He Thought He Was The King Of America, Where They Pour Coca Cola Just Like Vintage Wine


Glenn Greenwald:

We’re obviously hungry to live with royal and aristocratic families so we should really just go ahead and formally declare it:

Bush daughter Jenna Hager becomes ‘Today’ reporter

NBC’s “Today” show has hired someone with White House experience as a new correspondent — former first daughter Jenna Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush. . . . She “just sort of popped to us as a natural presence, comfortable” on the air, [Executive Producer Jim] Bell said.  Hager will work out of NBC’s Washington bureau.

They should convene a panel for the next Meet the Press with Jenna Bush Hager, Luke Russert, Liz Cheney, Megan McCain and Jonah Goldberg, and they should have Chris Wallace moderate it.  They can all bash affirmative action and talk about how vitally important it is that the U.S. remain a Great Meritocracy because it’s really unfair for anything other than merit to determine position and employment.  They can interview Lisa Murkowski, Evan Bayh, Jeb Bush, Bob Casey, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Dan Lipinksi, and Harold Ford, Jr. about personal responsibility and the virtues of self-sufficiency.  Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson and John Podhoretz can provide moving commentary on how America is so special because all that matters is merit, not who you know or where you come from.  There’s a virtually endless list of politically well-placed guests equally qualified to talk on such matters.


Just to underscore a very important, related point:  all of the above-listed people are examples of America’s Great Meritocracy, having achieved what they have solely on the basis of their talent, skill and hard work — The American Way.  By contrast, Sonia Sotomayor — who grew up in a Puerto Rican family in Bronx housing projects; whose father had a third-grade education, did not speak English and died when she was 9; whose mother worked as a telephone operator and a nurse; and who then became valedictorian of her high school, summa cum laude at Princeton, a graduate of Yale Law School, and ultimately a Supreme Court Justice — is someone who had a whole litany of unfair advantages handed to her and is the poster child for un-American, merit-less advancement.

I just want to make sure that’s clear.


today’s post is about a particular strain of royal succession:  those who inherit their position and and whose achievement is attributable to their mommies and daddies and yet ludicrously purport to be Stern Advocates for (and Beacons of) Meritocracy and become righteous opponents of “unfair” affirmative action on the ground that only merit should determine advancement.  Not everyone who inherits their influence is guilty of that.

James Joyner:

Some of the examples are more egregious than others.  Murkowski is the most outrageous; plucked out of nowhere to be appointed to fill her father’s vacant seat by her father. Arguably, at least, those elected to public office to follow in the footsteps of famous fathers have to stand the scrutiny, such as it is, of the voters.  And Chris Wallace at least legitimately worked in the news business for years before getting tabbed to host a show.  Jenna Bush and Megan McCain seem to be celebrities solely because of who their dads are.

Liz Cheney is an especially odd case.  She is genuinely well qualified to comment on a variety of issues owing to having served for years in very important public policy posts.  Alas, it’s doubtful whether she’d have been appointed to said posts were her last name Smith or Jones.

I’m also a bit dubious of the inclusion of Goldberg, Kristol, and Carlson on the list.    Carlson and Goldberg had ever-so-modestly famous parents who presumably helped them get a foot in the door.  But it’s doubtful that Carlson got on TV based on who his parents were. Nor is it obvious why being a literary agent is of great help in launching a son as a conservative pundit. Kristol’s father was a giant and certainly helped launch his son’s career but he’s not in the same category of Podhoretz, who essentially inherited his dad’s magazine.

Dan Riehl:

However, with a Delaware Senate seat now being kept warm for the VP’s son, more Kennedys than one can shake a stick at over the years (Ted’s wife as an interim is being talked up), Bill and now Hillary having her day in the sun, Conyer’s crooked wife as a local pol, Pelosi’s daughter doing political media for bucks, Michelle Obama’s six figure slip into a position that never existed before, the Daley’s of Chicago, so forth and so on – even when Greenwald mentions Democrats, they tend to be of a more centrist, or moderate stripe.

I think were his outrage just a bit more politically balanced, I’d take it as more honest. For the most part, his list seems to have more to do with a political agenda, more so than it does a respect for meritocracy. Or, maybe he’s just pissed that, as a gay liberal, there won’t be anyone there to take the baton after he’s had his run.

Jules Crittenden:

The lefty sockpuppet also known as Glenn Greenwald is right. This nation might as well embrace royalty and be done with it. The only part I don’t get, is how he can get snarky about the fact that Jenna Bush just got a part-time TV gig, without once mentioning the colossal royal funeral we just witnessed or the subsequent succession struggle now starting to play out in the Party of the Little Guy.


And so, the ranks of our popular meritocracy continue to swell. (Glenn: you forgot America’s sand-topped devil, Peter Doocy!)

UPDATE: Adam Sewer in Tapped

Andrew Sullivan

Ta-Nehisi Coates


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