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Free Minds & Free Markets

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!

Photo Credit: Reason

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  • kinnath||

    There is no fucking silver lining.

  • Swiss Servator... Switzy!||

    There might be the sweet release that death would bring?

  • kinnath||

    Terry is mistaking the bright light you see through your clenched eyelids when the nuclear weapons go off for silver.

  • paranoid android||

    Unless you're invested in cyanide futures, maybe...

  • Rasilio||

    I don't know.

    It probably won't lead anywhere near where the article says it might but I think it is a near certainty that a Bush-Clinton general election will break the back of both parties current coalitions and result in a massive shuffling of the political deck.

    It might take 2 decades for the end result to become clear and it will almost certainly end with us back at a 2 party system, and those parties are very likely to bear the same names they do today but they will both look VERY different than they do today.

  • Sudden||

    Yep. They'll both be run by SJWs until such a time as the Islamists take over the GOP as the social conservative alternative.

  • Beautiful Bean Footage||

    So what'll it be, then? Chile, Antarctica, or seasteading?

  • DesigNate||

    The moon?

  • ||

    The math on the Bush/Clinton Presidencies is just downright fucking scary.

    We've already had TWENTY YEARS of Bush/Clinton. Twenty. Fucking. Years.

  • Paul.||

    And there are several more Bush kids in the bullpen!

  • Sudden||

    And another Clinton.

  • Chumby||

    And a Lewinsky!

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    2015 - 1993 --- 22 years, and 24 when Obama exits stage left.

  • ||

    Can you line something with 30 pieces of silver? I guess with Krazy Glue. Aha! I get it now. You'd have to be crazy to vote for either of these fucking assholes, Batman!

  • Malkavian||

    I vote Kang!

    ... And would welcome our alien lizard overlords. Just in case.

  • MJGreen||

    "We'll vote third party!"
    "Go ahead, throw your vote away!"

  • Erisian||

    If enough people voted third party they would not be throwing their vote away. It just might sound the clarion for the two party system, and at the very least, throw a huge spanner wrench into the works. Personally, I think that if any third party: Libertarians, Greens, whatever were to generate as little as 5-10% of the vote this would start the ball rolling back to where The People actually might have a say in how our gubmint is run.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    If enough people had working sarcasm meters, MJGreen would not be throwing his comments away.

  • Erisian||

    As a relative newbie on this comments site (I don't usually read the comments on Reason, mostly the articles) I am unaware if Ms/Mr Green is a regular whose stance is known. If I have offended either you or Ms/Mr Green I sincerely apologize, I mean no offense to anyone.

  • ||

    I'm sure no one is offended. Sarcasm can be hard to catch if one doesn't recognize the reference.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Voting for the Libertarian (hopefully Gary Johnson), isn't throwing your vote away. Two things happen:

    1) The major party candidates make their positions more libertarian to attract that swing vote
    2) You let them know where you stand

    Not voting, is throwing your vote away.

    But given the way things are going (GOP claiming they are fiscal conservatives yet vote for more spending every year, just a little bit less than the D candidate, and they claim it's a cut - from the baseline, and the Democrats claiming they are for the little guy while bailing out the banksters, overpaying government employees, voting 100% for corporate welfare) with candidates from both parties blatantly lying to the public, I wouldn't believe them when they take more libertarian positions. So I'll be voting for the Libertarian. Though I would vote for Rand, as I think his position for more military spending is a lie as well.

  • ||

    If we don't vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in.

  • CE||

    Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

  • GILMORE||

    "the Silver Lining Possible in a Bush-Clinton 2016 Matchup"

    Planet Hit by Giant Asteroid?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Hate to be so cynical, but come on. You think the average voter is going to abandon Team Red or Team Blue just because their respective standard bearers contradict everything they ostensibly believe in?

    Voting is a fashion statement for liberals and a defensive reaction for conservatives to cultural anxiety. Neither side will risk letting the other win by voting third party.

  • Libertarian||

    Liar. You love being cynical, don't you?

  • All-Seeing Monocle||

    Voting is a fashion statement for liberals and a defensive reaction for conservatives to cultural anxiety.

