Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ain't That The Truth

Hillary Clinton questioned over Chelsea's baby (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton's Becoming a Grandmother Still Means She Can Be President

Photo: FilmMagicOn Thursday, Chelsea Clinton announced that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child this fall. But instead of focusing on the mom-to-be, many media outlets are zeroing in on the expectant mom's mother, Hillary Clinton, wondering whether the former secretary of state will be able to be both a grandparent and a valid 2016 presidential candidate.

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"Will Hillary Clinton be less likely to run in 2016?" the Christian Science Monitor wondered. In a post titled "What to expect when she's expecting," the website Politico referred to the former first daughter's announcement as a "politico-obstetric earthquake" and wondered whether it would be possible for Hillary Clinton to "have it all," ostensibly meaning a happy family and the Oval Office. Meanwhile, the website Drudge Report has received criticism for running a not-so-flattering picture of Clinton with the headline "Grandma Hillary" on its homepage.

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Even though Clinton hasn't confirmed whether she will seek her party's nomination for president in 2016, it seems unfair to hold her future grandmother status against her. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were both already grandfathers when they ran for president in 2012, but no one ever asked if it would affect their politics or ability to hold elected office.
This double standard has not gone unnoticed. Shonda Rhimes, the creator and showrunner of the hit series "Scandal" and "Grey's Anatomy," blasted USA Today for running a news story about Chelsea's pregnancy that included speculation about whether Hillary Clinton's grandparent status would hold her back from running for office again.
"This is incredibly stupid," Rhimes tweeted. "No one would ever write this dumba-- article about a MAN running." As of Friday afternoon the comment had been retweeted 250 times and favorited 280.
Other outlets have tried to talk about the grandparent/politician question from a slightly different angle. Washington Monthly argued that becoming a grandma might soften Clinton's image, making her a better and more appealing candidate. "The arrival of the first Clinton grandchild will not just be a beautiful thing; it’ll be a political thing, too," Haley Sweetland Edwards wrote in a story titled "Nana for President." More cynically, conservative pundit Steve Malzberg alleged that the Clintons had deliberately timed the pregnancy to get the maximum amount of positive publicity for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Ironically, there's one person who may have predicted this entire conversation: Hillary Clinton herself. At the Women in the World conference in New York City earlier this month, Clinton talked about gender and the media. "The double standard is alive and well, and I think in many respects the media is the principal propagator of its persistence," she said. "I think the media needs to be, you know, more self-consciously aware of that."
She added, "You have to play both an outside and inside game. On the outside you have to find ways to raise these issues that are truly rooted in sexism or in old-fashioned irrelevant expectations about women’s lives, not just to score a point but to change a mind."
Were any minds changed? We might have to wait two more years to find out.

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