Thoughts on our political elite.

There has, for some time, been a political elite in the nation. The first name that will pop into the head of many here is “Kennedy.”  But for the purposes of our discussion today, let’s go with Roosevelt.

And of course, today, we still have what constitutes something of a nobility class, the professional political class that has strayed from representing, to reigning.

Faith in government is at historically low levels. Indeed, contrast faith in government today with faith in the government in the era of FDR. The vast expansion of government under FDR was popular because it was seen to be accomplishing significant feats. The vast expansion of government today brings us Obamacare that cannot even get a website up and running, and a TSA that is good at shaking down Granny, but hasn’t found a single terrorist.

Look at the biography of Barack Obama. Education wise, he’s highly credentialed. Just like his predecessor, George Bush. And his predecessor, Bill Clinton.  But aside from working in government, what did any of them do? Bush at least worked in the world of MLB. But for all three, the primary path of success was work in government.

Let’s compare a bit to another fellow who saw government service as the path to success.

  • attended Harvard-studied biology, boxed
  • NY state assembly
  • author of a respected book on naval history
  • cattle rancher
  • NYPD police commissioner
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy
  • Fought in the Spanish-American War
  • Governor of NY
  • Vice President
  • President

Of course, that’s Theodore Roosevelt. His son, Teddy Jr, was no slouch either. He was an enormously successful businessman, fought in World War I, helped to found the American Legion, also served as a NY assemblyman and assistant SecNav. He served as Governor of Puerto Rico, and Governor-General of the Philippines. He returned to business (again, very successfully) and went on to valorous service in World War II until his untimely death in Normandy. And he was awarded the Medal of Honor (which his father would also eventually be awarded).

My point is this. There was obviously a privileged class of political elite back then, much as today. But the expectation then was that when much was given, much was expected in return, in terms of service, and hard work. And sheer competence.

I suspect a primary source of dissatisfaction with today’s political elite is the fact that they’re good at getting into government, but not good at actually doing anything.

/rant off

16 thoughts on “Thoughts on our political elite.”

  1. Excellent rant. Truth. Shirtsleeves to riches to fading influence to shirtsleeves is the main pattern

    America was mostly about demonstrated merit, not background. A good family background would help, but performance mattered. Look at the Adams family, with two Presidents. Wikipedia makes it easy to follow direct a lineage until they have little significance (according to Wiki).

    It’s the same with Napoleon and his large family and other prominent US families like Astor, Monroe, Jefferson and Washington. The Crowninshields may be an minor exception.

    I predict that this pattern will reestablish itself, even with a lot of desire on the current elites to hold power and exclude others. There are too many ways for future generations to fail in today’s America.

    By this measure President Obama is a parvenue. I doubt his children will amount to much.

    1. Okay; not often I have to look up a word, but I am glad in this case:
      Parvenue-a woman who, having risen socially or economically, is considered to be an upstart or to lack the appropriate refinement for her new position (dictionary.com).

    2. Thank you, Esli. I thought it referred to both genders, not just women. Live and learn.

      Paul

    3. Others might use it in a non-gender-specific fashion, but, as originally used, I prefer the definition I cited.

    4. It is a mistake to personalize the problem. We do not have a hereditary nobility, and it does not matter if the offspring of any President amounts to much (which most of them don’t). This is not about the Kennedys or the Roosevelts.

      What we have is worse. We have a nomenklatura – a privileged class selected on the basis of political reliability (e.g., adherence to Leftist norms) who are appointed to the key positions. The class is self-perpetuating because new members are recruited from the “elite” (needless to say, ultra-liberal) schools. Thus if you got rid of all the political elite tomorrow but left the universities alone, you’d have more liberals in the pipeline to replace them. And if the Obama or Clinton crime families fail to produce a new leader, no matter, there are others to take their place.

      So how do you get rid of an establishment which has taken care to subvert every possible institution (government, academia, church, media, military, etc.)? That is left as an exercise for the student. But keep in mind that it took a long time, but they did it.

  2. We get the government that we deserve – unless of course rigged elections don’t matter. A fun time will be had by all when it is finally figured out.

  3. When he lived out West, TR served as a deputy sheriff. We could use an honest cop as President.

    1. QM, that’s the leadership. Lots of good people in the middle ranks of government, even today.

  4. “But the expectation then was that when much was given, much was expected in return”

    Noblesse oblige. It’s why the British royal family, males anyway, put their royal hindquarters on the line in the military. A good tradition.

    In spite of all the hot air we hear from our privileged class about “giving back” they don’t seem to give anything unless it is not dangerous or arduous and is accompanied by a good paycheck and good benefits.

    And they call it “Public Service”.

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