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Anyone think there's a less interesting topic of conversation than which political hack will get appointed to the Canadian senate? How about which celebrity candidate will get appointed to the U.S. Senate in New York?   As a general rule, I am not a fan of dynastic politics or politicians. I think we live -- or at least should live -- in a meritocracy when it comes to our system of government. A candidate's last name, wealth or family history is not particularly compelling to me as a reason to support a politician.   That having been said, if I believe in a political meritocracy then a candidate's name, wealth or lineage shouldn't eliminate them from consideration for public life either.   There is, in my opinion, a right and a wrong way for dynastic political figures to enter elected politics.   Justin Trudeau did it the right way. He contested a tough nomination, in a really tough riding with little establishment party support and won. It's not that his last name didn't help -- that would be naive to think -- but he worked for it, just as he is now working hard as a back-bench MP. For that, he has my respect (which, along with $4 can get you a delicious egg nog latte for the next week).   You could say the same thing about Hillary Clinton's first senate race in New York -- it's not that her last name or her husband's political network didn't help her -- but she also worked for it and won based on her immense political skills rather than only her husband.   Alec Baldwin (yes, I am quoting Alec Baldwin, no I am not hopped up on too many egg nog lattes) argues at the Huffington Post that if Caroline Kennedy wants to get into politics, she should run in an election in 2010 and get elected rather than be appointed by Governor Patterson.   By seeking an appointment, she is relying solely on her family lineage and connections for the senate seat. While time may prove that she is a wonderful senator, she is setting herself up for a big political fall that is not good for her or the U.S. political system.   Either way, to me this is the worst form of dynastic politics.

 

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