Monday, May 29, 2006

No Sequels

This may be the start of the summer blockbuster season for movies and the plague of sequels that come with them: M:i:3, Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift, The Olsen Twins Get Kinky (okay, I made that last one up…I hope), but the rule is that sequels, with few exceptions, barely resemble their predecessors or just plain suck out loud.

The same is true in political dynasties. The Adams family (another movie?) was the first, but father John and son John Quincy apparently despised each other. The Roosevelts were distant cousins, and uncle Theodore was a progressive Republican (when, in the early part of the 20th Century, that was not an oxymoron) and cousin Franklin was a Democrat who didn’t even run for office until Teddy had been dead for thirteen years. The Kennedy dynasty has only had one superstar, and no one of the following generations has indicated in any way, shape, or form that they are ready to follow their ancestors beyond the House; they have devoted themselves to working behind the scenes (vis. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg).

Now they’re talking about yet another Bush in the person of Jeb, the current but out-going governor of Florida picking up the tattered mantle of his family name and running for the White House in 2012 or 2016. His brother, the current president, has been making noises that he thinks Jeb would make a “great president” (Compared to what? His own tenure?) and doing it in a way that he sounds subtextually as if he wishes that it was Jeb in office instead of him.

As it is, Jeb would be better off changing his name to Lipschitz and trying to run on his own merits rather than using his brother’s or his father’s administration as rallying points. He has been a marginally inoffensive governor here in Florida; certainly not demostrating the knee-jerk radicalism that possesses W, and he is articulate enough to get through a press conference without sounding like a stand-up version of Flop Sweats on Ice.

Had the political fortunes not gone the way they did; had George W. not upset Ann Richards in Texas in 1994 and Jeb lost to Lawton Chiles in the same year, the roles might have been reversed, and Jeb might have had a real shot in 2000. As it is, the family dynamics and all the Freudian/Oedipal/sibling rivalry elements that go with it isn’t something that needs to be played out on the national stage with the administration of the United States government as the pawns in a game of “Mom always liked you best.”

Then again, there are those who keep hoping that the next entry in the Police Academy series will sweep the Oscars.