Three Similar Topics, Plus One

So right after Benazir Bhutto is assassinated, her her husband and her 19 year old son become co-leaders of her party. Of course, Bhutto herself got the job upon the death of her father. I note… from what I can tell, this is pretty much the only Party that matters in Pakistan today, unless you count the crazy fanatics or the military.

At the same time, writing about another topic – the promotion of my semi-sorta-kinda cuz, the inimitable TBogg, no doubt taking a break from watching moss grow on his basset hounds, writes

Like Bill Kristol (and John Podhoretz, and Jonah Goldberg and Mark Halperin) Andrew Rosenthal is a legacy hire, so let’s not even pretend that we’re talking about a meritocracy here. Why work hard and be smart and when your last name is the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s House of Media Aristocracy? So, of course Andy doesn’t understand why people might take offense at his hiring a man whose name might as well be Billkristolisfuckingwrongabouteverything. Sure it’s not like Kristol was being hired as a straight news reporter where facts are everything, unless you’re Judith Miller, but he might have considered hiring someone with a passing acquaintance with things like the real world where there are consequences for being wrong and being stupid and the idea that you can smirk your way through the bloody consequences is not acceptable. But, no. Kristol and Rosenthal are mirror images of each other; both born on third and still wondering why the other kids never pick them first when choosing up sides.

TBogg follows it up:

It must be interesting to go through life knowing that the Wingnut Fairy will put money under your pillow every night no matter how many times the invisible hand of the free market gives you the finger. If it weren’t for wingnut welfare Lucianne, Irving, Gertrude, Norman, and Midge would have left their idiot children on a hill somewhere for the wolves to eat.

Meanwhile, an anecdote I’ve shared before… for a while I worked for a Fortune 500 company. The CEO was a young guy. From what I could tell, his primary qualifications for running the company were that he was the son of the previous CEO, and the grandson of the previous CEO. His second most important qualifications that I saw were the somewhat a incestuous relationship going between his family (one of two big shareholders of the company) and the folks who owned an investment bank (the other big shareholder of the company). I believe the third most important qualification he brought to the table was the fact that the company was competing against other companies whose leaders came from similarly narrow pools of people who had only a superficial understanding of the workings of the company in which they inherited a large share, or who had only a superficial understanding of the workings of the company they had bought a large share in using funds they had inherited. The fourth key thing that made him CEO-worthy was his father’s membership at Augusta. He also seemed to pretty used to the trappings of power, and I’m sure that counts for something.

OK. So I’ve described three situations – Bhutto’s son, TBogg’s story about Kristol and Company, and a company where I worked. In my opinion, three very similar stories. But here’s how I imagine these three situations would play in Peoria…

Situation 1. My guess is that even without being aware of her husband acquired his nickname “Mr. Ten Percent”, most Americans would probably not associate this chain of events as hewing all that closely to the Democratic ideals that Bhutto used to talk about and would disapprove of where this story is going. (Key words: talk about.)
Situation 2. I imagine about half of all Americans would tsk tsk over my semi-sorta-cousin’s recent appointment if the situation had been to explained to them with TBogg’s eloquence
Situation 3. I figure only a very small number of Americans would have a problem with the CEO story.

Am I right about this? And if so, what’s the difference between these three situations?


And a follow-up… reader dxc sends a link to an essay in the LA Times that touches on both Pakistan, and people inheriting their positions of power:

At the beginning of his second term, Bush spoke confidently of the United States sponsoring a global democratic revolution “with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” Ever since that hopeful moment, developments across the greater Middle East — above all, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and on the West Bank — have exposed the very real limits of U.S. wisdom and power.

Now the virtual impotence of the U.S. in the face of the crisis enveloping Pakistan — along with its complicity in creating that crisis — ought to discredit once and for all any notions of America fixing the world’s ills.

Bush dreamed of managing history. It turns out that he cannot even manage Pakistan. Thus does the Author of Liberty mock the pretensions of those who presume to understand his intentions and to interpret his will.

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