Foon Rhee

Foon Rhee: A third President Bush? No thanks. The Oval Office is no place for nepotism.

Published: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 12A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 29, 2013 - 8:52 am

As Barack Obama and many others never tire of telling us, part of the American Dream is that anyone can grow up to be president.

That's not exactly true, of course. It takes smarts and charisma, ambition and ego, money and key allies, and quite a bit of luck to get anywhere close to the White House.

Still, we're not supposed to have political royalty in our democracy, born of a revolution against the British king.

So it made me cringe to see the story on the front page of Friday's New York Times, also published in The Bee, about supporters already talking up Jeb Bush as a potential presidential contender in 2016. That would be the former Florida governor who is the son of George H.W. Bush, our 41st president, and brother of George W. Bush, our 43rd.

He's smarter than W., his wife is from Mexico and he speaks fluent Spanish, so I understand why he is attractive to Republicans who are shell-shocked from this year's election and trying to reach out to Latinos.

But enough already. Would it really be wise to have a third Bush as president? That would definitely be a dynasty.

For the same reason, I don't want Hillary Clinton to run on the Democratic side in 2016, even though I admire her greatly. I vividly remember sitting in the press gallery about 20 feet away when she spoke to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1996. I was mesmerized, and knew she would soon be seeking elected office.

She was a productive U.S. senator, ran a strong presidential campaign in 2008 and has been a stellar secretary of state. But she should ignore Bill Clinton and the Clinton acolytes who are whispering in her ear about seeking the presidency.

It's mind-boggling to realize that 2012 was the first presidential campaign since 1984, when Ronald Reagan won re-election over Walter Mondale, in which neither a Bush nor a Clinton was running.

Let that sink in for a minute. An entire generation of voters knew nothing other than being able to support either a Bush or a Clinton for president.

However qualified Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are, there's no reason to start a new streak in 2016. Nostalgia is all well and good, but the Oval Office is the last place we should want nepotism.

Candidates for the highest office in the land ought to be judged on their own merits and accomplishments. It would be much better for us to find our leaders from well beyond the list of usual suspects.

Instead of another Bush or Clinton, I would much prefer a president who emerges from the great diversity that is America – someone, actually, like Barack Obama.

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Read more articles by Foon Rhee, Associate editor

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