four years, enough information was available that even the most (rationally or not) ignorant would be able to judge him on his own merits.

I do support W, and used him as an example but I do think that Hillary Clinton supporters could made a similar objection if she were elected President twice.
1.3.2008 9:03am
PersonFromPorlock:
Good Lord, are we actually considering the qualities of royal or aristocratic succession?
1.3.2008 9:06am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Bhutto was wrong to assume that this logic is limited to female politicians in economically backward societies. Right here in the United States, George W. Bush would probably never have become president if not for the voter name recognition he enjoyed by virtue of being the son of a former president.
Name recognition didn't hurt, but I don't think people voted for him because they thought he'd continue the policies of his father, which is what Bhutto's comments seem to be about.
1.3.2008 9:14am
Craig Oren (mail):
Churchill was helped because he became famous for escaping an enemy prison camp in the Boer War. His first election to parliament followed shortly thereafter.
1.3.2008 10:43am
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
This goes far beyond the Presidency.


In 1986, at least 24 U.S. senators and representatives were closely related to governors or other members of Congress, USA TODAY research shows.

Twenty years later, there are more than 50 — among them four sets of siblings, four widows, dozens of offspring, the wife of a former Senate majority leader and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, wife of a former president and governor.


That article is from August 2006, and things haven't improved.
1.3.2008 10:45am
Waldensian (mail):

Dynasty kids (and wives) should go out of their way to build independent credentials and work their way up through the ranks.

I agree. I think Tori Spelling never quite pulled that off.
1.3.2008 10:48am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
You're vastly overrating the importance of 41's connection to 43.

Are you kidding? Do you seriously believe George W. Bush would be anything other than a propane salesman (and that would be a pretty lofty achievement for him) living in Arlen, TX if he wasn't the son of George H.W. and grandson of Prescott Bush? I doubt he would have been admitted to the University of Texas, let alone Yale (and forget about Andover for prep school) if not for his family connections.
1.3.2008 11:04am
wm13:
Well, J.F. Thomas, there were lots of middling bright frat boy types whose fathers were well-off but not famous at Exeter and Yale when I was there, so it seems entirely possible that George Bush would have gone to Yale even if his grandfather had been a nobody and his father a moderately successful oilman. If you're asking whether he would have done as well as he has if his father were an oil equipment salesman making $40,000 a year, then who knows. Who knows how Bill Gates would have done if his father were a solo practitioner doing house closings and making $80,000 a year? Those questions are kind of unanswerable.

Still, you could certainly say that George H.W. Bush came from more modest beginnings than Al Gore or John Kerry, had fewer things handed to him, and did better in school and in business than either of them.
1.3.2008 11:20am
JorgXMcKie (mail):
dearieme, actually the US was in the forefront granting women' suffrage. I believe France got around to it after WWII, and Switzerland recently (maybe still) had two cantons that don't allow women to vote.

J.F. Thomas, how did Teddy Kennedy get into (and out of with a degree) Harvard? And brainiac Al Gore? How did that dimbulb get into college and get a degree (although evidently grad school in theology was too hard for him)? Would Eisenhower *ever* have become president (graduated fairly low from West Point) if he hadn't been lucky enough to have a major war to fight?

Poor old Harry Truman, didn't even go to college. Left office with an approval rating that looks like Bush's now.

Boy, this scenario playing is fun!
1.3.2008 11:23am
Dave N (mail):
I think this overblown. Name recognition is certainly important--and having a cadre of supporters is a nice thing for a new politician to have--and made easier if one politician is handing his organization off to another.

Regardless of what one thinks of GWB as President, I agree that his father's legacy probably played only a minor role in his political rise--and that he was elected President in 2000 more because of his record as Governor of Texas than as son and namesake of the first President Bush.

I would also note that if his name was Jeb Ellis, instead of Jeb Ellis Bush, the former Florida Governor would be a top-tier candidate based on his record as Governor, and not forced to sit out the campaign because his brother is the incumbent President.

Additionally, Maureen Reagan's famous name ended up being of little use when she tried to capitalize on it to gain a Senate seat in California.

Sean O'Hara points to the many members of Congress who are related to other members--but even the article he linked (from USA Today before the 2006 election) has as many eventual losers (4) as winners (4).

And I would also note that some of the relationships are probably, at best, irrelevant. I doubt very much, for example, that the people of North Carolina voted for Elizabeth Dole because she is married to Bob. Or even more, that the people of New JerseyNew Jersey voted for Rush Holt because his father served one term as a United States Senator from West Virginia that ended seven years before the younger Holt was even born.
1.3.2008 11:25am
CJColucci:
To paraphrase one of Senator Ted Kennedy's electoral opponents, he would never have made it to the Senate if his name were not Edward Moore Kennedy but Edward Moore.
If memory serves, the force of the comment was somewhat blunted by the family connections and political pedigree of the commenter, but I just can't recall his name at the moment.
1.3.2008 11:36am
Mark Field (mail):

If memory serves, the force of the comment was somewhat blunted by the family connections and political pedigree of the commenter, but I just can't recall his name at the moment.


