Republican children are fair game, totally mockable; Democratic ones are sacred
Kids whose parents are in the public eye have it tough. Through no fault of their own, their private triumphs and disappointments, from good or bad grades to clothing or friends, are public fodder, suitable for national commentary. And you thought the neighbors were bad! Ugh!
Some celebrity parents fight back as best they can – surrounding their children with bodyguards, making arrangements with schools that nothing about their children be revealed, and saying nothing about their offspring unless it suits their careers. A parent has gotta do what a parent has gotta do. Don't like the parent, criticize the parent, but don't get at the parent through the kids; leave them alone.
Over 60 years ago, after a Washington Post critic panned President Harry Truman (D)'s adult daughter's singing debut:
... Miss Truman is a unique American phenomenon with a pleasant voice of little size and fair quality (she) cannot sing very well is flat a good deal of the time more last night than at any time we have heard her in past years has not improved in the years we have heard her (and) still cannot sing with anything approaching professional finish.
Truman himself shot off what today would be a threatening letter.
I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an "eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay."
It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.
Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!
Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you'll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.
And Truman was applauded for being a caring father, even though his then-26-year-old daughter chose to sing professionally in public. Ms. Truman survived the criticism and presumably the even worse embarrassment of her loving father's public defense. Although she didn't continue her music career, she lived a long, productive life.
We now have a president in the White House with adolescent children. They seem to be nice young ladies behaving appropriately when in public; presumably they are doing well in their private lives. I certainly hope so and wish them well. But then again, I don't see that much about them in the media – which is proper.
However, a staff member for a Republican representative wrote a mildly critical observation about the girls on her personal Facebook page, and – pow! Forget the trivial, oh-so-well media-covered events in Ferguson; Jonathan Gruber's admissions about the (Un-)Affordable Care Act; the Obama's administration selling out to Iran over nuclear weapons; the Democratic debacle in the elections; the Obama's administration's expensive carbon regulations; Obama's unilateral, unconstitutonal illegal alien amnesty; the horrors of the Islamic State; Russia's dangerous aggressiveness; etc.; etc. – her Facebook remark is a serious, national consequential matter, the liberal media decreed. And so the liberal media erupted – with an assist from the Obama administration? a perfect distraction from failing to mention these and other Obama failures? – and this lowly staffer is soon out of a job, forced to resign, freedom of speech be damned. Oh, and the libby media are rummaging through her private life, looking for other mistakes.
But then again, all those who criticized and mocked the Bush twin daughters and the Palin children are also out on the streets, jobless, so this is only fair and toally understandable.
Well, Carol Costello is still anchoring at CNN after a weak apology for gleefully playing the police recording that Bristol Palin, Sarah's daughter, gave to the police after she defended her sister from an attack. Costello seemed happy that the Palin girls were attacked. OK, it is CNN, which probably has fewer viewers than the Republican staffer's Facebook page. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are still nattering away from their even less watched perches on MSNBC after they too condemned the Palin girls for defending themselves. David Letterman doesn't seem to have been affected by his devastating attacks on Bristol Palin after she became pregnant as a teenager. Andrew Sullivan is still writing his nonsense despite (because of?) his cruel attacks on the Palins' Down syndrome baby, and on and on. Palin's children are fair targets, apparently.
The careers of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live infamy are doing just fine despite – because of, really – their silly parodies of George Bush's twin daughters – i.e., dissing their father (and themselves) in arguing whether Daddy is a good president. The twins' other minor adolescent escapades also received disproportionate media attention.
Tampon earring-wearing fashionista Melissa Harris-Perry neutered her mockery of the Romney family's new black adopted grandson with her weak apology. And mentioning that she is also a black adoptee of a Mormon family.
On the Sunday broadcast of her MSNBC show, Melissa Harris Perry and her panel poked fun at a Romney family portrait that included his new black grandson.
"One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same. And that little baby, front and center, would be the one," panelist Pia Glenn commented.
"My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the wedding between Kieran Romney and North West. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?" Harris Perry said.
At the end of the segment Harris Perry teased the panel's next topic: a year in review of "is that racist?"
Chelsea Clinton, the Bush daughters' predecessor first child, also endured similar mockery. Except she didn't. At least not for long. As Gawker warned during the Clinton presidential years:
Suspended (bold added) NBC correspondent David Shuster is just the latest in a long line of people to regret ever bringing up Chelsea Clinton, who has long been something of a third rail in American politics and media. The press was sufficiently skittish about her under Bill Clinton's presidency that they by and large observed requests from the First Family to leave Chelsea alone during her time as a student at Stanford University. (snip)
- Movie star Mike Myers sent an apology to the White House after a skit on Saturday Night Live mentioned Chelsea. The skit was an episode of the fictional show Wayne's World in which Wayne, played by Myers, and his sidekick Garth, played by Dana Carvey, said of the Gore daughters, "If they were a president, they'd be Babe-raham Lincoln." Then: "Chelsea... well, she's a babe in development." The tame joke prompted not only an apology from Myers but from Carvey and show executive producer Lorne Michaels. (bold added)
So the pattern is clear. Be safe reading this, and hope I am, too.