For name check, check name

Before I begin, I would like to make clear that I had the idea for this post in the shower this morning, before I read this article in the Times. For serious.

So, it looks like Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is "Candidate Number 5." I hope it's all a big misunderstanding. But I got hung up on that "Junior" at the end of his name. And then I remembered that Delaware is basically getting a place-keeper in the Senate so Biden's son won't have any competition when he runs in two years. Both Jackson, Jr. and Biden the Younger are elected officials in their own right, so it doesn't stick in my craw the way appointing Caroline Kennedy to the vacant New York Senator opening would, but it's all of a piece. The people of Alaska were so hacked off by Murkowski picking his daughter to succeed him in the Senate that they changed state law. (This would have had the salubrious effect of preventing Sarah Palin from appointing herself [or anyone else] to succeed Ted Stevens, had he retained his Senate seat and then been forced out as a result of that pesky set of criminal convictions, so props to the people in Alaska.)

Mitt Romney is the son of the former governor of Michigan. And let's not forget about all those Udalls out west. I'm not going to pretend like Maine is immune.

If politics is the family business, it makes sense that multiple generations would enter in. Legacies benefit descendants, though getting into law school or medical school because your dad did isn't quite the same as getting fast-tracked for a major nomination (or worse, appointment). However distasteful dynastic politics may be, sometimes it works out well. Sometimes... not so much.

Having said all of this, it brings to mind one of the many, many reasons I am happy that Barack Obama won. His family name didn't smooth his way to the White House. Rather the opposite, in fact.

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