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February 13th, 2010
07:55 AM ET

Dear President Obama #390: Politics and royalty

Reporter's Note: I did not see President Obama building a snow man this week. Which is a shame, because everyone should enjoy a good snowstorm. Just like, I assume, he enjoys my daily letters to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve been reading a good number of articles about how Rep. Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island is not going to run for re-election. And of course everyone is commenting on how this means for the first time in…well, pretty much forever, there will not be a Kennedy holding an elected seat in the federal government.

You’ve got to admire the dedication of any family that invests so much time and energy into public service, whether you agree with their politics or not. I know that the late Ted Kennedy was a friend and mentor of yours, so I can imagine that this news fills you with a certain wistfulness.

But with respect, I must say I am usually…if not happy…at least content to see political dynasties come to an end. I don’t think it is healthy for an individual family to hold too much sway in a democracy, whether that family’s name is Kennedy, Bush, Clinton, or whatever.

I’ve always figured our country was founded in part on the idea that political power was something to be passed around the shared by the people. We saw wisdom in the idea that different families, with different views would arise in different times to shape the nature of our nation. After all, if we wanted royalty, we could have stuck with the Brits. So when people talk about another Bush running, or Chelsea Clinton getting involved, I am usually puzzled as to why they would even want such a thing to happen.

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