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To me – to you – to me – to you
So, where do they go then – these oligarchs after they try out for President? Well, after being knocked back some keep coming back for more. Others quietly retire to write their memoirs seeking to bend the ear of an unheeding posterity as they, Thucydides-like, justify their errors and misapprehensions. Yet more float about in a sort of Carteresque afterlife “doing good” bringing joy and happiness to parts of the world that otherwise thought they had mercifully avoided the attentions of the good ol US of A.
Can I talk to you about God?
Some take up religion, others seek new pastures and fresh challenges, and if there is a gravy train running through those said pastures, well then so much the better. If you can combine the lot oh then magnificent that’s the best of all. One may become elevated to “national treasure” or even “statesman”. Dinners, lecture tours, TV Spots, book promos, videos, films, all these will be yours my son. It’s like politics without the criticism – or the damned bloody voters. Ah, nirvana!
So perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised to find a couple of our old oligarchs stumping about with their shiny new causes, and their squeaky new campaigns. And today’s big issue, the best of all new causes, the acme of all new campaigns, the freshest religion of any (right now) – is Climate Change.
Oh this one just hits so many buttons. And it is where we find two old warhorses of the Presidential campaign trail. Senator John Kerry and former Vice President, the once? and future President, and self acknowledged inventor of the World Wide Web Al Gore. Blue to their boots, green as they come and both telling us how. Combining religiosity and money – how very American.
I don’t want to get into the actual rights and wrongs of whether climate change is down to the actions of man or not – there are plenty of places for you to go to find out more. What I am interested in is that these two seek pro-consular positions here on the world stage.
In the last Presidential race the contender John Forbes Kerry for the Democratic Party was often described as being the grandson of Czech grandparents, (that should put you off the scent), a war hero, and the man lucky enough to have married the heiress of a baked bean manufacturer. All this was undoubtedly true, but he was also described and noted as being the distant relative of George Bush.
This was in the usual shock-horror-fancy-that school of journalism. Most articles (and there were not many of them) when they chose to elaborate on the interest that this aroused (which was admittedly not very much) took the line back up through nine generations of his well connected grandmother Margaret Tyndal Winthrop to the two daughters Margaret and Elizabeth Reade of Edmund and Elizabeth Reade who lived way back in the early seventeenth century. The other sister’s line led back down to the Bushes. Note was made in the article of four Presidents in the family and the Bushes were the obvious first two and Pierce, through Bush’s mother Barbara Pierce Bush would be the next but who was the fourth? It was not at all clear whom this distant noble might be but the assumption left with the reader was that it must be at least if not even more obscure, the kind of nugget only to be diligently winkled out of the woodwork by dusty old genealogists.
Of course you can guess that it was deal sight nearer than that! Kerry had the distinction and we may decide how much of an advantage he thought it was to have an uncle one Alastair Forbes, a charming malicious, gossipy journalist and bon viveur who made much of his connection not just with the young Senator but also with his own cousinship to F D Roosevelt[i].[ii] Presidential family was therefore not so very far away after all.
Thus the first Presidential contest of the twenty-first century was fought out in the grand old manner with two scions of the old oligopoly.
Al Gore was the Democrat Presidential candidate for 2000 and as sitting Vice President was considered a shoo in for the election. This last election of the twentieth century was also fought between two scions of the old oligarchy. George Bush was not considered as experienced a candidate as Gore so when the election ended -as we all remember with the decision being settled not by the people but by the Supreme Court and India offering to send observers to the next elections to assist the people of America- to say it was a surprise would be an understatement.
Al Gore was Senator from Tennessee as was his father also an Albert Gore. The family had long been involved in southern politics, and there are the constant statements that his father – the first Senator Albert Gore is sixth cousin with the world famous writer Gore Vidal. Surprisingly it is Gore Vidal’s side of the family that is better connected politically. Gore Vidal’s grandfather was also a Senator Gore better known as “Blind Gore” from Oklahoma. His mother married Eugene Vidal the one time Director of Commerce under Roosevelt, and she married later the staggeringly rich Hugh Dudley Auchincloss III and their daughter, Gore Vidal’s half sister Nina, married Newton Steers jr a US Representative from Maryland.
But most famously Hugh Dudley Auchincloss III’s second wife was Janet Norton Lee who herself had married a Bouvier and had a daughter Jacqui.
Jacqui Bouvier married John Fitzgerald Kennedy 35th President of the United States of America.
Incidentally Gore Vidal is also 5th cousin to Jimmy Carter 39th President of the United States.
I understand that Gore Vidal has not met with his less well-connected cousin.
[i] The Spectator Magazine London 28 May 2005 pg 47
[ii] Senator Kerry’s connection with F.D. Roosevelt lies through Elizabeth Tailer and her husband John Nelson who were his ancestors through their daughter Rebecca. Senator Kerry is descended through the Stoughton family William Stoughton Lt-Gov of Massachusetts who lived 1631-101 and presided over the Salem Witch trials and later became Chief Justice of Massachusetts 1695-1701 see D.A.B.
Sources: Include on Stoughton in general -Roberts, Gary Boyd Genealogical Thoughts 22 & 58; and Reitweisner, William Addams The Ancestors of Senator John Forbes Kerry at http://members.aol.com/wreitwiesner/candidates 2004/kerry html. Powell, Kimberley Ancestry of John Forbes Kerry at http://genealogy.aboutcamlod/presidents/p/john_kerry.htm Most of the Kerry-Stoughton-Tailer-Nelson-Temple descent has been described at Roberts Gary Boyd The Royal Descents of 600 immigrants to the American Colonies of the United States (Baltimore 1993) pp 148, 53-4
Copyright David Macadam 2010