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"Let's do it for the children!"

One of the most disgusting trends in politics over the past few years has been the use of politicians' children -- especially by their opponents. And I, for one, have had enough of it.

This was prompted by the latest column from Boston Globe liberal imbecile Derrick Z. Jackson, who just wanted to make damned sure everyone and their cousin knew that Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary, is a lesbian, and she and her partner are expecting a child soon.

(In Jackson's defense, publication of a column in the increasingly-irrelevant Boston Globe isn't really giving it too much publicity. I only read that section because my doctor told me by blood pressure's been running a smidgen too low lately.)

Mary Cheney is but the latest "poster child" for this trend. During the 2004 campaign, John Edwards took the opportunity of a debate to rub her sexuality in her father's face on national television, smarmily saying that he was just offering "support" and "sympathy." One would think that a highly-successful trial lawyer like Edwards would have been smoother, but I think this is a case of "there's no polishing a turd." Wolf Blitzer of CNN tried the same on Cheney.

Other examples of this have been the ever-popular "bash the Bush twins" game. If they're not being slammed for acting like typical college students, then they're being called on to volunteer to serve in the military, or even drafted and sent to Iraq to "fight their daddy's war." I got into an argument with one "draft the twins" idiot and tried to show just how absurd he was being by countering that perhaps Chelsea Clinton should have been sent to the Balkans or Mogadishu, and -- the irony escaping him -- he agreed with me.

Another example? Sure. How about when John Roberts was nominated for the Supreme Court? When their son was mentioned, someone noticed that Mrs. Roberts had a brief flash of an expression somewhat like discomfort. From there, it was just a short leap to conclude that young Mr. Roberts was most likely gay, and a source of embarrassment to his parents. That particular theory was going great guns until someone noted that young Jack was all of four years old.

Now, my first impulse would be to counterattack. Yeah, send Chelsea Clinton to the Balkans. And while we're at it, let's look at Al Gore III's criminal record and see what sort of carbon offsets he owes for his speeding and drunk driving incidents. Then, why don't we...

I'll tell you why. Because it's wrong.

The Bible says so. Deuteronomy 24:16 says "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin."

Even the United States Constitution says so. Article III, Section 3 specifically forbids "Corruption Of Blood," an archaic term meaning "you can't punish people for the crimes of their relatives."

Obviously, if the offspring of politicians choose to get involved in politics, that's an entirely different matter. But the attacks on the Bush twins began long before they made their political debut at the 2004 Republican National Convention -- and even then, it wasn't on matters of major import, simply a "we love and support our dad" moment. (And a cute reference to their own "hamster story," in response to Kerry's daughter's tale of her father rescuing a drowning hamster.)

But for the most part, there's never a good reason to bring up a politician's children. Children don't choose their parents, and (adoption cases technically excepted) parents don't choose their children.

The same should be extended to other family members. Roger Clinton was a walking car wreck, but the only time he should have been the focus of national attention was when his relationship with his brother Bill became relevant -- such as his presidential pardon, issued on Bill's last day in office.

Likewise, relatives who exploit their politician kin for personal gain should be hounded. For example, Billy Carter got tangled up with Libya and eventually had to register as a foreign agent. Tony Rodham (brother of Hillary) is alleged to have arranged for a presidential pardon in exchange for some serious money. And Neil Bush's involvement in the Savings and Loan scandals of the late 80's -- while his father was vice president -- quite possibly should have landed him in jail.

As I read years ago, "God gives us our relatives. Thank God we can choose our friends."

(I think Jimmy Carter might have said that in relation to his brother back in the 1970's.)


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Comments (30)

Jimmy Carter had Billy, Bil... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Jimmy Carter had Billy, Bill Clinton had Roger, and Jeb Bush has George.

Geez Adrian must we scroll ... (Below threshold)
pretzel_logic:

Geez Adrian must we scroll by yet another I-hate-George-Bush-no-matter-what post??

ps Nice Read Jay

One you forgot was Theresa ... (Below threshold)

One you forgot was Theresa Heinz' remark about Laura Bush never having had a "real job"; as if to imply it had some bearing on the Presidency itself.

