IT WAS WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE SECRET BEGINNING OF A DUAL DYNASTY IN THE WHITE HOUSE THAT COULD EXTEND INTO THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.
I have had more than my share of experience with Alzheimer’s disease. Two aunts, one grandmother and my dad were affected by it. I know the signs and understand the effects. Shortly after Ronald Reagan took office as President, I remarked to some friends that I believed that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. They only agreed with my diagnosis about two years later.
Yet, his people managed to cue him at the right times to say the right things, and, somehow, they also managed to get him reelected in 1984. When he got up and said “Mr. Gorbachev tear this wall down.” in 1987, we cheered. Even I, someone who never appreciated his politics, and who believed him to be entering deeper and deeper into dementia, cheered. He may have been saying words that were put into his mouth, but they were the right words at the right time, and, so, cheer I did.
This space, as you know, is politically based. The Lib and I generally don’t talk about much that isn’t political in our blog. In fact, most of our friends will tell you that politics is the prime directive in both of our conversational lives too. Yet, I am not going into the arena of political philosophy for most of this column. I am, instead, going to discuss the last 25 years of leadership in our country, political positions, notwithstanding, and what could be a future the founders of our country would never have considered.
If you believe, as I sincerely do, that by 1983 Ronald Wilson Reagan was no longer mentally able to lead our country, then you must ask the question, “Who was in charge?” Some have speculated that the President’s wife, Nancy, was running the country then. I doubt it. She may have acted in an advisory capacity, but it is my guess that from 1983 to January 20, 1989, this country was being led in the background by Vice President, then President, George Herbert Walker Bush.
Again, politics is not the issue here. It is, instead, what may have been the secret beginning of a dual dynasty in the White House that could actually extend far into the foreseeable future. Consider that Bush 41 may have been the defacto President until the end of Reagan’s second term. He then served as President for the following 4 years.
He was replaced by William Jefferson Clinton who remained in office for the next 8 years.
And he was followed by George W. Bush, whose second term will end on January 20, 2009.
This is where it gets somewhat interesting, because the leading candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in the election of 2008 is Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who, if as I expect, will be nominated and elected, could conceivably remain in office until January 20, 2017. At that point, either a Bush or a Clinton would have been in charge, either by election or circumstance, for around a quarter of a century.
But now let’s take this theory out to what may be its fantastic yet logical end.
President Hillary Clinton, who will set this country back on the right course, could be succeeded by former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, the current President’s brother. That is a prospect that I find to be truly frightening as Governor Bush is believed to be just as evil as his younger brother but one hell of a lot smarter. And, so, the election of Jeb Bush would give the far right a new opportunity to take this country right back down the path to perdition, but in a far more intelligent manner than was used by his intellectually inferior brother.
But wait, there’s more!
You see, by 2024, Chelsea Clinton will be 45, old enough to not only become the second woman to occupy the White House, but also the youngest President in our history, beating her father’s record by one year. Upon reversing all of the havoc brought about by the Jeb Bush Administration, President Chelsea Clinton will complete two successful terms in office.
Then in 2032, W’s twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, will be 52 and ready to run.
Well, you get the picture.
The fact is that our founders never believed in dynasties, and neither do I. And this is where I return to discussing partisan politics. (Oh, alright, I did already get a couple of Bush digs in, but, not too many).
You see, in my youth, people with the political philosophy of Bill and Hillary Clinton were known as Republicans. That didn’t make them bad. In fact, some of them were pretty damned good. They included the likes of President Dwight David Eisenhower, Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Senators Jack Javits and Ken Keating and Mayor John Lindsay, all of New York.
In those days, we often crossed political party lines because politics was more civil than it is today. In those days, we all cared about America and the well being of Americans, all Americans. We might have thought differently about the means to accomplish the goal of a better country, but we weren’t malicious.
Today, civility in politics has found its home in the Democratic Party, and that has resulted in a party that really is the big tent that the Republican Party claims to be.
But that, to me, is problematic because I am so liberal that former Senator and current Republican wannabe, Fred Thomson of Tennessee, might consider me to be a pinko, someone who belongs in the former Soviet Union that he seems to think still exists. The problem is that my pinko philosophy has never made me all that comfortable with the Clintons.
Unfortunately, that would put me in a position of knowing that I will be supporting Senator Clinton in the upcoming election because she is better than any of the Republican candidates by a country mile, and, frankly, as I see it, far more experienced and/or skilled than any of her declared Democratic rivals, even though she would not be my first choice for the job.
But on Friday October 12, the doors of heaven may have opened just a tad. On that particular Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to none other than former Vice President Al Gore, the guy who actually won the 2000 Presidential election. And that gave new strength to the rumors that Gore might, at some point, jump into the race this year.
Of course, the hypothesis versus the reality still leaves quite a gap between dreams and truths. Yet, the mere possibility of another viable, and in Gore’s case, really liberal, Democratic candidate entering the race set my mind all aflutter. Of course, the pundits are having a field day with this, ranging from the “I spoke to the Gore family, and he’s going to declare tomorrow” guys to the “I spoke to the Vice President, personally, and he assured me that he has no interest in entering the race” camp.
Well, to paraphrase the fans of Forrest Gump, “Run Al run”. We not only need a Democrat who can win, we need a Democrat who supports the things Democrats are supposed to support.
We live in tough times. We are led by a President who it seems would be more comfortable asking us whether or not we want to super size our order than he is at running the country. Under his watch we have gone from being a country of peace and inclusion to being one of war and separation. It is almost as if the immortal words of Emma Lazarus that appear on the Statue of Liberty had been changed to read, “Give me your white folks, your straights and those who speak English the way we like.”
Continuing the dynastic Clinton/Bush control of this countries destiny may not be in our best interest, and, if it is to be broken, the leader that ends it must not come from the right. He or she must come from the left. To me, the answer is a no brainer. To me, the person to lead us away from right wing fanaticism and the rule of two families is a clear choice, Al Gore.
In the event that doesn’t happen, Senator Clinton is certainly a far better choice for President than any of the alternatives. Yet, we must go into her election with an understanding of the importance of ending that Clinton/Bush dynasty after the expiration of her second term. Our founders never envisioned our country in that way, and we must not allow it to become the monarchy they fought and died to overthrow.
HENRY A. HONIG – THE PUNDIT