The Clintons during the 2008 campaign. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post) A former president and his protege. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Hey, the comments section (4,000 strong) on Rachel Maddow’s first Post op-ed column is really interesting. Seriously. We got, obviously, enough comments jokingly using masculine pronouns applying to Maddow (which were uniformly hilarious even after 30 repetitions), and enough arguing that she is an MSNBC liberal (which were fairly convincing). Less obvious, we got a lot of comments from one person about the speed at which the World Trade Center collapsed in 2001 (sigh) and one comment asserting that Megyn Kelly’s popularity is because of the particular way she sits vis a vis the camera (siiigh).

But no, it got much more interesting than that. It was cool. Maddow wrote that one of George W. Bush’s legacies was his curious lack of legacy. As in, he had precious few mentees riding his coattails, and now there are few currently successful politicians whose careers he boosted.

Gracefulboomer writes that there’s another explanation for Bush administrators retiring from politics — money:

I think the emphasis now is not on ‘nurturing’ future leaders who make their ‘bones’ by gaining experience in junior level positions so they can go on to leadership positions within their respective parties with a body of skillsets and broad experience as it is in using their positions in govt. (whatever it is at the time) to parlay into getting picked up by the private sector.
The revolving door effect. Unfortunately, that’s why we (the voters) get inexperienced clown car politicians running for office rather than thoughtful cooperative seasoned informed citizens.

MustafarMandingo is intrigued at the possibilities of a lack of Bush graduates — all the Republicans running for president will be post-Bush-era:

She does bring up an interesting point on tomorrow’s political leaders. The shoe certainly will be on the other foot if we have young Republicans facing off against old Democrats in 2016. Should be interesting.

zonkerbrainless argues that President Obama is another reason the rising Republicans are all post-Bush:

Well, ok. Obama has succeeded in nurturing a lot of future leaders of the Democratic Party. But hasn’t he done the same for the Republicans? Chris Christie? All the various Tea Party candidates? They all can thank a lot of their rise to political prominence to Obama, no?

mjaplin goads Republicans to prove Maddow wrong:

This is an easy argument to refute, if you think Maddow’s thesis is incorrect. Simply list a few nationally prominent politicians who served Bush. There’s been plenty of time to view the trajectory of their careers. Condi Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, O’Neill, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Ridge. Or just look at the list of Cabinet and staff members. Not one single name in public office. Many are even notorious now.

John Coffren answers with nationally prominent former Bush budget office officials:

How about Mitch Daniels who later was Governor of Indiana or Rob Portman, Senator from Ohio?

And two commenters welcome Maddow to the future of journalism, the printed word:

tony yeykal

Both FOX and MSNBC are too shrill and inherently biased to actually inform the public. It’s a shame actual newspapers are fading from memory. Though I’m pleased to learn that Ms. Maddow can write well and incisively.


I tend to disagree with just about every position Rachel takes on issues, but I find her to be one of the few voices on the left that makes a concerted effort to support her position with reasoned argument. Oh, and she’s right about Bush’s impact (or lack thereof) on the party, and how Obama appears to be going down the same road. Although she took a couple potshots at Bush, this was a safe first article for her to write.

All PostScript needs to add is that she is excited by the prospect of e-mails meant for Maddow to come to her by accident (PostScript’s government name begins with the same eight letters). Especially invitations, book signings, star-studded media events, etc.