I've got a mother, a wife, and several daughters, so let me say up front that I'm all for empowered women. I just think it's interesting to note that the phenomenon of "power couples" didn't exist 100 years ago -- women didn't wield much public power, so marriages weren't a vehicle for amplifying power in democracies. (Of course, marriage was always a tool of power in aristocracies.)
It's not obvious to me how the incestuous corruption of these "power couples" can be reined in. Tracking all the interrelationships adds a level of complexity to the conflicts of interest -- the conflicts would be easy to analyze in a database, but how could the output be understood by a mildly interested human?
It's also worth noting that "power couples" are the cornerstone of cross-generational "meritocracy". The first few generations of meritocracy seemed great, as the decedents of cobblers became software engineers, but those first-order effects are becoming more rare thanks to assortive mating. It seems like we're reaching a stable state, wherein the descendants of the new upper class inherit the power "earned" by their parents.
In forming perceptions about Benghazi, the Iran deal, globalization, or illegal immigration, it is sometimes hard to know who is making policy and who is reporting and analyzing such formulations -- or whether they are one and the same. National Security Advisor Susan Rice is married to former ABC television producer Ian Cameron. Ben Rhodes, who drew up the talking-points deceptions about Benghazi and seemed to boast of deceiving the public about the Iran deal, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. Will 60 Minutes do one of its signature hit pieces on Ben Rhodes?
Secretary of State John Kerry -- who famously docks his yacht in Rhode Island in order to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on it -- is married to Teresa Heinz, the billionaire widow of the late senator and catsup heir John Heinz. Former Obama press secretary Jay Carney married Claire Shipman, senior national correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America; his successor, Josh Earnest, married Natalie Wyeth, a veteran of the Treasury Department. Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's "body woman," is married to creepy sexter Anthony Weiner; perhaps she was mesmerized by his stellar political career, his feminist credentials, and his tolerant approach to deviancy? And on and on it goes.
These Christiane Amanpour/Jamie Rosen or Samantha Power/Cass Sunstein types of connections could be explored to the nth degree, especially their moth-to-the-flame progressive fixations with maximizing privilege, power, and class. But my purpose is not to suggest some conspiratorial cabal of D.C. and New York insiders, only to note that an increasing number of government and media elites are so entangled with each other, leveraging lucrative careers in politics, finance, and the media, and doubling their influence through marriage, that they have scant knowledge of and less concern for the clingers who live well beyond their coastal-corridor moats. And so when reality proves their preconceptions wrong -- from Benghazi to Brexit -- they have only outrage and disdain to fall back on.