    I like the sentiment, but voting seems to be every bit as much a defensive reaction for liberals as well. Read the comments on NYT or Jezebel, they are seriously TERRIFIED that the country is on the brink of complete collapse due to those evil Republicans. Every single second of republican government is another tick on the giant clock o' doom.

  • Libertarian||

    Clinton "dynasty"? Wouldn't we need at least Chelsea to run? I've never heard of a 2 person dynasty.

  • Paul.||

    With Hillary, you get two for the price of one!

  • Libertarian||

    That's what I'm afraid of! I've been wondering: if Hillary suddenly divorced Bill, would that hurt her chances, or help her?

  • Faceless Commenter||

    Are you kidding? It would hurt like hell. In fact, Hillary also has to be verrrry careful about how she loses 2016 because Chelsea's political future depends on it. (You do know that Chelsea recently announced her willingness to run?)

  • Rasilio||

    Who is to say she won't?

    She is just barely old enough to run this cycle but hasn't positioned herself to do so. However, it would be trivially easy for her to pick any open blue seat in the Senate and win that seat and there would be plenty in the press willing to anoint her as the chosen one in 8 years time.

  • Beautiful Bean Footage||

    I'm trying to keep my lunch down, bruh

  • BigT||

    Ya know, just like, Caroline, I mean, like, Kennedy, ya know.

  • Aloysious||

    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.

    Why limit ourselves to just one finger? The possibility of Bush/Clinton redux demands two fingers.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Pretty sure Clinton is done, even though her corpse will continue walking and talking for a while. And Bush is getting plenty of money, but I don't know that he's going to get the nomination, as there is a very strong resistance in the party to nominating another candidate who could almost run for the Democratic nomination.

    In any case, if they were the nominees, it would be another step towards the end for this country. Seriously, no one else?

  • Libertarian||

    As I said 6 yrs ago, when we had a "choice" between Obama and McCain, the game was over.

  • Paul.||

    Never underestimate a Clinton's ability to bounce back.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Do pants suites filled with fat bounce?

  • PapayaSF||

    From your lips to God's ears.

    Terry Michael notwithstanding, I'm not sure the country could survive four or eight years of Hillary on top of eight years of Obama. The Supreme Court would go left, the debt would continue to pile up, she'd do what she could to ensure the country becomes North Guatemala, with a new helot class ensuring a permanent Democratic majority.

  • Libertarian||

    "North Guatemala" would be a great name for a band.

    No! No! I mean a great name for an ALBUM.

  • Form 27B/6||

    The problem for the Clinton crime family is that they make their money by running for, or being in office.
    No one is interested in giving money to the "formerly connected" Clintons.

  • PapayaSF||

    At some point, don't they have enough millions?

  • Erisian||

    That's funny because the Clinton Foundation is raking in the big bucks - especially foreign agents hoping to gain a voice in our political system.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    No, it's exactly right. If there is no Clinton either in office or heading to office, the Clinton Foundation has no political favors to sell, hence no revenues.

  • Erisian||

    I don't dispute this, altho' Bubba might make it a while if for no other reason than the "Kardashian Rule", you know - famous for being famous. My point was that at this point in time when we have Hillary the Uncandidate the Foundation *is* raking in the foreign, as well as the domestic, monies. And, we do hive Clinton 2.0 starting to mark her presence known.

  • PapayaSF||

    I do dispute it. The Foundation is self-sustaining at this point. They are set for life. The Clintons have money and influence and connections. That gives them a lot of power, regardless of political office. This is how most of the world works and thinks. Arab rulers and billionaires (but I repeat myself) know that elective office is not the only center of power. And the Clintons can feather their nests, hire their friends, outmaneuver their enemies. Bills get to travel and have whatever assignations he can arrange. They can convince themselves they're doing good by taking millions from filthy rich bad guys and using it to push "progressivism."

  • Nosea||

    Did you say parliamentary style democracy ? God, I would definitely consider running for an office just to participate in a verbal shout fest. I can't tell you how much delight I get from watching those Brits parlay.

  • Libertarian||

    I'm absolutely floored whenever I hear a prominent UK pol speak. They make US pols sound like special needs kids.