I believe it was the 1962 special election and the opposing candidate was George Lodge. Not a very bright moment for Lodge.
1.3.2008 12:02pm
one of many:
And to return to Bhutto's point, except for the Kenedy family, is there really any expectation that families in the US have a coherent political view? Juding from the US families I know, political viewpoints among family members are anything but homogenous, if anything there is a tendency for children to reject their parents' politics. There are reasons why there is a tendency towards dynastic sucession in the US, but the idea of families having uniform political policies is not a major one (contrast Al Gore's politics with his father's). What seems to be the most significant factor in the formation of Politcal Dynasties in the US is not the adaptation of a particular set of politcal views by a family but the adoption of an ethic of public service which makes some families feel they have an obligation to the nation (regardless of which policies are to made, which can vary).
1.3.2008 12:19pm
x (mail):
JFT, you are correct as to general life experience, and belonging to the Prescott Bush family certainly benefited W in numerous ways. That statement was directly primarily at the assumption that voters viewed W favorably based primarily on his family relationship with GHW. Maybe some did but a reasonable case can be made that many, even in the Republican party, did not. Support for Al Gore in 2000 was and support for Hillary in 2008 is probably influenced by their association with Bill Clinton and his political views, could somebody explain what distinguishes those cases (especially Hillary's) from W and GHW?

One only has to look towards the Kennedy clan to see that things could have turned out very differently.

At some point even an individual born to privilige has to stand or fall on his own merits. The implication that ignorance and nepotism account for *re-electing*, with substantially greater margins of victory than in the first election, an incompetent says more about how you view the voters than the candidate.
1.3.2008 12:26pm
ys:

What seems to be the most significant factor in the formation of Politcal Dynasties in the US is not the adaptation of a particular set of politcal views by a family but the adoption of an ethic of public service which makes some families feel they have an obligation to the nation (regardless of which policies are to made, which can vary).

It's not necessarily the details of politics, but also not this romantic "ethic of public service" either. It's the family political machine the gets built, gets inherited and self-perpetuates as long as there is at least some kind of material for the machine to mold. The moldable pieces are largely interchangeable as has been seen in the sequence of Kennedy brothers (whoever is the senior one left standing) and their kids, and the selection of Bush brothers appropriate for the moment (e.g., George instead of Jeb). At this point the Kennedy machine seems to have run out of suitable pieces. We shall see about the Bush and the Clinton machines in the future. Note, that these machines, thankfully, are not complete inheritable parties like in the third world, althogh they can dominate a party at times.
1.3.2008 12:41pm
SeaDrive:
I suspect that if you were to take a look back at original sources, you would see that Bush started being touted as presidential material from the very start of his term as governor of Texas. For whatever reason, he became the darling of the party professionals and big donors long before he started an official campaign. I don't think you can say that name recognition among the electorate at large was important, except to the extent that the party pros felt his chances of winning were greater because of his name.

The importance of family name goes back at least as far as John Q. Adams.
1.3.2008 12:50pm
Paul A'Barge (mail):
"George W. Bush would probably never have become president if not for the voter name recognition he enjoyed by virtue of being the son of a former president."

I'm sorry but I dispute this.
1.3.2008 12:54pm
ejo:
so, we are to take it as a positive that in third world countries, the illiterate masses simply transfer their allegiance to someone with the same last name, no matter the qualifications. does that make it a plus that Benazir Bhutto's 19 years old son is now the "head" of the hereditary Bhutto party? I think I'll take the current political system in this country-check the electoral body counts in these countries and compare them to ours (Kenya, Pakistan-care to trade electoral systems).
1.3.2008 1:42pm
dearieme:
I don't suppose that the USA is the only country prone to indoctrinate its youngsters with fairytales about its history, but "dearieme, actually the US was in the forefront granting women' suffrage" is particularly rich. If Wikipedia is to be believed, and ignoring minnows like Pitcairn, and absurdities like the Soviet Union, then we find
NZ (1893); Australia (1902); Finland (1906); Norway and (with a degree of ambiguous phrasing) Denmark (1913); Canada (1917); Britain, Germany, Poland (1918); Netherlands (1919); USA (1920). Some forefront.
1.3.2008 2:07pm
neurodoc:
Benazir Bhutto, for all her recent courage in opposing military dictatorship and radical Islamism...
Soon Benazir Bhutto will be canonized and join JFK as a mythologized secular saint. Then, just as JFK will always be remembered for Camelot, she will always be remembered for her "courage in opposing military dictatorship and radical Islam." (Ilya, did you intend "recent" as a signficant qualifier?)

