Hillary Clinton on dynasties: We had 2 Roosevelts
By: Jonathan Topaz
July 8, 2014 09:41 AM EDT
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday defended her family and the Bushes, saying that U.S. politics has a history of political families but that the country is not a “monarchy.”
In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel, Clinton was asked whether the U.S. is at risk of becoming a monarchy if she or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wins the presidency in 2016.
“We had two Roosevelts. We had two Adams,” the former secretary of State said, invoking two of the most powerful political families in U.S. history. “It may be that certain families just have a sense of commitment or even a predisposition to want to be in politics.”
John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. president, was the son of John Adams, the country’s second president. Former Presidents Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were distant cousins.
Some political commentators have suggested that a potential matchup between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton would make the U.S. politics feel dynastic, given those families’ relative dominance over American politics over the past 25 years.
In the interview Tuesday, Clinton said that her defeat in the 2008 Democratic primary to then-Sen. Barack Obama signifies that name recognition isn’t enough to succeed in American politics.
“I ran for president, as you remember,” she said. “I lost to somebody named Barack Obama, so I don’t think there is any guarantee in American politics. My last name did not help me in the end. Our system is open to everyone. It is not a monarchy in which I wake up in the morning and abdicate in favor of my son.”
Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Jeb’s mother, said in January that she hoped her son wouldn’t run and that politicians from other families should lead the country.
“I think this is a great American country, great country, and if we can’t find more than two or three families to run for high office, that’s silly, because there are great governors and great eligible people to run,” she said.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday morning showed Clinton as the clear frontrunner among 2016 Democratic presidential contenders. Bush was tied for second in the survey of Republican voters, trailing Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul by one point.
Clinton, who says she is still mulling over whether to run for president, told Der Spiegel that she will support her daughter Chelsea whether she chooses to become involved in politics or not.