It’s Luke Russert’s world, we’re just living in it

I can’t believe even Gregg Easterbrook can say this with a straight face.

Today China, India, the United States, Indonesia and Brazil, the world’s five largest nations, representing more than half of the global population, have abolished all forms of inherited rule.

50 replies
  1. 1
    Loneoak says:

    OT, but the greatest thing ever written: Michele Bachmann gets defensive after farting in crowded mall elevator.

    A very concise summary of teabaggery.

  2. 2
    David Hunt says:

    Well, we finally got GWB out of office. That’s a step in the right direction.

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    @David Hunt:
    And not only that, but W. was so bad that even Jeb can’t get any Jebmentum going. The Bush brand has been damaged.

    OT – Just wanted to mention that I was in the car around lunch time and listened to Rush’s show to see what he was talking about. It was non-stop Wisconsin and unions. I figure this must be a big deal if it was the ONLY thing Rush was willing to talk about today.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    Umm…We’ve had two father-son presidencies so far, one set of cousins, and the Kennedys for awhile looked like a major political family here. Dubya was pretty bad, but the worst part is all his appointees that will take decades to wash out of the American system. If it makes it that far.

  5. 5
    El Cid says:

    Well, maybe formal inherited rule. It’s inherited rule in politics, education, corporate leadership, and economic policies.

  6. 6
    joeyess says:

    Am I reading that subtitle wrong or does it just make no fucking sense to anyone else?

    I can’t believe any Gregg Easterbrook can this with a straight face.


  7. 7
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Now if only we could just do something about all that inherited money.

  8. 8
    DougJ® says:


    Sorry, “any” should have been “even”. I fixed it.

  9. 9
    KG says:

    I think people, generally speaking, like the idea of continuity or even dynasty to a certain extent. That’s why Hillary Clinton could run for the Senate, or Al Gore could run for the Senate, or why GHW Bush could get the gigs he got before being Vice President (and obviously W’s only qualification to be governor, let alone president was his pedigree), or anyone with the name “Kennedy” being considered for an open Senate seat in Massachusetts or New York, it’s why people talk about Ron Reagan running for Congress as a liberal Democrat or Michael Reagan as a conservative Republican. It is why Paris Hilton is famous for, um, what exactly?

    I think it’s comforting for people to believe that talent is transferrable. But it’s not really talent, it’s connections.

  10. 10
    joeyess says:

    @DougJ®: Phew! I thought I was suffering from some kind of temporary dyslexia.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I don’t who Gregg Easterbrook is but he has no idea what he is talking about. Nehru-Gandhi (as in Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, no relation to Mahatma Gandhi, she was married to Feroze Gandhi) dynasty is still going pretty strong in India. Rajiv Gandhi’s widow (Sonia) is the defacto head of Congress party and I won’t be too surprised if Rahul or Priyanka (Rajiv’s children) become the leaders of their party and India someday. Dynastic succession is alive and well in India.

  13. 13
    Warren Terra says:

    George Dubya, Sonia Gandhi, and any number of plutocrats like the Koch brothers who don’t condescend to hold public office and instead simply buy their preferred policies would lie to disagree.

  14. 14

    Given the last 10 years, I’m not entirely convinced that democratic rule is really all that better than a monarchy.

    I mean, on the one hand, every now and again, you get more than a few insane, syphilitic, inbred jackholes claiming to be God’s gift to humanity who are very unfit to rule elevated to higher office, and on the other hand you’ve got pretty much the same thing, plus campaign commercials every two years.

  15. 15
    PurpleGirl says:

    @David Hunt: But the pundits keep talking about bringing in Jeb (Jed? — I can never get the name right).

  16. 16
    SP says:

    Since it’s the news of the week, anyone notice that the Speaker of the Wisconsin House is Jeff Fitzgerald, head of the Senate is Scott Fitzgerald, and the head of the state police sent to look for the Dems is Steve Fitzgerald? Steve’s the dad, appointed by son Scott, Jeff is the other son.

  17. 17
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Our contemporary elites are just more efficient than in the old days, that is all. Ruling is for suckers and policy wonks.

    After all, what exactly is the point in ruling (with all the work and fuss and potential risk which that entails) when you can skip straight to the looting without bothering over the usual preliminaries?

  18. 18
    Yutsano says:


    I figure this must be a big deal if it was the ONLY thing Rush was willing to talk about today.

    Are they frightened? Not nearly frightened enough.

  19. 19
    Scott P. says:

    Umm…We’ve had two father-son presidencies so far

    And Benjamin Harrison was William Henry Harrison’s grandson.

  20. 20
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Yutsano: We also had a grandfather/grandson. William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. Neither were particularly notable presidents; the grandfather dying soon after his inauguration.

