‘Dynasty’

by Jay Nordlinger

And I don’t mean a show starring Linda Evans. Or a Louisiana duck-calling family. Since 2008, we have talked a lot about political “dynasties.” That’s because Jeb Bush is a possible candidate for president. Now, I realize that language is often used metaphorically: We couldn’t talk without such usage.

In a recent column, I talked of encountering deviled duck hearts on a London menu. I asked the waitress, “Are they really deviled duck hearts?” Or is the phrase a metaphor, such as “pigs in a blanket” or “baked Alaska”? No, they were actually deviled duck hearts.

Anyway, I am not opposed to metaphorical language, far from it. But in a dynasty, power passes from one king to his son. There are dictatorial dynasties, too: such as in Pyongyang and Damascus. Here in America, we make free and democratic choices.

If we elected Adamses or Freylinghusens or Harrisons or Roosevelts or Tafts or Kennedys or Bushes — these are free and democratic choices. You can vote against their opponents, if you want. And many have.

Sons tend to follow fathers into professions. This is true in politics, law, medicine, music, sports, finance, education — just about everything. It is an interesting fact, I’ve always thought, that the fathers of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven were all professional musicians. And those are just the Big Three.

Anyway, to the Bushes (and we’ll leave Hillary Clinton to one side, because she’s a spouse): I know that 41, 43, and Jeb are related, obviously. But, frankly, I have always viewed them as distinct and individual men. They are different from one another. Each is his own guy.

But back to my main point: I may prefer Smith or Jones — or Cruz! — but if you prefer Adams or Roosevelt or Kennedy or Bush, that’s your business. This is a democracy, and people have a right to participate in it, even if their relatives already have.

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