Enough Already Of Clintons, Bushes

More than 90 years ago, H.L. Mencken, the journalistic “sage of Baltimore,” defined democracy as that system of government in which a nation with more than 37 million eligible candidates for the presidency chose a dullard named Calvin Coolidge, a man noted for his limitless taste for afternoon naps.

In 2015, the population of the United States exceeds 320 million. Approximately half of them meet the constitutional requirements of the presidency, i.e., they are 35 years old, native born and have been residents for 14 years.

GOP 2016 Bush

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush SUSAN WALSH/AP PHOTO

Yet, as 2015, the first year of the 2016 presidential election cycle, begins, it appears that we may well be left with a choice between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Please. Haven’t we had enough of the Clintons and the Bushes? Hillary’s husband dragged us all through the mire of his randiness. Hillary then moved to New York, made herself a United States senator and came within a whisker of the presidency. President Barack Obama burnished her resume by making her Secretary of State.

Meanwhile, husband Bill has lurked about, campaigning here, campaigning there, campaigning damned near everywhere.

Jeb Bush? Oh my. Pappy George H.W. Bush was a good man, but on his best day a mediocre president. Brother George W. Bush — that wager of wars, that searcher after weapons of mass destruction — always will languish, along with William Jefferson Clinton (and, come to think of it, Coolidge) among the lowest tier of the nation’s chief executives.

Didn’t Mammy Barbara Bush speak for us all when she responded to a question about son Jeb’s rumored presidential candidacy in 2016: “We’ve had enough Bushes.”

To be sure: Both Bushes and Clintons have been too much with us. Let us look elsewhere.

But 2015 requires that we in Hawaii keep our eyes on Washington for reasons other than the mind-numbing quest for a new president. Namely, election year 2014 left Hawaii with the rawest congressional delegation it’s known since the first statehood election in 1959.

Freshman Mark Takai represents the 1st Congressional District. Sophomore Tulsi Gabbard claims CD2.

Hawaii’s two frosh U.S. senators, Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, boast a combined Senate service of four years and a few days. More troubling, each sought and served as Hawaii lieutenant governor, an office that teaches subservience and results in a loss of mental acuity.

I jest, of course, but only a little. The office carries no duties. It provides instead a resting place for an ambitious pol waiting for something better to come along.

At the moment, Hawaii’s congressional delegation, all Democrats, are underclassmen and women. They lack both seniority and gravitas. They may offer promise. Give them all a decade in office and … well, we’ll see.

Finally, 2015 opens with state Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson seated with Democrats in the Capitol. Johanson is yet another victim of Mainland Republican ideology run amok. Call it tea party, call it rabid Republicanism — it’s poison for the Grand Old Party in a diverse state with a high percentage of union households.

Johanson was the moderate leader of the House Minority Republicans for the past two years, moderate enough to join in a coalition with Democrats in support of House reorganization behind Maui Democrat Joe Souki.

In abandoning the GOP, Johanson accused many in the “local Republican Party” of “becoming more narrow in their demand for ideological purity as well as their demand for a combative tone and posture.”

Johanson is not the first local Republican apostate. He probably won’t be the last.