  21. 21
    birthmarker says:

    @Violet: Someone over at Kos said there is going to be a Support Walker rally tomorrow in Wisconsin. Rush is probably just ginning up the base to attend. I just wonder how many will actually be from Wisconsin. Sounds like town hall meetings all over again. Does anyone know if some of the people who do that sort of thing get paid? (To be sure it looks like a decent crowd?) Or just a free bus ride? Maybe a box lunch? Just curious.

  22. 22
    Yutsano says:

    @Scott P.: @phoebes-in-santa fe: Wasn’t he the filling to the Grover Cleveland sandwich? Or r I cornfuzzled?

  23. 23
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Scott P.: I think she was talking about the Adams father and son and the Bush father and son.

  24. 24
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Scott P.: John Adams and John Quincy Adams; George HW Bush and George Bush

  25. 25
    Yutsano says:

    Sounds like it’s time to break out this little ditty again. Though I confess I never knew of the Harrison connection until now.

  26. 26
    KG says:

    @Yutsano: the Roosevelts were also related, and Eleanor did have a career as a diplomat after FDR died.

    ETA: for the family tree issues, TR and FDR were fifth cousins, and Eleanor was TR’s niece, I believe.

  27. 27
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @DougJ®: Not to be pedantic, but you’re still missing a verb in there somewhere. OK, I admit it: I did mean to be pedantic.

  28. 28
    Amir_Khalid says:


    I can’t believe even Gregg Easterbrook can this with a straight face.

    You’re still missing a verb between “can” and “this”.

    ETA: Dang. Beaten to iy by fssteddie9318.

  29. 29
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @phoebes-in-santa fe:
    That’s why he said “AND Benjamin Harrison was William Henry Harrison’s grandson.”

  30. 30
    KG says:

    The presidency isn’t where we really see the dynastic politics form though… it’s really more at the state level and in congress, I think. How many current members of Congress are children of former (or in the case of the Pauls, current) members?

  31. 31
    someofparts says:

    and India is even gearing up for genocide

  32. 32
    GVG says:

    Um, I’ll buck the trend and say our mild 2 or maybe 3 generation trends to have a few families achieve some power just doesn’t even compare to historical monarchies (not to mention modern) and countries with actual aristocracies with power. Our power “families” still have to run for office or buy votes and it doesn’t always work. they still lose sometimes even if they do have huge advantages. there also just aren’t as many an in a country run by only a certain born class. sure they do have huge advantages and we aren’t completely free of it, but its just not as pervasive. It also dies out after a few generation, and never goes on and on like 10 generations.
    I have higher concerns over other issues.

  33. 33
    Sockpuppet says:

    China’s many, many Princelings say ‘sup.

  34. 34
    PurpleGirl says:

    @KG: State governors and local level politicians: Jerry Brown and his father, Pat; Andrew Cuoma and his father, Mario. NYC council or state legislators: Pete Vallone and son Peter; in the Bronx there’s a father and son pair who have had the same district. Lots more pairs, I’m sure.

  35. 35
    DFH no.6 says:

    Been following and participating in politics since the late 60s, but my son the poli-sci grad hit me upside the head recently with a truth that I had not really grasped before:

    He said (I’m paraphrasing), “Dad, the ruling elites have found a way to have the fascist oligarchy they want for themselves, without having to do it with a totalitarian, or even overtly authoritarian, police state. We have an appearance of political freedom (elections, sometimes a Democrat gets to be president, etc.) but the ruling elite hold all the economic cards, so they win.”

    And those ruling elites are often dynastic.

  36. 36
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    It is possible that we have it even worse now because our here-today-gone-tomorrow elites have no sense of what in the old days they used to call stewardship (or what we today would call sustainability) which lay behind the old school small c-conservative ethos.
    It never even occurs to them that it might be a good idea to try to leave something better than smoking ruins to the grandkids.
    Can anybody imagine an FDR coming out of the circles of the rich today?

  37. 37
    NonyNony says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    I mean, on the one hand, every now and again, you get more than a few insane, syphilitic, inbred jackholes claiming to be God’s gift to humanity who are very unfit to rule elevated to higher office, and on the other hand you’ve got pretty much the same thing, plus campaign commercials every two years

    I thought you were going to go the other way with the joke and say “… and on the other hand you’ve got the same thing, except there’s a nice looking crown attached to the job.”

    But seriously there are differences. The main difference is that in a monarchy you’ve got one family running the show and when they produce an asshole moron as an heir everyone has two choices: deal with it or foment revolution. There’s no middle ground. In a plutocratic-democracy where you’ve got multiple wealthy families all scrambling to run the show you’ve got a variety of self-interested folks looking out for themselves. If an asshole moron ascends into power you have a few more choices – deal with it, foment revolution, wait him out, undermine him every possible way. You don’t have to turn to violence, there are other options.

