Chelsea Clinton Grows Up – The Atlantic

Ouch. From all the ruckus, you’d think Chelsea had gone the full Lee Atwater and accused Sanders of being a drug-peddling, neo-fascist pedophile.

Then again, of course Chelsea’s dabbling in even low-level campaign combat was going to result in a collective seizure. Not because the offspring of big-name pols are forbidden from engaging in the rough stuff per se. Just last cycle, Beau Biden whacked Paul Ryan on behalf of his vice presidential father, and even the super-sunny Romney boys got saucy. Remember how cute it was when Tag admitted the urge to leap from his seat and “take a swing” at President Obama at the second debate?

But Chelsea? Such ungraciousness—and such disingenuousness—isn’t expected from Bill and Hillary’s only child. It cuts against not only her meticulously tended good-girl persona but also the deeply rooted mythology of Chelsea as the sweet, loyal, vulnerable humanizer of her ambitious, inscrutable parents. (For some, Clinton fille will forever be the sad-eyed teen binding Mom and Dad together during the summer of Lewinsky.)

For all her parents’ flaws, Chelsea is typically regarded as above reproach—perhaps all the more so for her parents’ flaws. Many a piece has been written portraying her as the best parts of Hillary and of Bill, a triumph of natural selection if you will. Time and again, observers have marveled at Chelsea’s poise in the political arena, her steadying effect on her parents, her attempts to bring order to her dad’s notoriously unfocused foundation/legacy. She is praised most loudly on those occasions when she bursts forth with a warm-and-fuzzy tribute to her mother or, better still, her grandmother.

Now and again, her patient handling of Clinton haters wows even the conservative opposition. In October, for instance, some jackass confronted Chelsea at an Austin signing for her children’s book with crass questions about whether Webb Hubbell was her real father and whether Bill Clinton sexually targets teenage girls. Chelsea, smile unwavering, gently deflected the provocations, winning approving nods for her “grace” and “cool” from the likes of Sean Hannity, the Blaze, and the Daily Caller.

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