Unlike the Democratic Party, which has a rather prominent candidate known as Hillary Clinton, the Republican Party has already produced nearly 20 candidates for the 2016 election, each vying for the prize. Among them, two stand out as the more palpable ones: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (age 62) and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (age 52). Both are second-generation politicians.
In his first public address after announcing his intentions to run for the presidency before the National Automotive Dealers Association last January, Jeb Bush frequently mentioned “my father.” He said that his father was his political role model and specifically wishes to follow his foreign policies. All Jeb Bush mentioned about his brother was that he spends his time painting after his terms. In his first post on his PAC website, he only mentions his father and not his brother. Twenty years since George. H. W. Bush’s presidency, his foreign policies are considered a proper diplomatic realism in the post-Cold War era, whereas George W. Bush is rather unpopular for tarnishing America’s face on the international stage with his unilateral foreign policies. Of course, one cannot ignore that for Jeb Bush, his father will be more influential to him than his brother ever was.
While the 90-year-old father Bush on his sickbed is considered a political net asset to Jeb Bush, to Rand Paul, his father is a more complicated person than that. His father, former Congressman Ron Paul (age 79), while he had enough publicity to participate in the Republican primary three times, his political orientation was considered a bit too extreme [for the Republicans] and never became the Republican mainstream. Ron Paul is a libertarian, a political orientation that is rarely, if ever, found among the conservatives in South Korea.
Ron Paul believes the size of the [federal] government needs to be reduced, and he stands against the increased spending on the country’s social welfare. However, where he stands apart from the mainstream Republicans is that his idea of small government also applies to military spending. He believes that Vladimir Putin’s current rise to power is due to the West’s unnecessary aggression toward Russia after the Cold War. He even argues that the state of Texas, which was his district, should secede from the United States. After all, as he points out, the American Revolution was essentially a seceding from the United Kingdom. As a former medical doctor, Ron Paul argues that the country should not force its private citizens to vaccinate. At this rate, the father’s philosophies become burdensome to the son who wishes to be the next president. Still, Rand Paul seems to base most of his political philosophies on his father’s, and the senior is still quite alive, acting on his political principles.
"What would my father do?" I personally ask myself this question often, even though my father passed away a long time ago, especially since now I am a father myself. Whether we liked it or not, we all grew under the shadows of our fathers, and even after we move out of their houses, we are still influenced by them subconsciously. The issues over the film "International Market" can be understood in similar ways. [Translator’s note: "International Market" is a South Korean film that recently sparked a political debate in South Korea through its portrayal of South Korean society during the dictatorship/economic development phase.]
Especially now, when the "kangaroos" [Translator’s note: South Korean slang for the young adults who are still economically dependent on their parents] are not so hard to find around, our fathers become even bigger figures in our lives, doubly so if you inherit not only his economic legacy but the political one as well. We don’t even have to go look for such politicians in America who inherit political legacy from their fathers (and sometimes even grandfathers); we have plenty of them around us. What they have in common is that they are mostly right-wing politicians, and instead of coming up with a new vision, they remind the public of the "good ole days" to extend their political careers. Perhaps, President Park Guen-hye, who made a remark about her “father’s unfinished dream of blah blah nation-building,”* will have a story to share with these two American conservative politicians. It might go like “Trust me, I’ve done this before ...”
*Translator’s note: The author is using sarcasm to mock President Park Guen-hye.