  • Sudden||

    Brilliant locquation ought not be confused for genuinely preferable or logical policies however. Britain is in many ways further down the rabbit hole of idiocy than ever we are.

  • Xeones||

    There is good news - one of them will lose.

    Of course, so will the rest of us, regardless.

  • Paul.||

    Terry Michael on the Silver Lining Possible in a Bush-Clinton 2016 Matchup

    That the country is guaranteed to collapse, leading to the inevitable zombie apocalypse, finally opening the door for the Real Libertarian Moment™?

  • Winston||

    I'm waiting for the US to turn into those great libertopias Russia and China.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    If a third party candidate mounts any sort of serious challenge to the two party oligarchy (not necessarily enough to win, just enough to embarrass the ruling class), I imagine that person will have an unfortunate "accident" or the FBI will "find" kiddie porn on his or her laptop. Then the press will crow "See! This is what happens when you stray from our glorious Two Party System!"

  • Paul.||

    Nah, Ross Perot got 17% of the vote when he ran as a 3rd party candidate which unless you go back to old-timey politics, is fucking unprecedented in the modern era.

    Everyone freaks out about Ralph Nader getting .0000003% of the vote, spoiling it for Algore.

  • Winston||

    Nader actually got 2.74% in 2000.

  • Paul.||

    You're a youngin'.

    Ross Perot got 18.9% of the popular vote in 1992.

  • Paul.||

  • Paul.||

    Sorry, I misread you... yes, Nader got a little over 2% of the vote.

    I was exaggerating for effect.

  • PapayaSF||

    And thus Ross Perot gave us Bill Clinton, and thus now Hillary. Thanks, Ross.

    That's the essential problem with third parties: they tend to split the vote of their nearest allies, ensuring that their worst enemies win. Which is why the socialists won by taking over the Democratic Party, and why libertarians should take over the GOP.

  • Beautiful Bean Footage||

    But but but Rand Paul just voted for a HUGE defense budget increase!!

  • Calidissident||

    I may be mistaken, but I recall reading that Clinton still would have won in 92 even if Perot hadn't run. Furthermore, GHWB was a shitty president himself (not as bad as his son or Obama, but probably not any better than Clinton) - while I don't really care much for Perot, I see no need to shed tears about him losing reelection. Bush wasn't entitled to the votes of people who voted for Perot, and the fact that a 3rd party candidate was able to get 19% of the vote is further evidence that he has no one to blame but himself for the loss.

  • PapayaSF||

    I'm not saying Bush was "entitled" to anything, but in both elections I believe Perot siphoned more votes from Republicans, and in neither election did Clinton get 50% of the vote.

  • Chumby||

    Paul
    I vaguely recall a story abput a death threat against Perot's daughter so he sorta dropped out for a couple of weeks. I want to say his numbers might have been in the 30s at the time. There is story metriculating that he had a bet/argument with T. Boone Pickens and that is why he ran.

  • Winston||

    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.

    Uh, huh.

    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

    Parliamentary system and multiple parties didn't stop Hitler and hasn't done Greece a lot of good. And David Cameron and Steven Harper have certainly showed that they are wonderful "chief administrators" with imperial trappings.

    Not to mention China and North Korea are technically parliamentary systems with multiple parties.

  • Winston||

    *without imperial trappings*

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think it's important to keep in mind that Hillary or the next Bush in line will be better than Obama was on pretty much...everything.

    If we ever do transition to an empire, like the Romans did, we could end up with better leadership than we might have gotten if our leaders were elected by modern day progressive plebes, that's for sure. Especially if we're talking about the likes of Michelle Obama or Liz Warren being popularly elected.

    If the modern day Gracci brothers are a bunch of fucking communists, who cares if they're popular?! Nobody achieves any legitimacy with this libertarian for being popular or popularly elected, anyway. You get legitimacy from me by protecting my rights, and if the best way to protect our rights, someday, involves ignoring election results, ...

    When fascism comes to America, it won't be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. It'll be wrapped in social justice and carrying a mandate from the voters.

    Hereditary Hillary or the next Bush in line both look pretty good to me compared to Obama's active hostility to free-market capitalism.