Otherwise, Hear Hear! I remember the situation with John Roberts' son and I was apalled. Conversely, I remember some crude jokes about John Kerry's rescuing of the hamster. That was an act of love by a loving father. Regardless of what we think of him as a politician, I have no doubt that his relationship with his children is one of pure love and has absolutely nothing to do with his qualifications.

This thing with the Bush twins has really taken the cake though.

I hope this would also incl... (Below threshold)
Mike:

I hope this would also include Joe Wilson's wife, as she wasn't actively political, she was a undercover agent.

Mike--If she was undercover... (Below threshold)
nikkolai:

Mike--If she was undercover, why was no one charged with blowing her cover? Armitage admitted doing it, and claimed it was Joe Wilson who told him. Why were these two men not charged?

Oh-Pleeze. Jay I am sure y... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Oh-Pleeze. Jay I am sure you were outrage over the terrible things said about Chelsea Clintons' looks during the Clinton Presidency.

"Question: Why is Chelsea C... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"Question: Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Answer: Because her father is Janet Reno!" John McCain 1998

"Hey, folks, did you hear there's a new dog in the White House? (showing a picture of Chelsea)" Rush Limbaugh

Mary is a grown adult that worked on the Bush/Cheney campaign. Chelsea was a child at the time.

Take your faux morality somewhere else.

Article III, Section 3 s... (Below threshold)

Article III, Section 3 specifically forbids "Corruption Of Blood," an archaic term meaning "you can't punish people for the crimes of their relatives."

-- Why isn't his front and center in the argument for paying reparations for slavery?

Barney, I dunno why I shoul... (Below threshold)

Barney, I dunno why I should have to even bother to repeat myself, but I've repeatedly slammed Limbaugh over the Chelsea Clinton bit. In fact, although the Clintons publicly forgave him a long time ago, I didn't fully get over it until about a year ago.

And if Mary Cheney is fair game, Barney, why don't you attack her? Or is she only useful as a weapon to use against her father? To "praise" her in a so-far attempt to embarrass her father? I keep hearing how the Republicans are NOT the exclusive owners of "family values," but here's an attempt to alienate a father and daughter from each other -- nice respect for families there, Barney.

You got anything of SUBSTANCE, Barney?

I thought not.

J.

BarneyG2000, you seem to ha... (Below threshold)
Fred Z:

BarneyG2000, you seem to have found a word in the post that is not there. Tea said "One of the most disgusting trends in politics over the past few years has been the use of politicians' children -- especially by their opponents." I don't see the word liberal and it is obvious that Tea says the behavior is disgusting no matter from what side it comes, whether from a liberal politician or a conservative one.

So take your faux morality and faux reading and faux analytical skills elsewhere.

When did 'faux' transfer to the English language? Isn't it's use what the old style books called an affectation?

Faux. Faux. Faux. Gesundheit

Jay, I would agree with you... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Jay, I would agree with you, but I can't figure out why you consider Mary Cheney to be off-limits. After the 2000 election she was a gay advocate in the Republican Unity Coalition. She has done many TV and print interviews about gay rights and her own homosexuality. She wrote an autobiography. Yet anytime anyone brings Mary up to Dick or Lynne, they go fucking berzerk.

In the most recent example, the VP got pissed at Wolf Blitzer for asking him about James Dobson's comments (admittedly, Wolf acted like an idiot). When Mary Cheney was asked about Dobson by another journalist, she had no problem answering the questions.

I agree with your contention that politicians' children (actual children) should be off-limits, but if their child is an adult, active and outspoken in politics, who regularly appears in the media, it's a bit different now isn't it? And of course politicians should not be blamed for their relatives' crimes, but that is the most appalling thing about the Cheneys. Despite the fact that Mary is so public with her life and homosexuality, her parents treat it as a dirty little secret that no one should ever mention in polite society. They behave as though they would be tainted by their child's misdeeds, but their child has done absolutely nothing wrong. She is tainted by them.

Jay, it is so convenient of... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Jay, it is so convenient of you to leave out your outrage over the Limbaugh disgrace from your original post.

I guess it is only bad if a marginalized radio hack like Limbaugh does it, but if a Senator and Presidential candidate does the same it is OK in your book?

