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No, no, Winthrop I insist after you…….
The ambition of family, the persistence of oligarchy in the system which is seen throughout this blog, extends not simply to the connections of those who achieve the offices of President or Vice President, but with the continued repeated pattern of attempts, many admittedly unsuccessful, to gain power by those from the oligarchical families. A large number of Presidential families have members, usually sons of former Presidents, who strive to rise, as well as members who trade on their names and connections. We saw Robert Taft jr was one such repeatedly unsuccessful nominee. Most importantly we should also remember that just by getting to these positions the ultimately unsuccessful candidate is blocking the accession of another possibly more representative member.
There is this ever present sense of lost opportunities, of chances missed, and possibilities squandered when the establishment seek to foist a palpably awful oligarch onto a resistant electorate. The obvious happens and the dud is rejected.
And this is not a phenomenon that is seen in the nineteenth century, where we are invited to agree America is a country of more limited horizons. Instead we find again this is a phenomenon that increases over time rather than retreats. This is not what I expected. It shows that the oligarchy is gaining influence rather than losing it.
In the nineteenth century there were three only, Charles Francis Adams, Robert Lincoln, James Garfield jr but in the twentieth there were seven! Teddy Roosevelt jr, John and James Roosevelt the sons of FDR, Robert Taft, Milton Eisenhower, and Bobby and Teddy Kennedy.
Copyright David Macadam 2010