While it may sound too incredible to be believed, the geneology website ancestry.com has discovered that these powerful politicians all come from the same family tree. Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, George Bush, and Dick Cheney are intertwined in a web of ancestry that reveals they are all distant cousins. Is this a case of nepotism going back all the way to the time of the US’ founding fathers? Or is there a more natural explanation?
Each president to come into office has his own controversy that he must overcome or outright ignore if the political cost is not too high. And in the case of Barack Obama, it turns out one of his greatest rivals, former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin and he may have more than Whitehouse aspirations in common. According to a study of their family trees, the branches of both families can be traced back to John Smith, who settled in Virginia in the early days of the United States. And so it seems when Obama talks of the similarities he shares with his opponents in an effort to close the gap between them, it’s actually more than simple political banter. They really do have much more in common
So is this a case of nepotism gone mad in a political world? The answer may be just as surprising, but it seems these family ties go much further than just the current politicians. In fact, more than a dozen US presidents have been related directly or indirectly to one another. The relationships span such concrete direct relationships as that between John Quincy Adams and his father John Adams or can be as obscure as Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt who were fifth cousins.
Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, William Taft, John Quincy Adams, and Herbert Hoover were all related through a single common ancestor King Edward the third while James Madison, Zachary Taylor, Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, and Gerald Ford can trace their ancestry to Edward the first. And the list of Kings’ descendants who would later become presidents doesn’t simply end there. And this isn’t taking into consideration the apparently coincidental elections of fathers and sons.
So is there a sort of dynasty involved in US presidents? Or is everyone just so related to everyone else? Without being a Washington insider it’s difficult to say, but it certainly has been fuel for controversy in years past and there is certainly no shortage of questions on the matter.
But is this just an unlikely coincidence? Well it seems common ancestry doesn’t necessarily have to be a conspiracy for it to naturally come about. Presidents and presidential candidates, while often exhibiting an image that they rose from out of nowhere through hard work, are telling only half the story. There is much competition for the Whitehouse. So much, in fact, that most candidates have to be groomed from a fairly early age and have a path set up by previous generations to get there. The assistance distant relatives can bring is an important asset on the road to the White House.
So how closely related are Palin and Obama? While they are related, they are tenth cousins once removed, so they likely won’t be in “Christmas Card” range of one another.