Something deep down inside tells me that the American people do not want the Presidency to become a family dynasty. We fought our way out of British control by a King in the American Revolution 240 years ago. Now is not the time to pas down the Presidency from one family member to another … not Kennedy, not Bush, not Clinton. No candidate who has Presidents in the family should be a shoo in for the Presidency. There will be no crowning of an American King or Queen.
In their divergent approaches, though, is evidence to support the same conclusion about the two contenders with famous last names: They are exactly what their skeptics thought they were.
That perception, at least, is the risk for both Bush and Clinton as their presidential aspirations are confronted by some of the toughest pieces of their families’ legacies.
For Bush, it’s his brother’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The former Florida governor, who is often seen as one of the more accessible potential 2016 contenders, first dodged the question of whether, with a full grasp of the facts now, the war was a mistake. He later dismissed the question as “hypothetical” before finally acknowledging on Thursday that the issue wasn’t going away and said that “knowing what we know now, I would not have engaged — I would not have gone into Iraq.”
For Clinton, it’s her husband’s North American Free Trade Agreement — still despised by unions, environmentalists and other important elements of the Democratic base. And that’s just the root of the challenge: as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton was America’s top diplomat as several more trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, were being negotiated.
The result for both was that the week underscored their 2016 vulnerabilities: Bush, the latest in his family’s line rather than his own man; Clinton, the calculating politician whose views shift with the wind.