Chelsea Clinton vs. MSNBC’s David Shuster

When I first read about David Shuster’s comment about the Clinton campaign “pimping out” daughter Chelsea as celebrity-phone-caller-in-chief, I figured Shuster would get taken to the woodshed, but I never thought things would reach this fevered pitch.

Let’s break this down, piece by piece, and you tell me if people aren’t jumping out of windows over this for nothing.

1. David Shuster’s exact comment was, “Doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?”, framed to highlight the differences between the Clinton’s prior fierce protection of Chelsea, and their current clear willingness to employ Chelsea to get the campaign message out.

2. The definition of “pimping” has changed considerably in the last 10 years.  Pimping now refers to making something cool or better in some way (i.e. Pimp My Ride), rather than exclusively referring to those promoting prostitution.

3. The people jumping out of windows over this are saying Shuster effectively called Chelsea a whore.

4. The Clinton campaign has stated they may not participate in debates hosted by MSNBC, and is using this occurance to paint the entire network as being anti-Hillary.  Clinton’s campaign communications director Howard Wolfson called Shuster’s comments “beneath contempt” and “disgusting”.  Yet they continue to cozy up to Fox for coverage and debate hosting.

5. Chelsea Clinton is no longer the twelve-year-old girl she was when Bill entered the White House.  She is a grown woman of nearly 28 years with a Stanford degree in history and a graduate degree from Oxford in international relations.  I’m quite certain she can hold her own against misogyny when she’s subjected to it, and can make that judgment herself without her parents riding to her rescue.

6. Comments made about Chelsea have not garnered this much attention in the past- feature John McCain’s terrible “joke” told at a 1998 GOP fundraiser: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?  Because her father is Janet Reno.”  Media commentator Howard Kurtz wrote about Chelsea’s being fair game to the media after that. Despite McCain’s horrid sense of humor, and lack of apology to Chelsea,  I’m certain Clinton will share the debate stage with McCain in the event she becomes the nominee, rather than refuse to participate due to a slight by a boor against her daughter.

7. Parents have the right to take a certain amount of umbrage when their child is disrespected.  However, the extent one can take that umbrage for an adult child is limited.  Does this make Bill and Hill helicopter parents, who can’t let their progeny take flight independently?  After all, Chelsea is working for Avenue Capital, an hedge fund that is a heavy contributor to Hillary’s campaigns.

8.  Was the statement really against Chelsea at all?  Would it not be more appropriate to say Shuster was showing concern by calling out the Clinton campaign for using Chelsea so publicly, when she has been protected for so long?  Was Shuster really saying the Clinton Campaign Machine was the “pimp” in this case, while Chelsea has fallen victim to her parents’ personal ambition? This in itself does not make Chelsea a “whore”, it would make her manipulated, but only if she’s not truly choosing to be part of the campaign on her own.   It does call in to question the decision to use Chelsea in this capacity.  McCain’s daughter Meghan is 24 years old, and serves a role in her father’s campaign to engage young voters, and she is not subject to the level of criticism Chelsea is for her role in the Clinton campaign.

9. My take: Shuster said something not well-thought out.  It’s wasn’t calling Chelsea a “nappy-headed ‘ho” nor was it calling for her lynching in a back alley.  Shuster is a well respected journalist and does not deserve to be fired over this incident.  If that were the case, Joe Klien and Bill Kristol would have been unemployable years ago.  Ahh.. what a dream…

10. Everyone needs to calm the F down.  Shuster has apologized, repeatedly, and Chelsea will certainly live to phone another day.

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4 comments so far

  1. ewok1993 on

    I heard a little tidbit of this from NPR. Okay so the politically correct word was not used, GET OVER IT!

    Chelsea is an adult and she needs no sheltering any more. I do want to see her more infront too.

    Happy heart’s day.

  2. Grant on

    Even more important a thought, if you are going to put your daughter out there to stump for you then both you and she should expect to be given the same scrutiny that any candidate, press secretary or spin doctor would receive.

    Hilary can’t have it both ways. She can’t say let me use my daughter to speak out for me and then say you can’t criticize me or her for doing it.

    I find it appalling that Mr. Shuster has been reprimanded, punished and forced to apologize. He was merely expressing an opinion (and one that probably quite a number of people agree with). He was not refering to her in any way sexually and Senator Clinton knows that. He was refering to the act of sending someone out to do work for her.

    Senator Clinton has chosen to let her daughter be heavily involved in her campaign. She must accept the repercussions of that action.

    If this is the sort of reactionary mentality she has when it comes to her daughter, think long and carefully about what her decision making process would be as President of the United States.

  3. denni on

    Chelsea is a grown woman. As with any other grown woman in politics, she is going to be receiving negative and positive comments. Those situations go hand in hand with being in the limelight. Chelsea is out there campaigning for her mom just like everybody that is doing it. If somebody said something ugly about anybody else from campaign headquarters, nobody would have thought anything about it.

  4. A.marlowe on

    I read all this stuff about chelsea and I can’t help thinking someone is looking for a little dirt. why was all this talk against her and not about Obama’s wife? how many reporters have had interviews with or is CNN afraid she might let something slip that they would rather it wasn’t made public but then you can do what you normally and that is too not let it make it to print or not print it all together.from what I have seen so far,I wouldn’t give a news reporter the time of day.they might say I was not patriotic.


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