As we point out in the new issue of Prospect, Commentary—favoured read of the neocon intellectual—has appointed John Podhoretz as editor. This is just the latest example of US neoconservatism’s curious tendency towards nepotism—John is the son of Norman, Commentary‘s last-but-one editor, a regular contributor and, according to some reports, still the real power at the journal. The Podhoretzes are thus granted seats at the high table of America’s neocon dynasties, along with the Kagans (Robert, Frederick and their father Donald) and the Kristols (Irving and Bill). Meanwhile, with Hillary looking an increasingly good bet for the US presidency, the prospect of a White House inhabited by either a Bush or a Clinton for a staggering 36 years—if you include Bush Snr’s eight years as vice-president—looks to be a real possibility. Still, dynasties have long been a feature of US politics, as Hendrik Hertzberg points out in the New Yorker—and given the continued fascination with and admiration for our royal family in the US, perhaps we should consider this imitation a form of flattery.
The Podhoretz story was picked up by the New York Observer, which quoted a “longtime contributor” as saying:
The nepotism is shocking. This is a magazine, not a little family business… People who have worked there a long time… would not have been putting in year after year as editors if they knew Norman’s son was going to jump over their heads.
But if this blog post—an extraordinary, almost nonsensical attack on James Fallows, one of the most thoughtful and fair-minded of American journalists, over the Walt/Mearsheimer controversy—by Gabriel Schoenfeld, Commentary‘s senior editor, is anything to go by, perhaps the talent pool at the magazine simply isn’t that deep.