  • Sudden||

    I used to among those that thought the true believer (Obama) more dangerous than the craven power seeker (Hillary). But Hillary I think is frankly worse than Obama. Her shadowy donor list combined with the collosal clusterfuck that was her reign at State (easily the worst SoS in modern history) give me suspicion that her actions were not of incompetence, but that she was bought off to act in malevolence.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    +1 Liberal Fascism...but even that is a misnomer. I mean Progs are proto-Fascists to begin with so you get a term like Shrimp Scampi or Progressive Fascism.

  • Mr. Soul||

    Hillary should promise that if she wins, Bill's official title will be "Colonel Angus".

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    I'd be quite ok with Scott Walker.

  • Beautiful Bean Footage||

    BUT HE HAS NO COLLAGE DEGREEZ!!1!1

  • ChrisO||

    One of the two major parties (and I'd put my money on the GOP at this point) needs to fully implode the way the Federalists and Whigs did in order for a third party to have a real shot. Our political culture is strongly binary--there's never been a legal or practical impediment to multi-party politics, but people here prefer a choice of 2 rather than 3, and cultures don't change such fundamental precepts quickly or easily.

    I've usually voted Republican and used to consider myself at least partly conservative (not anymore). Conservatism is adrift; Republicans still cite Reagan ad nauseum, but time-wise his 1980 election is now the mid-point between World War II and the present. That stunned me when I first realized it.

    I don't even really know what "conservatism" is anymore, apart from the narrow-focused stuff that appeals to evangelicals and warhawks. It's certainly nothing to do with fiscal responsibility.

  • Beautiful Bean Footage||

    I think it's mostly just opposition to teh gheymerge at this point...

  • hatchr||

    2nd silver lining - if Jeb wins, we all should get a good laugh at the awkward return of the anti-war left.

  • pcrudy||

    Gary Johnson is on record for amnesty for the tens of millions who have come here since 1986, so he's not just toast, he's burnt toast.

    What's next? 30 million people work off the books and don't pay taxes for 30 years and then Gary Johnson IV, gives them some form of Amnesty? (Sure I'll pay back taxes on the $14,000 I earned.....).

    If it's Hillary (or a name from the phonebook) vs. Jeb Bush Hillary in a cakewalk.

  • CE||

    Seriously, when was that picture taken? 2008?

  • matthennry||

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  • tardisisbiggerontheinside||

    "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.)"

    That is exactly why a parliamentary style system would never work. American voters are needy, whiny, fickle, and rather forgetful.
    We would be reelecting every WEEK.
    That sounds ok, but it means nothing would ever, ever get done. Half the people are unhappy all the time no matter what, throw in more options.. hell, we would be spinning endlessly...

  • Robert||

    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.


    No, because if they were nominated, it'd be because they were popular. If anyone else was nominated, it'd be because they were popular.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Oh good! Reason hasn't been entirely corrupted by the extreme social conservative Liberty Hustlers, Ron and Rand Paul.


    If read Gary Johnson right, he's abandoning another try for the GOP nomination. mostly because the small-l movement has been corrupted by the Pauls.


    Too bad. Ron Paul is our Goldwater. But Johnson is our Reagan. 2016 could be our last opportunity, but we're to be excited that the libertarian label appears multiple times per day in the media ..


    ... a label which is rejected by 91% of libertarians and accepted by 5.3% of Americans. Nolan Chart Libertarians self-described by 59% of Americans, same as we were in 1969. (Cato/Zogby Survey)

  • jay_dubya||

    you are a broke record. a shitty, nails on chalkboard broke record

  • John C. Randolph||

    You know, for sheer entertainment value, I'd love to see Lewinsky run against Hillary for the Democrap nomination.

    -jcr

  • Michael Hihn||

    DAMN YOU JOHN. I now have coffee spit all over my keyboard from laughing.
    Monica's TED video is quite impressive. I love when she says that public humiliation is no match for empathy.

  • cher Nike Air Max lana||

    it will be understandable and If it comes down to Hillary vs. Jeb,people will be keeping dancing because they want a modest chief

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