Chelsea Clinton and “The Question”
I’ve been following this story for a bit now about people asking Chelsea about her father’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, and if it impacts her mother’s ability to be President. Chelsea reacted indignantly in response, telling the questioners that it was none of their business. Was she right? I’m of two minds on this issue.
One the one hand, Chelsea is campaigning for her mother. As a result, and because it is not unusual that people may want to know whether Hillary’s reaction to the affair is indicative of her personality or character, and whether it impacts her ability to be President, it’s probably unrealistic to expect people to think the question is generally “off limits.” Surely it’s an appropriate question to ask Hillary, and perhaps even Bill.
But on the other hand, it seems like a terribly insensitive question to ask Chelsea, given that she is Hillary’s daughter. Isn’t the questioner really just asking — how do you feel as her daughter? And on that level, it really isn’t the person’s business, and I can’t what it would matter politically how Chelsea qua Chelsea feels about it. Moreover, I believe that anyone who asks the question is really asking it to get a rise out of Chelsea, which in my opinion shows nothing more than a kind of viciousness that we should not approve of.
All in all, I’d say that the questioners have “the right” to ask the question, that it’s not “off limits” but I think they should be seen in a disapproving light for lacking the kind of sensitivity to ask it of Chelsea. I think Chelsea needs to make clear the next time she’s asked that how she feels about it is none of anyone’s business, though how one should feel about it is, but that this is a question that any else could be asked, but not her.