Chelsea doesn’t have to answer that question…

The usually soft-spoken Clinton rebuked a student at Butler University in Indianapolis on Tuesday who asked whether her mother’s credibility had been hurt during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“Wow, you’re the first person actually that’s ever asked me that question in the, I don’t know maybe, 70 college campuses I’ve now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business,” Clinton said, getting loud applause from the 200 people in the audience, according to the Associated Press.

Washington Post


It’s one of those elephants in the room and really there is nothing to be done about it.  Chelsea is an adult and she’s taken on a great deal of responsibility to be a surrogate for her Mother’s campaign.  I expected this when she opened herself up to questions and even though it is not relevant, the student had every right to ask it.  Chelsea had every right not to answer it. 

The Press is questioning how she handled the situation.  The Lewinsky Affair is part of the American psyche and many of us lived through it via the media, Chelsea lived through it like no one else did, as the daughter of an adulterous Father.  To say that we know how she should handle such questions assumes a certain amount of intimacy with the situation that none of us have, not like Chelsea does. 

Chelsea doesn’t have to answer that question.  Yes, that’s it, she has no obligation to the public to reveal her personal thoughts regarding something that she lived through first hand.  This is not reality TV and her childhood trauma’s are not fair game for public consumption.

And I want to point out that this has nothing to do with the primary but with someone who feels that no child should be punished by the deeds of their parents.  I doubt many of you know what it is like to grow up in the public spotlight during what is already a difficult time in some kids lives.  To then be the butt of tasteless jokes and endless prying it makes me especially protective of Politician’s children and in particular, Chelsea.  I truly believe that many good men and women forgo public office for fear of hurting their children.  There has to be a line and just because it’s been crossed numerous times in the past doesn’t mean we can’t redraw it.  If we want to see more people run for office and put themselves out there in such a way, I think we need to redefine just what is fair game. 

Now, I understand that some will say that politicians choose this for their children and in putting them out there for public consumption means that they are “fair game” (Holiday photos, campaign ads, etc.).  I just disagree.  Only the parents should be allowed to decide what is appropriate for their children just as it is in any other part of private and public life.  Not everyone is going to agree what is “appropriate” but it’s really none of our business unless the choices people make put their children in harms way.  Is it that hard to understand?

  1 comment for “Chelsea doesn’t have to answer that question…

  1. Northcountystorm
    March 27, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Heather, Now this is a nice post. I guess you read Captain Chris’ and Gatekeeper Gila’s memo. Seriously, I agree with your take.

    Now there are some that would suggest that just by raising the subject you might be trying to give the underlying issue legs. Kind of like if Sean did a post on Obama and Rezco and opined that it was unfair to impugn Obama’s ethics simply because of teh relationship Obama had with Rezco. But I don’t think thats what you did. I think you were trying to be fair and I think you suceeded. Thank you.

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