U.S. Presidential Gene Pool
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December 4, 2007

Do you realize that since 1981 the highest elected officials in our country have had only three different surnames? And only two since 1989? By the time of the next inauguration in 2009, our nation will have been led only by people named Bush or Clinton for the past 20 years. I find that disturbing.


What’s done is done. We can’t go back and change the past. But this simple trend analysis could get even worse, with another Clinton running for president. I realize this Clinton’s hereditary genes are different from the earlier one, but still, in this great melting pot of nearly 300 million people, do we really need to elect sons and wives of presidents to lead the greatest nation in the world? That’s sad.


By way of clarification, I do not advocate voting in new bloodlines (genetic and/or political) just for name’s sake. Consider the disaster that was Jimmy Carter. Anyone who meets the basic qualifications can run. But what does this say about us? Is it that unbeatable political machines get established (that’s scary), that we get sucked into a cult of personality (also scary), or something else? I have a few ideas.


First we should credit Bill Clinton with trying to expand his patriarchal gene pool before and during his eight-year stint as president. He must have known the cigar incident in the Oval Office would not result in the formation of a new human life, which could in turn reproduce, but at least he was thinking about the act of procreation. Too bad none of his efforts was intended to benefit our country or mankind.


Isn’t there enough objective evidence of the dangers of inbreeding in ruling families in our 6,000-year history of civilization to warrant concern here? While I am using the whole gene pool subject allegorically, I think readers can understand the point. Doesn’t there seem to be something inherently wrong with using the same people over and over, when the performance of their forbearers was so bad?


In government contracting, there is a common practice called re-badging. One contractor screws up a job so badly that it finally gets fired, or the contract just runs out, and a new contractor wins the fat award. Then 99 percent of the employees of the old contractor swap their employee badges for ones from the new contractor. Everything goes on as before, except the top management of the new contractor swears that it has cleaned house and will do the right thing. After some period of time, the contract goes back to original holder or another one in a population of only a few. There really are people in government contracting who care about doing right, but concerns about corporate revenues and profits dominate this game. The attitude is “better us than them.”


There are real limitations in the government contracting work environment that militate toward this practice. There are practical things like credible resumes, active security clearances, historical knowledge, etc., but much of it is driven by the inertia of the good old boy and good old girl networks developed while one contractor or another is in power, and the amount of energy and money it takes to change that. It really is that simple, at least in the big picture.


Is it the same in our political system, all the way up to president? Do we want to be subjects ruled by self-styled monarchs? I think we are getting what we deserve.