Although there have been myriad candidates from both parties that have announced their desire to run for president in the 2016 election, one would be hard-pressed to not acknowledge a few front-runners. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will likely be nominated by the Democrats. Among the Republicans, the nomination is a bit more open for the taking, but former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Florida) is an early favorite among establishment and business figures.
This has prompted political novices and other dilettantes to oversimplify, lamenting that American politics is dominated by two dynasties: the Bushes and the Clintons. However, doing so is remarkably naïve as it ignores the blatant differences between the two families in a pathetic display of a trite false-dichotomy.
Hillary Clinton is seen as part of a dynasty because, in addition to her own storied career in both the state department and the U.S. Senate, her husband Bill Clinton was the president for eight years. This is supposedly similar to Jeb Bush, whose father George H.W. Bush was the president for four years and whose brother George W. Bush was the president for eight years. But that is just the beginning of it for the Bush family.
"The Bush political dynasty spans four generations, and includes a U.S. Senator, a Vice Presidency, two presidencies, two governorships and the current Texas Land Commissioner," said Harold Cook, a Democratic political strategist in Austin. "The Clintons are a married couple from Arkansas who worked their way up."
The most recent Bush president, of course, also served six years as the Governor of Texas. And the first Bush president had a long and illustrious career before his ascent to the White House that included not only being vice president but director of the CIA, ambassador to China, chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ambassador to the United Nations and a congressman as well. His father, Prescott Bush, was a powerful Republican senator for many years.
But, more important than the delineation of these men's twentieth-century political offices, the Bush family has been in a position of financial privilege for numerous generations.
Comparing all that with, as Cook called it, one married couple, is laughably absurd. Neither Clinton was born into wealth, nor did they have any blood relatives who had achieved political success.
However, perhaps most importantly, Hillary Clinton was an integral part of her husband's political campaigns from the very beginning. The two reportedly worked as a team through both Bill Clinton's campaigns and his subsequent presidential administration.
Comparing this with Jeb Bush, the son of a president, the brother of a president, and a member of an outrageously powerful old-money family, is ridiculous. And while the vehicle these asinine comparisons have used is the overblown evenhandedness of contemporary politics, the main inspiration has been pathological hatred that Hillary Clinton inspires, both from Republicans and fellow Democrats.
The hatred sometimes digs up a suitable jab against the woman who could very easily be this country's 45th President. That she is aristocratic and in a dynasty are not among them.
Horwitz is a government senior from Houston. He is the Senior Associate Editor. Follow Horwitz on Twitter @NmHorwitz.