Dynasties and Double-Standards

I've got a new piece up at The Guardian's CifA, "Dynasties and Double-Standards," about the Today show hiring Jenna Bush Hager as a correspondent and how the decision is yet another example of erupting anger to dynasties and nepotism only or particularly once it's a daughter (or wife) who wants to get in on the action.
It was, even in many liberal circles, considered an impudent thing to complain in the 2000 presidential election that both candidates were legacies from prominent American families, resoundingly unfair to suggest a man couldn't, or shouldn't, be president just because of the family from which he came. What about the Kennedys?!

Yes, what about them indeed. There was very little uproar when Joe Kennedy and Patrick Kennedy brought a new generation of Kennedys to Congress, because the Kennedys are, after all, the good American dynasty. And so we never raised a fuss about any of them sliding into politics on their family name.

Until, of course, it was suggested that Caroline Kennedy be picked to fill the US Senate seat from New York vacated by Hillary Clinton when she moved to the US state department. Then came the chorus: Enough of this dynasty! Caroline Kennedy, an extremely accomplished, well-informed and intelligent woman, was suddenly being discussed as though she were Paris Hilton – just some heiress with a fancy name who pranced in with an oversized sense of entitlement. Whether she was the best person for the job was a secondary concern to the abruptly omnipresent assertion that she was undeserving by virtue of her genes.

And then there is the woman whose shoes she eventually did not fill: Hillary Clinton – the former first lady whose Senate run, presidential campaign and nomination to secretary of state were plagued with charges of dynasty and nepotism (and worse), the equivalent to which George Bush the younger was never subjected during his illustrious career executing people in Texas, ruining the country and breaking the world.

In fact, suggestions of dynastic intrigue during the 2000 election – which came down to a single state, Florida, in which Jeb Bush, brother of candidate GWB, was then governor – were dismissed as sour grapes at the time. And Clinton's recent mention of that fact, as an example of how the mere appearance of impropriety during an election can strain a democracy at its seams, was still considered "controversial".
Read the whole thing here.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus