Author Topic: Chelsea’s baby: Why the political pundits are thrilled for Hillary Howard Kurtz By Howard Kurtz  (Read 132 times)

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Chelsea’s baby: Why the political pundits are thrilled for Hillary

By Howard Kurtz
Published April 21, 2014

Chelsea’s baby: Why the political pundits are thrilled for Hillary

Chelsea Clinton is having a baby—a nice, non-controversial story, right?—but the media are treating this development with a studied seriousness that borders on parody.

USA Today asks: “It’s unclear how Chelsea’s pregnancy will affect Hillary Clinton, who is considering a race for president in 2016.”

Unclear to whom? Hillary’s daughter can’t get pregnant without a bunch of political reporters hyperventilating?

“Does the word ‘grandmother’ connote authority, durability and wisdom, or a less-flattering set of associations?” the New York Times asks.

As in, this person is in her sunset years?

The public interest is understandable. Chelsea grew up in the White House, and was awkwardly caught in the middle during the Monica Lewinsky mess. She married the son of two members of Congress, Marc Mezvinsky (in a wedding at a secret location). She’s now part of the family foundation and a sometimes correspondent for NBC. Oh yes, and her mother will probably run for president.

This, says Politico, makes the baby announcement “a politico-obstetric earthquake,” high on the Richter scale. And fraught with meaning for Hillary:

“Clinton will be something else entirely: the most prominent American politician ever to become a grandmother. As far as sympathetic roles go, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Ah, so the baby-in-waiting is already a political prop for the 2016 campaign.

And ideological fodder as well. Ted Cruz aide Amanda Carpenter tweeted: “I love days like this when everyone recognizes a baby is a baby and not a fetus.”

Hillary has been openly pining for a grandchild, and I get that the handicappers think it will warm up her image. Although this is blatantly sexist on its face, as I don’t recall anyone lauding the fact that Mitt Romney was a grandfather.

Granted, Chelsea is a former president’s daughter. But when Jenna Bush Hager announced her pregnancy in December 2012, it hardly got a big wave of media attention. Sure, she unveiled the news on the “Today” show, but she works for the program.

Perhaps it’s inevitable, since the Clintons are one of our royal families, that the media hoopla will approach William-and-Kate levels: It’s a boy (or girl)! The birth! The name! The first pictures! The People magazine cover!

Until then, we’ll have to make do with the speculation. As in the Christian Science Monitor venturing, “If we had to guess, we'd say that Hillary Clinton will be a tad less interested in running for president now that she's about to be a grandmother.”

Jim Pinkerton jokingly referred to the “royal baby” on “Media Buzz,” but that comparison was more seriously invoked when “Good Morning America” talked about the impact on Hillary: “Instead of hugging and kissing strangers' babies, she would have one of her own. A warm, maternal image to counter the critics who call her cold and calculating.”

Combined with the latest release of Clinton library files, this is a reminder that Hillary has been on the public stage a very long time. That can be a big disadvantage, as she’s hardly a fresh face and we’ve already lived through one Clinton presidency. But it also means the public is quite interested in her soap-opera life, and that her career will never be dull—especially with this latest development heralding a new generation.

We’ll stop the madness with this semi-scoop from The Wire:

“The first day Chelsea Clinton's just-announced baby will be eligible to be president is January 20, 2053.”

Mark your calendars.

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