    Sadly those options are in play even when the guy running things isn’t an asshole moron. And they don’t always work to stop idiots when the plutocratic families are as degenerate as the ones in the US are. Because Holy Jeebus the third and fourth generation offspring of wealth are really a pack of idiots in this country. I can’t figure out how most of them remember to breathe sometimes. So that’s a flaw in the system. In a monarchy most of those lesser scions would have done something stupid enough to get themselves executed for treason. In our system they get reality shows instead.

  38. 38
    DougJ® says:

    Thanks for the corrections and sorry about that.

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @DFH no.6:

    The jackbooted thug style of authoritarian rule is for people who suck at marketing.

    A related question: who was the last major public figure in the US (e.g. a politician, or somebody very visible in the media or in the business world) who suffered ruin and disgrace because they were caught lying? Not for breaking the law or for fucking up something via sheer incompetence, but simply for telling blatant and demonstrable falsehoods in public.

    Has anybody of consequence in this country been busted for lying their asses off, since Richard Nixon’s day?

  40. 40
    Judas Escargot says:

    Been hanging out on the comments section of the local online rag today. At least three amazingly fact-free editorials excoriating the local unions (no mention of WI at all).

    They’ve also announced a creepy new policy: Starting next week, you’ll only be able to comment under your own name (ie no more handles). Ah yes… I definitelywant all my neighbors, tenants, and local business owners to know every last detail of my politics.

    Sheesh, it’s not like Salem has a history of neighbors turning on each other or anything.

    BTW: Did I mention those editorials were all unsigned?

    Ms. Maddow’s right. There’s a war on.

  41. 41
    Violet says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    They’ve also announced a creepy new policy: Starting next week, you’ll only be able to comment under your own name (ie no more handles).

    You mean comment on a newspaper website? How in the world will they be able to confirm someone’s real name? Do you have to send in your SSN or DL number or something? That’s ridiculous. I could say my name is John Smith, and I’d be lying, but it sounds like a real name. What are they going to do to prove I’m not John Smith? How are they going to police that?

  42. 42
    Judas Escargot says:


    Yes, this is a local newspaper site. Their preferred solution seems to be for commenters to link to their Facebook accounts. For others:

    2. Send an e-mail with your comments user name (which must be the same as your real name), city or town, street address and daytime phone number to

    Later in the article:

    As with any technology, there are ways to pull an end-run and use a fake name. Eventually, though, we’ll find you. Honest readers will help point you out.

    So “give us more info than you’d give any stranger on the street, or we’ll make sure the others rat you out.” Great business model, that.

    And this from a rag that publishes unsigned (and factually inaccurate) right-wing editorials all the time.

    One irony: In a weird show of unity, both right- and left- wingers are complaining equally about this (and cancelling paper subscriptions). So there are at least some core values still shared in this country.

    EDIT: Oops, my bad: forgot to redact the paper’s email. I sure hope they don’t get flooded with angry emails from concerned citizens.

  43. 43
    Luthe says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    The Evening News has seriously gone down the tubes since the last time I read it. Plus, the pop-up ads on their websites are awful.

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @Judas Escargot:
    Wow, that’s interesting. They want your phone number and address? Crazy! I’m glad to see that people aren’t standing for it. I think there is a move to people posting under their real names, but there are also reasons why people don’t want to do that.

  45. 45
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet: Umm…yeah. Could have very serious employment implications for me just as an example. If I had to use my real name (which is unusual and therefore I’m very easy to trace) I’d bail back to lurker status everywhere.

  46. 46
    Hob says:

    @Yutsano: It’s not any different than how newspaper letter-to-the-editor columns have always worked, though – I mean the kind where you actually mail them a letter.

  47. 47
    Gozer says:

    What about all the children of CCP apparatchiks that end up as leaders of important Chinese business entities (Hu Haifeng I’m lookin’ at you!)

  48. 48
    Kobie says:

    Greg Easterbrook is a pompous, arrogant asshole who knows jack shit about nothing.

  49. 49
    Josh says:

    LeftTurn, David Duke comes to mind. The white voters of Louisiana didn’t so much have a problem with his KKK history as with the dishonor attendant upon his lying about it.

    A major political dynasty that I haven’t seen mentioned here is the Tafts. They’ve had members holding office in a bunch of state and federal positions. But a look at the U.S. Senate membership would no doubt show lots of heirs to one political family or other.

  50. 50
    redoubt says:

    Why Gregg Easterbrook is lying, from his Wikipedia page:

    One of his childhood heroes was his home state Senator, Charles Goodell, the father of future NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

    Also, and I may be wrong, but Easterbrook is a Redskins fan. It almost sounds like he’s running cover for Dan Snyder (see nepotism)

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