In exile, Bhutto did oppose the military dictatorship of Musharraf (and before him that of Zia ul-Haq, who hanged her father). But there was no other way back to power for her and her family. When in office, though, she is said by some to have cynically encouraged the rise of the Taliban; she claimed to be "out of the loop" while Pakistan was secretly developing nuclear weapons; and her family profitted hugely from corruption. This daughter of privilege and power, attractive, smart, speaking excellent English, socially adept, product of Harvard and Oxford, assembled a court around her not unlike that around JFK and later his brothers, and that court did much to help her burnish the secular saint image. How saintly was she, though?

We in this country are very ill-informed about Pakistan's internal affairs, though Pakistan is so dangerous a place for us. Anne Applebaum, perhaps the smartest person writing for the Washington Post, had an excellent column a couple of days ago (Jan 1) about Bhutto as a member of "that not-very-exclusive club of foreign politicians who are admired or respected in the West but bitterly despised by at least a portion of their fellow citizens."
1.3.2008 2:17pm
neurodoc:
Don't know why, but can never manage to create links here. The Applebaum column, which I highly commend, can be found by going to:

1.3.2008 2:21pm
neurodoc:
OK, I couldn't even "spell" it out, so you will have to find it on your own. Sorry.
1.3.2008 2:22pm
Dave N (mail):
Neurodoc and others itnerested in Neurodoc's post:

Here is the link fromSlate and here is the link from the Washington Post (same article).
1.3.2008 2:31pm
hattio1:
Neurodoc,
Do you know any politician who isn't despised by at least a portion of their fellow citizens?
1.3.2008 2:49pm
bellisaurius (mail):
All this talk of nepotism, and not one mention of chicago and/or cook county?

Although, I do think in this case, political nepotism results from what I believe is it's actual cause, ie People like stability, aka the trough stays full, which is probably different from the thought that people are ignorant, rather, they're just self-interested.
1.3.2008 2:57pm
neurodoc:
Right, hattio1, it is never the case that a politician, even the most beloved of them, "isn't despised by at least a portion of their fellow citizens." But that's no more than reductio ad absurdum.

Bhutto was hated by a significant number of her countryman (no, I have no data to offer), and that threatened to turn murderous, as it did, and even threatened something close to civil war (still a threat without her around). When politicians are that despised in a country as divided, unstable, and volatile as Pakistan, it isn't a good thing for them or us. Many of those who hated Bhutto are unquestionably despicable, but that isn't so relevant here. (Sadat was better than what Egypt had had and what it has had since, but the despicable Muslim Brotherhood types were determined to dispose of him, and they did.)

We need to understand the world as it is and act accordingly, not go with misinformed, but pleasing notions (e.g., Bhutto as a Muslim Joan of Arc) that lead us in the wrong direction on foreign policy.

[PS Why have I never been able to create a link on VC using the link function and pasting in the website address?]
1.3.2008 3:26pm
ejo:
the problem with the stability argument is that it usually doesn't result in the trough being full for anyone but the beneficiary of the nepotism. I doubt the people of Zimbabwe are cheering the strong man rule of Mugabe because of "stability". the doctor is correct in terms of trying to graft what might be happening in this country, even in Cook County, onto what is happening in the Third World.
1.3.2008 3:41pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I suppose any method of choosing who to support fails when compared to doing an in depth analysis of the person and his positions. But, as Ilya Somin has often pointed out, most people don't bother. So, for the huge set of people who don't do the in depth analysis, yet continue to vote, what method is better than using family relationships? Friends, TV, newspapers, one's own family? How do we know they aren't rational ignoramuses, too?

Simply recommending the indepth analysis to the rationally ignorant avoids the hard issue. Start with the idea that they will absolutely not do the analysis, and they absolutely will vote. Now, what do you recommend that's better than family connections?
1.3.2008 3:49pm
Arkady:

Bhutto was wrong to assume that this logic is limited to female politicians in economically backward societies. Right here in the United States...


From the get-go at that: John Adams and John Quincy Adams
1.3.2008 4:00pm
Richard S (mail):
This is why John Adams called fame in general and having a famous name a "talent." After observing this phenomenon enough times in history and in his own day, Adams concluded that this was a natural thing. It is how human beings tend to be. To think it can be other wise is to hope for what cannot be.
1.3.2008 4:08pm
A.C.:
A lot of people at least consider going into the family business, whatever that may be. This is natural. But the boss's kid had better be good, or the business will tank.

