In the news recently has been the topic of Brendan Johnson possibly being appointed to the position of US Attorney for South Dakota. While various people have pontificated on whether it would be wrong, since his father (Tim Johnson) is a sitting senator from the same state, perhaps it would be helpful to place it into a larger context:
Barack Obama’s path to the presidency included beating what had been one of the nation’s most powerful families. But, in an unusual twist, his election last month is helping accelerate the trend toward dynasty politics.
His secretary of state will be Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president. The Senate seat she’ll vacate is being pursued by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of a president and the niece of two senators. Joe Biden’s Senate seat may go to his son Beau. Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama’s pick for interior secretary, could end up being replaced by his brother, Rep. John Salazar.
There is more, so go read the article, but the bottom line is this: people are being selected for high public offices based on name recognition and family connections with remarkable frequency. This is particularly true for Democrats (who are more visible as the party in charge).
I am not saying that having a politically famous mother or father should disqualify one from holding public office. Far from it. I am saying that an additional level of scrutiny should be applied to such choices to ensure that we are not appointing/electing people based on who they know rather than what they know.
Unlike a monarchy, a democratic-republic does well to not assume that birth is sufficient to lead (or follow, for that matter).
Betsy has even more along these same lines.