I support Mary Cheney's decision. I do not see why her choice should be hidden. She is a public figure, and she has been open about her orientation since joining the Republican Unity Group in 2002.

"Let's do it for t... (Below threshold)
"Let's do it for the children!"

When I read this headline, I thought the article was going to be about the Roman Catholic Church's view of sex.

Not to point out the obviou... (Below threshold)

Not to point out the obvious, but the "Corruption of blood" line in the Constitution is referring to treason. It reads "[N]o attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood..."

I'm not advocating that kids are fair game; I'm just saying that that doesn't apply.

Jay..I thought the Boston ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay..I thought the Boston Globe column was sympathetic to both the Cheneys..The problem is that though Bush "is happy for the Cheneys" and their announcement the Bush/ Cheney adminitration are proposing legislation to make it illegal or more difficult to do exactly what Mary and her partner, Heather are planning to do, raise their chilren as legal parents. Perhaps we can make a special exception for the Vice President's daughter and grandchild?

Barney, as I've said, I've ... (Below threshold)

Barney, as I've said, I've repeatedly slammed Limbaugh over the Chelsea Clinton thing, publicly. I don't feel any great compunction to go over it for an umpteenth time.

And mantis, Mary Cheney isn't being attacked here. She's being used as a cudgel, an excuse to attack her father. That's what is so disgusting. All Dick Cheney is asking is that people let his relationship with his daughter remain private -- and apparently that's just too much to ask. "The personal is political."

J.

This is why abortion should... (Below threshold)

This is why abortion should not be allowed in rape and incest cases, only when the mother's life is in danger.

Yes, it is horrible when a woman is raped, and it is hard for her to carry a child to term whose father is a rapist.

But the child itself is innocent of the father's deed, and should not be put to death because of it. There are many people who would adopt and love a child and never care how it came into the world.

One of the most wonderful aspects of America is the sense of "inventing yourself." In other countries you are slotted into a career based on your parents, not your abilities. We smashed all that as a country, and we're all better off because of it.

The relationshop is no lon... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The relationshop is no longer private once a child is adopted.. While Cheney sits on the fence, Bush is a strong federal suporter of anti gay adoption legislation including removal of the child from the parents..Cheney sits on the fence, on this issue. Thus is a classical ethical problem for all politicians...Sometimes, (not often) they must be prepared to sacrifice their children or their principles.

And mantis, Mary Cheney ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And mantis, Mary Cheney isn't being attacked here. She's being used as a cudgel, an excuse to attack her father. That's what is so disgusting. All Dick Cheney is asking is that people let his relationship with his daughter remain private -- and apparently that's just too much to ask. "The personal is political."

Well, considering that the gay marriage/civil unions and adoption by gay couples are prominent issues in the present political landscape, and that Mary is public figure in this arena, it is not exactly unreasonable that he would be confronted by this issue in the press. And when you say that "(a)ll Dick Cheney is asking is that people let his relationship with his daughter remain private," I wonder why he doesn't publicly state that Concerned Women for America or Focus on the Family are "out of line."

Better still, why doesn't he tell Mary, who wrote extensively on her relationship with her father (his response when she came out, etc.), to let their relationship remain private?

I have no doubt that Dick and Lynne are loving parents who accept their daughter's homosexuality. What is interesting to me is why they are so reticent to say that. They feign outrage anytime the topic is brought up, ignoring their daughter's public prominence and statements on the issue, and they do so because it would hurt them politically to be explicit in their acceptance (and because they get to play the victim card). I agree that others make the personal political, but the Cheney's play the same game.

I didn't find Jackson's art... (Below threshold)

I didn't find Jackson's article that bad, really.

Also, Mary is pregnant so maybe someone could explain to me where adoption comes into this.

Also, love *doesn't* replace a mother and a father. It's a sad thing that no matter the context of this kind of statement it's seen as a hateful attack. It seems like a minority of children get a full time father these days, and that's a sad thing.

Wait a second... mantis am ... (Below threshold)

Wait a second... mantis am I reading you right?

It's ok because Lynn is a politically active adult.