One positive thing is that American political dynasties seem to burn out pretty fast. They aren't backed by the kind of wealth that the old feudal aristocracies were, if you think of the percentage of wealth in the society as a whole, so they remain more open to challenge by up-and-comers. Regression to the mean also plays a role, so you find a lot of dumb rich kids without the brains or ambition to run for city counsel. And, frankly, there are better ways to make money. All this keeps the political class churning, even if some families seem unusually prominent for a time.
1.3.2008 5:05pm
hattio1:
Neurodoc;
Your original post implied that Americans shouldn't become enamored of foreign politician who are despised by at least a portion of their population. It doesn't say significant portion. But that's sort of beside the point. Anybody who makes great changes will be despised by a significant portion of the population. Winston Churchhill, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Lincoln, Reagan, Oliver Cromwell.
If we don't "become enamored" of any foreign politican who is despised by a portion of their population, or even a significant portion, doesn't that mean we will miss both the good and the bad. Perhaps more importantly, given that all politicians are despised, doesn't that imply that we should keep ourselves ignorant of foreign affairs? Hardly the choice most of us would support.
1.3.2008 5:46pm
neurodoc:
If we don't "become enamored" of any foreign politican who is despised by a portion of their population, or even a significant portion, doesn't that mean we will miss both the good and the bad. Perhaps more importantly, given that all politicians are despised, doesn't that imply that we should keep ourselves ignorant of foreign affairs? Hardly the choice most of us would support.
That's silly on its face.

My point wasn't that "that Americans shouldn't become enamored of foreign politicians who are despised by at least a portion of their population." Every politician will be despised by some portion, substantial or insubstantial, of their countrymen and loved by others. (If none of their countrymen favored them, how could they be even minimally successful?) And some of those despising those politicians will themselves be among the most despicable (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt vis-a-vis Sadat, the Taliban types in Pakistan vis-a-vis Benzir Bhutto, etc.). My point was that it is perilously foolish of us to rely on the "package" persona we are served up here in the US of someone like Bhutto rather than inform ourselves about their track records while in opposition and in office, what they are really about rather than just how well they interview here, what forces are with them and against them, etc.

Again, I highly commend Anne Applebaum's 1/1/08 "The Two Benzir Bhuttos." Then put that together with the NYT's 12/30/07 "How Bhutto Won Washington."
1.3.2008 6:20pm
Rich (mail):
Nuerodoc

What are you suggesting as an alternative seeing as most people could not find Pakistan on a map and that the news is bombings and assassinations? All they hear from "people who know" is that Bhutto is that democracy supporting brave woman in that country that starts with a P. Since Pakistan is in no way central to their world what is left? We will continue to go down the perilous trail. Most people don't know national issues let alone international ones. If you can't get off your ass to find out about the plethora of national issues we have your not even going to reach for the remote on international ones.
1.4.2008 12:12am
neurodoc:
Rich, agreed. But is it too much to hope that those who make our foreign policy decisions are better informed than your "people who know" and tell others "Bhutto is that democracy supporting brave woman in that country that starts with a P"?

I do not mean to do a special number on Bhutto, she just happens to be a timely and very apt example of "image" that may not fully comport with "reality." We could talk about Putin, who our president assured us was OK because he had looked into the Russian's heart and seen that it was a good one, but I find it too painful to do so. (I'd like to believe that George W. isn't that stupid, that he was just trying to sell Vladimir to us because it was politically expedient at the time, but I'm not convinced.)
1.4.2008 1:22am
Rich (mail):
Nuerodoc

I do not even begin to hope that this will change. Too much exposure to foreign affairs and American perception as an Intel Analyst. The real deal is that until the perception is the country is a direct threat to the U.S. it won't change. Right now the perception is its a peripheral threat. And I have absolutely no confidence the average perception molder can place Pakistani politics in a form that is both accurate and easy to understand. Damn furriners!!
1.4.2008 9:26am
Elliot123 (mail):
Remember all the folks who had vapors in 2000 when Bush didn't know the leader of Pakistan? On last Sunday's talk shows, Hillary told the nation that Bhutto was a candidate running in the January presidential elections. Sounds good unless one considers the elections are for members of parliament and not president, and Bhutto was not a candidate. That's like confusing the US midtern congressional elections with the presidential elections. Experience counts.
1.4.2008 9:58pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Churchill is not a good example. When he first ran for Parliament, his father had been out of government for fourteen years, and dead for six years. Lord Randolph had been noted for recklessness in politics, and died of some kind of dementia (probably not syphilis, though). Winston, at his first election, was a celebrated war hero and author of best-selling books. Also, Randolph was elected from South Paddington, while Winston was elected from Oldham.

(Compare this to Bayh, Casey, Landrieu, Pryor, Murkowski, Sununu, and Dodd, all elected from areas where their parents were Big, and Gore, Taft, Chaffee, and Jerry Brown, doing the same earlier.)
1.5.2008 11:05pm