Election 2016

2016: House of Bush vs. the Westchester Hillbillies?

And in that case is there a silver lining for libertarians?


Our aging empire can probably survive another Clinton or Bush presidency. But we who prize free minds and free markets might want to extend a big middle finger to the god-awful prospect of the 2016 election being won by a mini-monarch from one of America's two dynasties. The good news, possibly, is that a November match-up between the Democratic and Republican presidential heirs-apparent might foster a more vibrant Declaration of Independents: citizens seeking a choice of a less regal presidency, rather than old echos from a failing two-party system.

Legions of House of Bush courtiers would benefit from Prince Jeb re-claiming leadership of the family business, which has profited over the last half century from black gold under Texas plains and Saudi sand, plus the Halliburton-style spoils of elective war-making.

Multitudes of professional Democrats—trawling for appointments, contracts, and cheap ego thrills from being Facebook-style "friends" of Bill and Hillary Clinton—would rejoice in Queen Hillary's long-awaited ascendance to the Oval Office, where her lesser half had that messy encounter with "that woman" Ms. Lewinsky.

But the rest of us would have to settle for amusing ourselves to death, watching late night talk show hosts joke about new First Lady Columba Bush, shopping 'til she drops in pursuit of gold and diamond bling. Or old First Husband Bill Clinton, in his dotage, grazing the West Wing for plump young interns in blue dresses.

Journalist Craig Unger, native of Texas, warned us in his 2004 book, "House of Bush, House of Saud," about the shady alliance of the Bush family with the Saudi monarchy, published after his post-9/11 article in the October 2003 issue of Vanity Fair entitled "Saving the Saudis."

And an army of Clinton-watching journalists is performing service to the Republic, writing devilishly devastating take outs on Hillary, including Todd Purdum, Ron Fournier, David Von Drehle, David Remnick, and Maureen Dowd.

Entering a now uncountable field of presidential wannabees, Jeb perhaps has a nomination row harder to hoe than the matriarch of the Westchester Hillbillies (swimming pools, movie stars, investment bankers, foreign donors, secret emails, etc.) Clinton seems to have the prize locked up. The Democratic bench is all but empty with Hillary sucking all the oxygen out of the donkey party's nominating process and no farm teams available with fresh young faces ready to play on the field of presidential dreams. (Apologies to the reader. These metaphors are irresistible.)

But in a GOP field that includes a "libertarian-ish" Republican politician, Sen. Rand Paul, a latter day Elmer Gantry (Rev./Gov. Mike Huckabee), a baby-faced, not-ready-for-prime-time, Hispanic American who tried to sneak a drink from a water bottle while addressing the nation on the TV (Sen. Marco Rubio), and an actual brain surgeon, (Dr. Ben Carson)… well, you have to give the Jebster at least a better than even chance of getting the Republican nomination. Unless he changes his last name.

If it comes down to Hillary vs. Jeb, it would be understandable if the rest of us just pull a Peggy Lee ("If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze and have a ball…") and choose to stay at home November 8, 2016 and busy ourselves with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and our handheld devices (if you know what I mean.)

But always pulling for the glass to be half full, I wonder if the People, at least the people in "the center," faced with two horribles as the major party nominees might rebel and look to a third party candidate.

There's really only one option out there right now for those who want to keep the government out of our bank accounts, out of our bedrooms, away from our bodies, and out of the backyards of the rest of the world. That would be Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor, who has been busily readying himself for another run for president as as the Libertarian Party candidate.

Looking even farther down the road, I am wondering if an implosion of our heretofore venerable two-party system might facilitate a rethinking of our whole political process, perhaps replacing it with a parliamentary style democracy in which multiple parties would be viable and in which we would have a chance to throw the bums out whenever their governments lost confidence (though that might be every few weeks.) A prime minister without the trappings of our imperial presidency would return us to the chief administrator The Founders may have had in mind, as explained by Cato's Gene Healy, in his masterpiece, "The Cult of the Presidency."

Hail to a more modest chief!