Politics and genetics

Al Kamen
Columnist March 13, 2013

It’s been an excellent week for political dynasties.

George P. Bush, son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, is running for land commissioner in Texas. It’s not exactly the most high-profile of jobs, but it’s a statewide race (good practice!) and a solid political stepping stone.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

In addition to his dear old dad, with his gubernatorial résumé — and possible presidential ambitions — George P. (can we skip the niceties and just start calling him “P,” the way we called his uncle “W”?) has an uncle and a grandfather who have sat in the Oval Office, among other luminaries in the family tree.

Another family that could be expanding its political footprint is the Romney clan. Scott Romney, brother of former presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and son of former Michigan governor George Romney and Senate candidate Lenore Romney — announced that he will not seek the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

But the 71-year-old lawyer is suggesting another possible candidate whose name sounds awfully familiar: his daughter, Ronna Romney McDaniel, who the Detroit News says is thinking about running. Her political pedigree is extensive: Her mother, Ronna Romney, also ran for the Senate, in 1994 and 1996.

Look out, Kennedys.

And in what could be the beginnings of a budding dynasty, Microsoft lawyer Courtney Gregoire, the daughter of former Washington governor Chris Gregoire, was named to a spot on Seattle’s port commission.

Three cheers for political DNA! Or is it just good political grooming?

Minding the minder

Senators on both sides are still upset over the bitter jousting with the Obama administration over sensitive intelligence and legal documents regarding drone strikes.

The nomination of now-confirmed CIA Director John Brennan was held up during the impasse.

Feelings were still raw at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) complained that “there was a minder who was sent in” the room where he was finally able to read the documents.

“That was an insult to me, and I kicked the person out,” he said. But trust between the intelligence community and the Hill has been eroded, he said.

Asked about this, Brennan demurred, likening his situation during the documents fight to that of a hostage.

“Senator, like most hostages,” the CIA director said, “I was excluded from the ransom negotiations during my confirmation process.”

A free-exercise clause

Every hardship offers a chance to do good — and a great potential marketing opportunity.

So, in this time of sequester and furloughs, the Energy Club, a health and fitness operation in Arlington, has begun a “Don’t Furlough Your Fitness” campaign, featuring free workouts to employees in Arlington and Alexandria who are being forced to take unpaid days off.

All federal employees and contractors have to do is bring their furlough papers and government IDs and they’ll get free workouts on the days when they’re furloughed, a club announcement says.

But wait! There’s more!

When the furloughs are over, the club will offer “a special government rate” to everyone who took advantage of the offer. Ah, yes.

Other places are offering furlough specials. For example, the Daily Dish, a restaurant in Silver Spring, is offering discounted lunches during the week for furloughed folks. But remember, it’s “food only, once per week, other restrictions apply.”

Not quite Paris

While Caroline Kennedy mulls over the ambassadorship to Japan and other mega-donors to President Obama’s campaign consider which cushy postings around the globe they’d most enjoy, one less-than-glamorous — in fact, downright dangerous — diplomatic spot has been taken: Obama named Deborah Jones as envoy to Libya.

Jones, a veteran career diplomat, will fill the post that was left vacant when Chris Stevens was killed, along with three other Americans, in the Sept. 11 attack on the mission in Benghazi. Jones’s résumé includes a stint as the ambassador to Kuwait, as well as postings in the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Syria.

In other tough-assignment embassy news, Obama also named James Knight, a career Foreign Service officer, as ambassador to Chad.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

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