Most of us do not get to pick our family members other than perhaps who we choose to be our spouse. Even then, in the world of politics, typically family members are supposedly "off limits" - at least until they do something or say something that is over the top. In the line up of of would be Republican presidential candidates, Talking Points Memo looks at three who have family members who may rock the boat and cause headaches. Here are highlights:
It is a cardinal rule of politics that families ought to be off-limits for attacks in campaigns, no matter how heated things get. But sometimes family members have a way of making trouble own their own for candidates.
When it comes to family members of presidential candidates, the 2016 election is shaping up to feature an unusually colorful cast of characters who could make plenty of trouble for their son, spouse or brother. Here they are.
Rafael Cruz The father-son resemblance is strong between Rafael Cruz and Rafael Jr. — better known as Ted — when it comes to being a conservative flamethrower. An evangelical pastor from Texas, the elder Cruz has logged a variety of incendiary remarks about President Barack Obama that surpass his son's rhetoric. Highlights include saying the president should go "back to Kenya," accusing him of wanting to "destroy all concept of God," describing his views as "classical Marxist philosophy" and comparing him to Fidel Castro. . . . . One of his [Ted Cruz's] chief obstacles to the nomination is his lack of support among party elites and big donors, precisely because of the rabble-rousing ways for which Rafael Sr. serves as an unhelpful reminder.
Ron Paul The former Texas congressman and father of Rand Paul had a proclivity for toying with conspiracy theories during his 35 years in office, and that tendency has kicked into high gear since his retirement in 2013. Just in 2015, his organization, the Ron Paul Institute, has suggested that the massacre of Charlie Hebdo by Islamic militants was a "false flag" and even called into question the "official story" of the 9/11 attacks. His son, a Kentucky senator and presidential hopeful, more in tune with political reality and working to shed the outside-the-mainstream image he inherited. If his father keeps at it, that won't be an easy task.
George W. Bush The most recent former president left office as one of the most unpopular in history, and — almost as troubling for his aspiring younger brother Jeb — was subsequently cast by the conservative base as an emblem of spendthrift Republicanism gone wrong. The Bush name is a liability with most constituencies other than evangelicals and wealthy GOP donors. Although George W. Bush has actively avoided the limelight since he left office, he recently resurfaced in the public eye to attend a fundraiser for his brother. And it's a safe bet that Democrats will seek to paint Jeb as the second coming of his brother.