(Providence, Rhode Island) – I received a lot of feedback on my column from last week about the potential match-up between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush in the 2016 Presidential race. In fact, I wound up on KGO Radio AM-810 in San Francisco and on WPRO Radio AM-630 in Providence to talk more about it. It got me thinking about why we – the press and the public – seem to like legacy candidates. More of them are in the pipeline, too! Let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“Bush Generation #4” – It didn’t make a lot of headlines this year, given all of the other big political news, but George P. Bush was elected Texas Land Commissioner in November. At 38, Bush is a lawyer and a Lt. j.g. in the U.S. Navy Reserve, including a stint in Afghanistan. His mom is Latina and he is fluent in Spanish. He is the son of former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL); the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush (pictured above, with Senator Ted Kennedy, D-MA); and the great-grandson of former Senator Prescott Bush (R-CT). His future looks promising.
“Kennedy Generation #4” – Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) is unmistakable in a crowd. With bright red hair and the trademark Kennedy face and smile, you can’t miss him. He was just elected to his second term in the House, having succeeded longtime Congressman Barney Frank. Kennedy appears to have a bright future. “Hi, I’m Joe,” he said to me the first time we met, as if I didn’t know! At 34, he is a lawyer and former prosecutor. He is the son of former Rep. Joe Kennedy II (D-MA); the grandson of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY); and great-grandson of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Joseph Kennedy, Sr.
“Clinton, Too?” – While everyone is chattering about whether former First Lady Hillary Clinton will reoccupy the White House as President, keep an eye on daughter Chelsea, too. I know she just had a baby at age 34, so a political campaign is not imminent, but she may run for office some day. Aside from her parents, her husband Marc Mezvinsky is the son of former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-PA) and former Rep. Ed Mezvinsky (D-IA). Politics – as they say – appears to be “all in the family!”
“Bet on Biden” – Another next-generation politician to keep an eye on is Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden. Elected to two-terms as Attorney General, Biden passed on running for the U.S. Senate seat once held by his father. The younger Biden also continued his military service in Iraq, as a member of the Army and Delaware National Guard. At 45, his future looks wide-open and he has already announced he will run for Governor of Delaware in 2016.
“Another Magaziner” – Here in Rhode Island, another well-known political name entered the landscape this year. Seth Magaziner – a Democrat – was elected the state’s General Treasurer. He is the son for former Clinton White House health care advisor, Ira Magaziner. At 31, the younger Magaziner is well-connected, (he had both the Kennedys and the Clintons campaigning for him). He’s likely a candidate for higher office down the road, so keep his name in your political Rolodex. (Does the Rolodex even exist anymore?)
“Another Graham” – At 51, Gwen Graham is not nearly as young as some of the people I’ve discussed, but she certainly has political lineage. She is now Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL) and is the daughter for former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), who also served two terms as Florida Governor. He late aunt and uncle were Katherine and Philip Graham, longtime owners of the Washington Post. Gwen Graham was elected to her first term in Congress in November, but may have ambitions beyond the House of Representatives. Stay tuned!
“Two Pauls” – Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) made three runs for the White House, and really captured the fancy of the more Libertarian wing of the GOP. His son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), is an oft-mentioned potential candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. Both Pauls are medical doctors. At 51, Rand may have a few more chances at the White House, even if he chooses not to run next year.
“Nunn of the Above” – Michelle Nunn made a bold run for the U.S. Senate from Georgia this year, where here dad Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) served for 25 years. She lost to businessman David Perdue, 53 percent to 45 percent. But she is seen as having a bright future in the Democratic Party in Georgia, and at age 48, has plenty of opportunity to run for public office again.
“Why All of This Matters?” – We are sometimes a voting public that is contradictory. The United States was founded, in part, as an anti-royalty movement. We elect our leaders; we have no kings and queens. Yet, it has always puzzled me that we have so often elected multiple generations of the same families to public office, almost as if they were royalty. The Bushes and Kennedys come to mind in the modern era, but we also elected John Adams, and son John Quincy Adams, our second and sixth Presidents. If nothing else we like familiarity and institutional knowledge in our candidates. Sometimes we say, “Well, the dad was a good public official; maybe the son or daughter will be good, too!”
What are your thoughts? Have you ever voted for famous political relatives? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.