HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Dahlia Lithwick: The Ne...

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 06:50 PM

Dahlia Lithwick: The Nepotism Might Finally Be Too Much to Ignore

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/06/trump-nepotism-too-obvious-to-ignore-elitism.html


The Nepotism Might Finally Be Too Much to Ignore
From Jared Kushner to Elaine Chao and Amy Chua, the elites have made their game a bit too obvious.

By Dahlia Lithwick
June 12, 20195:19 PM


Even in these tortured times, it is worth devoting a small sliver of outrage to the fact that Jared Kushner—whose only qualification to senior-advise the president on policy is that he is married to the president’s daughter—seems to have taken, per the Guardian, $90 million in foreign funding since 2017 from an “opaque offshore vehicle.” This influx comes via a stake he kept in a real estate company after assuming his government post, and given that the cash has come in via the Cayman Islands (via Goldman Sachs), we have no idea who is actually enriching this public official who is meant to be working for us. Wherever that lovely money is coming from, we would also do well to remember that Kushner was initially refused a security clearance by career White House staff vetting him for precisely these reasons. But never mind. We are meant to feel only gratitude to the unqualified family members who step in to serve. He has surely accomplished many, many things from his high perch, things that not one person alive can yet name.

Somehow nepotism seems to rankle more than grift alone. Steve Mnuchin’s jet-setting trip to view an eclipse from Fort Knox at taxpayer expense was exponentially more annoying because his wife hitched a ride. Elaine Chao would be front-page public corruption news in any moment other than this, for having brazenly directed resources overseen by her office, the Department of Transportation, to the state in which her husband, Mitch McConnell, holds office (perhaps this one isn’t making a bigger splash only because McConnell’s shamelessness knows no bounds). And then there’s the unfortunate news that Yale Law School’s Amy Chua, who insisted that Brett Kavanaugh will be great for feminism because he has been great to her daughter, has now secured for her daughter the selfsame clerkship for which this transaction was crafted. In America, it matters less that a justice campaigned for a spot at the court on the promise of ending legal abortion, and burdening a migrant teen’s legal right to abortion, than that he recognizes the sterling career promise in the children of other elites.

snip//

George Washington warned against nepotism in America, refusing to give his own family members plum jobs and commissions precisely because that represented everything the revolutionaries loathed about Europe. Even before taking office, he assured a friend that he would “discharge the duties of the office with that impartiality and zeal for the public good, which ought never to suffer connections of blood or friendship to intermingle.” He told another friend that he “would not be in the remotest degree influenced, in making nominations, by motives arising from the ties of amity or blood.” Even the Framers, all of whom were enmeshed and co-mingled and conflicted with other elite framers, understood that their children weren’t princelings and their families weren’t monarchs.

That’s a far cry from where we are now: in a place where every time a Trump family member sneezes, another Trump family member gets to put fresh hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place. Americans tend to balk at dynasties—whether its Clintons following Clintons or Bushes on the heels of Bushes. Even as we understand that Kennedys get better tables and people have been buying their children into Ivies long before Lori Loughlin got caught doing it, we don’t comfortably accede to the idea that those children should rule over us. The Trump family took something American elites have done in stealth and discretion for decades and tried to turn it into a sales pitch: “Nobody does nepotism like we do nepotism.”

I wonder whether the public is sold. Because it’s probably not a coincidence that as the Trump children thrive and the McConnell-Chao partnership thrives and Bill Barr’s son-in-law at the White House counsel’s office thrives, the rest of America’s children are falling behind by virtually every measure. And it’s not just about who gets into the elite preschools and high school and universities, and who ends up running our institutions. It’s also about the fact that it’s too soon to talk about school shootings and too late to talk about teacher unions and too pointless to talk about the attempts to strip millions of children of their health care. It’s about the fact that while elites shape the world for their own children to thrive, seven migrant children died in government custody this year alone. If it is still true that the measure of any society is how it treats its children, we have arrived at the perfect resting place for the kakistocracy in which we now reside. The children of the elites will lead us while the children of the most vulnerable are unceremoniously advised to get out of the way.

The idea of American meritocracy was imperfect from the founding, but it’s never been as transparently laughable as it is today. It was, at least, a hope, even as huge swaths of the population were denied access to hope. But the idea that life could be better for all of our children has been the fundamental engine of American optimism forever. Perhaps voters who agreed to allow a pretend billionaire to lead them, and who remain unaffected by his petulance, his lies, and his childish insults, may actually be moved to wonder why it is that his children and grandchildren deserve a better life than theirs.

8 replies, 2276 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Dahlia Lithwick: The Nepotism Might Finally Be Too Much to Ignore (Original post)
babylonsister Jun 12 OP
Chin music Jun 12 #1
smirkymonkey Jun 12 #2
EleanorR Jun 12 #3
Solly Mack Jun 12 #4
malaise Jun 12 #5
yonder Jun 12 #6
mountain grammy Jun 12 #7
anarch Jun 12 #8

Response to babylonsister (Original post)


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 07:07 PM

2. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 07:21 PM

3. "Taxpayers paid $1,223,230 for VIP accommodations for his adult children in London last week

despite the fact that two of them play no role whatsoever in the administration (though they do represent Trump’s businesses). Maybe they will conclude that it’s simply a problem for ethicists to mull, and resolve. Or maybe they will realize that they could be thinking about it, and pushing back against it, as well. Unlike the 448-page Mueller report, it takes all of 20 seconds to question why taxpayers keep putting money into Eric Trump’s pocket."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 07:27 PM

4. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 07:37 PM

5. MUST READ

Rec

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 08:18 PM

6. Excellent. Thanks

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 08:59 PM

7. Excellent. K&R

But doubtful the monarchy will be moved.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 09:56 PM

8. only if and when the MAGAts finally turn on him for some other reason

This issue seems all too easy for them to ignore; I expect they will be all too happy to support a Don Jr. or Ivanka presidency, whenever ol' Bonespurs is finally too decrepit or visibly insane to be left in the spotlight (I mean like throwing his own shit at people and screaming incessantly about the invisible insects crawling all over him and shit...not just talking complete nonsense and being obviously stupid and unfit for public office--that seems to be just fine).

so, like in 2032 or whenever science is no longer able to keep the original God Emperor propped up for his demented white-supremacist public to adore, they'll install one of his vile offspring. This is of course assuming, as I do, that we will no longer have elections in this country after they steamroll over the whole process in 2020 with Russia's and Saudi Arabia's assistance, and then do away with term limits. Note: this scenario also depends on significant advances in anti-aging medicine and regeneration of organs, etc., allowing rich people to live for several hundred years.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread