It's time to embrace American royalty

Jenna Bush as the new NBC reporter is a perfect expression of our political culture.

Published August 30, 2009 10:31PM (EDT)

(Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV - Update V)

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.

About this latest hiring by NBC, Atrios observed:  "if only the Villager values of nepotism and torture could be combined somehow."  The American Prospect's Adam Serwer quicky noted that they already have been:  "Liz Cheney."  Liz Cheney is really the perfect face of Washington's political culture, a perfect manifestation of all the rotting diseases that define it and a pure expression of what our country has become and the reasons for its virtual ruin.  She should really be on every political TV show all day every day.  It's almost as though things can't really be expressed thoroughly without including her.  Jenna Bush as a new NBC "reporter" on The Today Show -- at a time when every media outlet is firing and laying off real reporters -- is a very nice addition though.


UPDATE: 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.


UPDATE II:   Speaking of Mike Wallace's boy, Andrew Sullivan says that, during his interview about torture with Dick Cheney today, he "sounded like a teenage girl interviewing the Jonas Brothers."  Andrew compiles the "questions" Wallace asked of Cheney and it's hard to describe it any other way.  He adds:

When future historians ask how the United States came not only to practice torture but to celebrate it and treat torturers as heroes, a special place in hell among the journalists who embraced and justified it should be reserved for Chris Wallace.

That's going to be a very crowded place (see here for more on Wallace's particularly well-deserved consignment to that locale).


UPDATE III: For those complaining that there are many other examples of political nepotism and dynastic succession other than those mentioned here:   this was a two-paragraph post in which I stated explicitly that, beyond the identified examples, "there's a virtually endless list of politically well-placed guests equally qualified to talk on such matters."  When saying that, I linked to this post of mine from last December, which, unlike today's post, was intended to be a very comprehensive discussion of American political aristocracies and royal families.  Anyone who thinks I'm somehow being selective in this critique should read the first paragraph of that post.  And yes:  this also would absolutely be an example of the same syndrome. 

That said, 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.


UPDATE IVWonkette notes that I neglected to include this hideous event.


UPDATE V:  Elect the father-dependent Ethan Hastert to his dad's former seat in Congress (h/t).  I'd be willing to bet that this "self-described economic and social conservative" finds affirmative action to be a deep affront to merit-based achievement.

By Glenn Greenwald

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