Yet for some reason Casey Sheehan was an adult who volunteered to serve this country, but we must ignore that because he's Cindy Sheehans' "baby".

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?

oops, Mary Cheney, strike m... (Below threshold)

oops, Mary Cheney, strike my "Lynn" from the records >_

Wait a second... mantis ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Wait a second... mantis am I reading you right?

Well, probably not, since I never mentioned Cindy Sheehan and you seem to be attributing arguments to me that I've never made. I may be wrong because I'm not even sure what you're saying.

It's ok because (Mary) is a politically active adult.

What is the "it" that you're referring to? Do you mean talking about her homosexuality in a political context? Yeah, I'd say it's ok, because she has repeatedly spoken publicly about it, and worked as an political advocate for the gay community. To claim that this is off limits is just weird.

Yet for some reason Casey Sheehan was an adult who volunteered to serve this country, but we must ignore that because he's Cindy Sheehans' "baby".

I'm afraid I really don't know what you're saying here. We can't say that Casey Sheehan was an adult who volunteered to serve his country? Why not?

I've never been a supporter of Cindy Sheehan, and I don't think the fact that one soldier who died in the war has a mother who's sad is any argument against the war.

Re: Chelsea Clinton<... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Re: Chelsea Clinton

There's a difference when a known pundits takes cheap shots and a supposedly objective journalist takes cheap shots. Or is CNN's supposedly objective journalist no better than a pundit?

Wow, not exactly the argume... (Below threshold)

Wow, not exactly the argument I thought you would have made mantis, I apologize for my prejudice.

Mantis: Personally, I thin... (Below threshold)

Mantis: Personally, I think the point is that if Mary Cheney is A) a politically active adult B) advocating for the gay community and C) pregnant then the media should seek comment from Mary Cheney herself. That was done. She answered the questions. But Dick Cheney is not responsible for what Mary Cheney does and the partisans out there have tried to tie them together as a package deal and paint Dick Cheney as a hypocrite because of what his daughter does. They've tried to elicit a negative comment from him in regards to her or any comment they can twist into something negative. "But your daughter ...." and that's wrong. We've heard scads of it already. Apparently, the Halliburton thing isn't satisfying enough anymore.

See what I'm saying?

But Dick Cheney is not r... (Below threshold)
mantis:

But Dick Cheney is not responsible for what Mary Cheney does and the partisans out there have tried to tie them together as a package deal and paint Dick Cheney as a hypocrite because of what his daughter does.

I don't doubt that is the motivation of some. What I don't see is how he is hypocritical. It isn't written in stone that if you are a Republican you must think gays are immoral or that gay marriage is wrong (look at Giuliani). What is curious to me is why he doesn't just come out and say what his position is.

I think it's more likely, at least in some cases, that what media types who ask him about it are expecting, or rather hoping for, him to say is something positive and affirming about Mary, not something negative. I think many people believe, as I do, that Cheney has no problem with his daughter's sexuality and would say so if he weren't working in a White House that holds a different position (teh gays are destroying teh marriage!!1!).

During the campaign, of course, it was the President's position that he would support a marriage amendment. It would have been rather odd to have the VP contradict him on this (or waffle). But now, it's a lame duck administration, and it doesn't make a difference, especially since the Dems aren't going to be sending such an amendment up the hill. Why he doesn't answer such questions now, I have no idea.

Maybe it's simply because t... (Below threshold)

Maybe it's simply because the issue doesn't lend itself well to sound-bites.

Why would Dick Cheney need ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Why would Dick Cheney need to explain his beliefs about his daughter life style? What for? Who cares? All the MSM and lefties want is to make a wedge issue out of it. It is so obvious. ww

Mantis: I understand what ... (Below threshold)

Mantis: I understand what you're saying, but I think your being too optimistic - too trusting of the media. When was the last time the media had something positive to say about Dick Cheney or made even the slightest attempt to paint him in a positive light? They've had had a field day with him and done everything but paint horns and fangs on his photos. Not to mention the party liberal bloggers would have over it. If I were Dick Cheney, I wouldn't trust them enough to answer the question and expect it to be reported accurately, complete with context and without bias. Few people actually take the time to read the whole transcript.




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