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Massachusetts has been Democrat for so long that any change seemed almost unimaginable.  It was as long ago as 1972 that the Republicans last held it and they were hardly been touted as favourites this time either.

 Teddy Kennedy’s vice like grip on the State’s politics seemed absolute, so for Scott Brown to prise the dead hand off the tiller was extraordinary.  He seemed to pop up out of nowhere.  And some of the publicity featured pop-ups from his past as with that photo set he did years ago for Cosmopolitan.  I include this purely for informational purposes.  I cant see this as a feature of British politics.  The idea of Gordy or Davy recycling nudie photos of their youth would probably be rather counter productive!  The original photo came from http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/news/scott-brown-nude-in-cosmo

So for the New England Historic Genealogical Society to come along with the apparent novelty that this ingénue Scott Brown and Obama are actually related,  a fact they had clearly researched well before and kept back for the right moment, and then to show surprise might seem extraordinary.  Shock horror!   Who would have thought it?  

Well anyone who is aware of the strange hold the old oligarchy still exerts on US Politics especially in those older states like Massachusetts would have thought it.

The article showed that they are related through their maternal lines, through  Obama’s frightfully well connected old mother Stanley Ann Durham, and Brown’s mother Judith Ann Rugg who share a descent from one Richard Singletory of Harowhill, Mass who died at the highly unlikely age of 102 in 1687. This makes them 10th cousins.  Not close even by genealogists’ standards but that isn’t the point.  The fact remains they are drawn from the same stock.

 The same society news item has shown that President Obama is related to Presidents James Madison; Harry S Truman; Lyndon Johnston; Gerald Ford; Jimmy Carter; G H W Bush and G W Bush as a further astonishing fact of the gee wiz school.  And in case you think its simply a one-off chancy kind of thing for Brown – the same article goes on to show that Senator Scott Brown is himself also related to G.W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and Rutherford B Hayes.  Quite a haul really, and no one seems to have asked the next question.   What does this mean?

 Are you related to half a dozen Presidents of the Union?  No?  Me neither.  The guy sitting in the next office cubicle to you, or down the pub, or running the local farm or shop?  No?  Thought not.

 So the electors of Massachusetts have replaced one scion of the oligarchy, Teddy Kennedy- Senator, brother of Senators, brother of President, relative to the  Governator of California, among others, with another sprig of the same stock.

With Obama the article then segues off to gloss over these facts, drawing attention instead away to some deep ancestor like William I of Scotland, thereby kicking attention well into touch.

But look at the ones we are shown- seven Presidents and apart from Madison none are exactly ancient.  These are not half  forgotten relicts of some far off half forgotten past but all were Presidents serving during and after the Second World War and right through the second half of the twentieth century and right up to last year.  All Presidents in the last sixty years. You knew them –  every one.

 And this does not beg questions?

At every turn there are those seeking to link the Presidents or those who wish to be President, or even Senator or Governor with their predecessors.  Even those who are Vice President.  During the last election Dick Cheney’s wife Lynne was writing a biography of Dick to be called “Blue Skies, No Fences” and let it be known that her little Richard was related not just to George Bush but to Obama too.  It was for a brief moment on a dull day (October 18, 2007) almost news, then it died away. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_america/article2677660.ece

Its not a new thing either.  Others have played on such connections in the past.  I might choose Taft, President from 1909 to 1913.  Not simply because his was an oligarch descent if any was, but because the family probably did not arrive on the “Mayflower”.  They actually arrived only a few years after.   However he felt it important to say he was.  Blue as the blood was he still needed that final imprimatur.   He made much of his purported “Mayflower” connections though to the extent that he even called the little boat that he used to slip into east coast harbours whilst on the campaign trail in Massachusetts,“Mayflower”, and to have the local press photographer  turn up to photograph him and the boat.  Thereby unsubtly reinforcing the message.

 Why do they keep doing it?  Brash forward thinking modernists it’s odd to think of Americans in any age as being given to nostalgia.

They do it to show that they are part of the club, each a little shard of the greater oligarchy.

Perhaps the next post would be to go back to the beginning…..

Copyright David Macadam 2010