William Rusher

The Republicans, at the moment, are short of comparable alternatives. The Tafts of Ohio come to mind, but there is no member of that clan currently bidding for national political prominence. There are plenty of popular political candidates in the Republican ranks, but there is no acknowledged dynasty generating attractive contenders. One possible exception is the Bush family, which, after all, can boast two recent presidents and has at least one potentially appealing figure coming up through the ranks in Texas. But it's a little early to be building such expectations very high. Nor can we count out Ohio, where the Tafts may yet again surprise us with one or more interesting possibilities.

For all the perils of a political "dynasty," there is a good deal to be said for them. As already noted, they give us a comfortable sense of continuity -- in policies, and such desirable characteristics as probity. Now and again one figure in the clan may run against type (Westbrook Pegler famously called John Roosevelt "the white sheep of the Roosevelt family"), but by and large, we feel, and rightly, that we know what to expect of a Taft from Ohio, or one of the Democratic Roosevelts from New York.

So there is something to be said for political dynasties after all. They offer us a sense of security. And if they abuse their power, as political factions all too often do, they can always be ousted by the voters.

William Rusher

William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .

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