My thoughts on the family's influence...... Grandfather and Father were both alumni of Yale and the elusive Skull & Bones Society. GW wasnt exactly a stellar student with SAT scores more than 200 pts below the average Yale freshman. Ever heard of a LEGACY? Those kinds of admissions happen every year so nothing really special there but I am sure it helped where Joe Blow with the same grades would have been wait listed. The circumstances surrounding GWs admission and appointment in the National Guard were nothing short of a miracle barring any assertion of influence either directly or indirectly. Hard to be certain about how much influence his family's name had on his later careers. I am sure Dad's success didn't hurt. When GW struck out on his own Dad had already made a mint in the oil business, served in Congress, served as Republican National Chairman and as Director of the CIA. That alone gives GW weight and credibility without having proved himself. It may have helped him get his foot in the door but his Daddy didnt make his oil career for him. As for GWs political career, I dont think it would have ever gotten off the ground without Dad paving the way. I shouldnt say that though. All it took for Clinton was a long winded speech at the Democratic Convention and all of the sudden it's Bubba for Prez. Stranger things have happened. I imagine GW could have been very successful in life without the family influence or name, but to say that he recieved no benefit is naive at best.