The hereditary oligarchy

Paul Jacobs demonstrates that we live in a hereditary oligarchy:

Here’s how it works. Bill Lipinski, the 22-year career congressman, faces no competition. That’s par for the course with incumbents in Congress, 98 percent of whom are re-elected cycle after cycle. Lipinski was unopposed in both the primary and general election in 2002. In 2000, his challenger raised less than $20,000 and Lipinski won with 76 percent of the vote.

At least a year ago, Lipinski decides that he wants to retire. However, he does not announce that this will be his last term, which would truly open up the seat and allow the election process to take place in a manner available to all candidates and voters. He keeps his intentions to himself, and to his favored replacement.

Lipinski also does not resign his seat and trigger a special election, even though in so doing he would still be able to time his departure to allow his favored replacement a head start in organizing a campaign. Instead, Lipinski runs unopposed, yet again, for the Democratic nomination in this rock-solid Democratic district.

Then, a mere two months before this November’s general election, Congressman Bill Lipinski [of Illinois] suddenly withdraws and orchestrates the awarding of the Democratic Party’s nomination for Congress, like a crown on a royal pillow, to . . . guess who?

This coronation is for Bill Lipinski’s son, Daniel.

Perhaps Daniel Lipinski would make a fine congressman. But even if he would, shouldn’t he represent Knoxville, Tennessee, where he has lived for the last 15 years? But no, that’s not how the divine right of hereditary succession works in modern times. And besides, Pop has no power of incumbency in Tennessee. (You know, like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz had no power in the East. If only voters could click their heels together and say three times, “There’s nothing like term limits.”)

Now, after 22 years of his father, third district citizens have 38-year-old Daniel Lipinski to look forward to term after term for how many more decades? This is “representative government”? These are “free elections”?

And you think the Presidential primary selections are any more open? The American people don’t select a President, they are simply permitted to choose between the two men the oligarchy has selected for them. Perhaps people will begin to wake up to this reality when George Bush IV is running against yet another Massachusetts Democrat in 2040.