Fathers and sons, or, History repeating itself?

I usually don’t forward this stuff, but I am making an exception here because . . . well, because I just thought it up myself. I was thinking about politics and history, particularly about a father and son who both served as President, and I notice some interesting coincidences:

1.	The father was an old-school New Englander with an Ivy League education.

2.	The father served two terms as Vice-President under a very popular President.

3.	The father was elected to the Presidency himself when the President under whom he had served retired after two terms.

4.	The father served a single term as President.

5.	The father was defeated for re-election as President by a liberal opponent who had served as a state governor.

6.	The President who succeeded the father went on to serve two full terms.

7.	The son and the father shared the same first and last names.

8.	The son's name was distinguishable from the father’s name by the son's middle name, which furnished the moniker by which the son was popularly known.

9.	The son, like the father, got an Ivy League education, at a school just a few miles from his birthplace.

10.	The son was first elected to public office two years after his father lost the Presidency, during his father's successor’s first term.

11.	The son ran for President himself when a popular two-term incumbent retired from the Presidency during an era of long-running economic prosperity.

12.	The son finished second in the election, behind a populist candidate from Tennessee.

13.	But the son got into the White House anyway through some post-election maneuvering that, while technically constitutional, was perceived by many as a corrupt bargain.

14.	The father held the Presidency while in his 60s, the son while in his 50s. The father lived to see his son's Presidency.

15.	The son, like the father, served a single term as President.

16.	The son was defeated for re-election by a populist opponent who went on to serve two terms, who redefined and reinvigorated the Democratic party, and whose populism transformed American politics for generations.

The father and son that I am thinking of are, of course, the Adamses. Who, now that I think of it, share some striking similarities with that other father-son presidential team, the Bushes. Who knows whether history will repeat itself. But so far, they’re 14 for 14 . . .


Brian Melendez
Minneapolis, Minn.

That’s a good list, and I hope Bush ends up a one-termer like his old man. But think about number 11: was President Clinton really a POPULAR two-term President?

A fair question. Popular enough that he won re-election by a more decisive majority that he had won his first term. (But even I was getting pretty tired of him by the end.)