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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chelsea Clinton--A Spoiled, Entitled Light Weight






The last thing the left needs is the third iteration of a failed
 political dynasty.

Chelsea Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
By SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images.

Amid investigations into Russian election interference,
perhaps we ought to consider whether the Kremlin, to hurt
 Democrats, helped put Chelsea Clinton on the cover of 
Variety. Or maybe superstition explains it. Like tribesmen
 laying out a sacrifice to placate King Kong, news outlets
 continue to make offerings to the Clinton gods. In The 
New York Times alone, Chelsea has starred in multiple
features over the past few months: for her tweeting (it’s
become “feisty”), for her upcoming book (to be titled She
 Persisted), and her reading habits (she says she has an
 “embarrassingly large” collection of books on her Kindle).
With Chelsea’s 2015 book, It’s Your World, now out in
 paperback, the puff pieces in other outlets—EllePeople,
etc.—are too numerous to count.
One wishes to calm these publications: You can stop this now. 
Haven’t you heard that the great Kong is no more? Nevertheless,
 they’ve persisted. At great cost: increased Chelsea exposure is
 tied closely to political despair and, in especially intense cases,
 the bulk purchasing of MAGA hats. So let’s review: How did
 Chelsea become such a threat?
Perhaps the best way to start is by revisiting some of Chelsea’s
 major post-2008 forays into the public eye. Starting in 2012,
she began to allow glossy magazines to profile her, and she
 picked up speed in the years that followed. The results were
 all friendly in aim, and yet the picture that kept emerging from
 the growing pile of Chelsea quotations was that of a person
accustomed to courtiers nodding their heads raptly. Here are
 Chelsea’s thoughts on returning to red meat in her diet: “I’m
a big believer in listening to my body’s cravings.” On her time
 in the “fiercely meritocratic” workplace of Wall Street: “I wa
s curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental
 level, and I couldn’t.” On her precocity: “They told me that my
 father had learned to read when he was three. So, of course, I
thought I had to too. The first thing I learned to read was the
newspaper.” Take that, Click, Clack, Moo.
Chelsea, people were quietly starting to observe, had a tendency
 to talk a lot, and at length, not least about Chelsea. But you
couldn’t interrupt, not even if you’re on TV at NBC, where she
 was earning $600,000 a year at the time. “When you are with
 Chelsea, you really need to allow her to finish,” Jay Kernis,
 one of Clinton’s segment producers at NBC, toldVogue. “She’s
not used to being interrupted that way.”
Sounds perfect for a dating profile: I speak at length, and
you really need to let me finish. I’m not used to interruptions.
What comes across with Chelsea, for lack of a gentler word,
is self-regard of an unusual intensity. And the effect is stronger
on paper. Unkind as it is to say, reading anything by Chelsea
 Clinton—tweets, interviews, books—is best compared to taking
 in spoonfuls of plain oatmeal that, periodically, conceal a
toenail clipping.
Take the introduction to It’s Your World (Get Informed! Get
 Inspired! Get Going!). It’s harmless, you think. “My mom
 wouldn’t let me have sugary cereal growing up (more on
that later),” writes Chelsea, “so I improvised, adding far more
 honey than likely would have been in any honeyed cereals.”
That’s the oatmeal—and then comes the toenail:
I wrote a letter to President Reagan when I was five to voice my

opposition to his visit to the Bitburg cemetery in Germany,

because Nazis were buried there. I didn’t think an American

president should honor a group of soldiers that included Nazis.

President Reagan still went, but at least I had tried in my own

small way.
Ah, yes, that reminds me of when I was four and I wrote to
 Senator John Warner about grain tariffs, arguing that trade
 barriers unfairly decreased consumer choice.
At first glance, of course, Chelsea seems to be boasting that
 at age five she was interpreting the news with the maturity
of an adult. But we should consider whether it’s instead a
 confession that as an adult she still interprets the news
with the maturity of—well, let’s just submit that perhaps
she thinks what other people tell her to think. Which brings
 us to Chelsea’s Twitter feed.
Since Chelsea has 1.6 million followers, we can only conclude
 that some people enjoy ideas like “Yes. Yes. Yes. Closing the
 #wagegap is crucial to a strong economy.” And maybe there’s
 no sin in absorbing and exuding nothing but respectable Blue
 State opinion. But it’s another thing to insist on joining each
day’s designated outrage bandwagon. Did we need to slap
 down a curmudgeonly Charlotte Rampling, age 71, for
 griping about #OscarsSoWhite activists? Yes, and here’s
 Chelsea: “Outrageous, ignorant & offensive comments
 from Rampling.” Is gender identity not going to be included
 on the 2020 census? Here’s Chelsea: “This is outrageous. No
one should be invisible in America.” Not that there aren’t
 breaks for deeper thoughts: “Words without action
 are ... meaningless. Words with inaction are ... just words.
Words with opposite action is ... hypocrisy.”
That is … beautiful.
The crude conventional wisdom is that Bill Clinton craved
adoration and Hillary Clinton craved power. But Chelsea
Clinton seems to have a more crippling want: fashionability—
of the sort embraced by philanthropic high society. So you
tell The New York Times that your dream dinner party
 would include James Baldwin, Shakespeare, Franz Kafka,
 Albert Camus, Jane Jacobs, and Jane Austen, and discussion
 would be about how “people and communities can evolve to
be more inclusive, more kind, have a greater and broader
sense of solidarity, while still respecting individual liberties;
what provokes or blocks those changes; and what stories
might resonate today to encourage us toward kindness,
respect, and mutual dignity.” You almost have to bow down
 before someone who could host Shakespeare for dinner and
make the agenda wind up sounding like a brochure for the
 Altria Group. At least Kafka would be on hand to capture the
 joy of the evening.
To find fault with the former First Daughter is to invite the
 wrath of thousands. Love of Chelsea correlates closely with
 love of Hillary, toward whom her fans have long felt an odd
protectiveness, as if she were a stroke survivor regaining the
 power of speech rather than one of the most influential
 people in the world. That goes even more for Chelsea, who
 is often treated less like an independent 37-year-old multi-
millionaire and more like the 12-year-old who still deserve
s to be left alone.
But let’s have a reality check. No one bothers George W. 
Bush’s daughter, Barbara Bush, who quietly works on
 her nonprofit, Global Health Corps. On the other hand, if
you’re posing for magazine covers, granting interviews, doing
 book tours, placing your name on your parents’ multi-million-
dollar foundation, and tweeting out daily to 1.6 million people,
 then—guess what—you’re a public figure. And if you’ve
openly entertained the possibility of running for office if
“it was something I felt called to do,” then
 assurances to the contrary aren’t quite good enough.
You’re a public hazard.
God has decreed that American political dynasties decline
sharply in suitability for office with each iteration. Call it the
 George H.W.-George W.-Jeb rule. Quit after the first iteration.
Don’t trot out the second one. And, for the love of God, don’t trot
 out the third. Forgetting that rule harmed the Democratic Party
 in 2016 and blew up the Republican Party entirely. The
Democratic Party is surprisingly cohesive these days, thanks
to anti-Trump sentiment, so a Jeb-style destruction is unlikely. But never say never. If anyone could make it happen, Chelsea could.
Scenes from the Clinton Bubble: Campaign Photos from a Hillary Volunteer

Barack Obama

Photo: Photograph by Alan Mozes.