Sunday, March 30, 2008

Meet Meghan McCain

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton has been busy stumping for her mom on college campuses and in town hall-style meetings throughout the country. But her effectiveness may have been blunted by the way the Clintons limit the access the press has to Chelsea. In other words, they think she's capable enough to campaign, but apparently they don't trust her enough to think for herself.

But, I digress. Hillary has Chelsea; John McCain has his daughter, Meghan. Meghan McCain hasn't taken a visible role in her father's campaign the way Chelsea has done with the Clinton campaign, but folks are taking notice of her quiet contribution:

Meghan McCain tells us that she graduated in May 2007 from Columbia University with a major in art history. Her bio on the site lists "Saturday Night Live" and "Newsweek" among her "previous job experiences."

SIDEBAR: What kind of work can an art history major do at SNL or Newsweek? END SIDEBAR
Oh, and she's a Scorpio, too, she informs us.

The Associated Press had this to say about Meghan's blog:

While the Web site is about a campaign, it is not about issues and rarely mentions other candidates. Rather, it is intended to make her parents, and politics, seem more real ... Her Web site mixes behind-the-scenes photos and videos from the campaign trail with iPod music playlists, designer fashion, even makeup tips.
I don't know yet what to make of this site. I'm not sure what makeup tips have to do with who should be the next leader of the free world. But maybe that's the point: Maybe the idea is to use something that has nothing to do with politics to draw in young people who wouldn't otherwise have any interest in politics.

Or, maybe I'm overthinking it and Meghan McCain just wants to share her designer fashion expertise with you, and it's just a coincidence that her father is running for president.

Check out her blog and see what you think.

Back to Chelsea, she made news last week when a college student asked her whether she thought the Monica Lewinsky scandal had damaged her mother's credibility. Chelsea bristled and seemed taken aback that anyone would DARE broach that subject in her presence: "Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the, I don't know, maybe 70 college campuses I've now been to" (Like, how dare you!), finally declaring, "... and I do not think that is any of your business."

But wait! The questioner was a Clinton supporter who told cable news outlets that he asked the question to give Chelsea an opportunity to explain how the scandal made her mother stronger! No matter ... in Chelsea World, anything that isn't sanctioned is an attack.

In December, Chelsea brushed off 9-year-old Sydney "The Female Bob Woodward" Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and "kid reporter" for Scholastic News. Sydney, as everyone who's anyone in the press knows, is one part kid reporter, one part voracious pirhana. "Do you think your dad would be a good 'first man' in the White House?" Sydney demanded. (Sydney isn't the principal of the Playground Press Corps for nothing.) But the fair Chelsea never lost her composure under the merciless assault: "I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you’re cute," Chelsea breezily replied.

After the Rieckhoff brushoff, Fox News posted this piece about Chelsea's role in her mother's campaign:

Onstage, Chelsea never speaks; she stands next to her mother and applauds but utters not a single sentence and doesn’t even say hello. And reporters covering the campaign have been put on notice that Chelsea is not available to speak to them. An aide follows the former first daughter as she works the crowd, shushing reporters who approach her and try to ask any questions.
The nerve of the press, trying to -- GASP!! -- ask questions!!

In the words of Meghan McCain (and, possibly her heroine, Cher Horowitz), AS IF!

Perhaps Robert Paul Reyes said it best:

If Hillary is the evil Queen who ran into a stumbling block called the democratic process on her way to her coronation, Chelsea is the haughty princess who has a hard time dealing with commoners as she tries to convince them that her royal highness is not a monster. ... Why does the press let her get away with her disdainful attitude? If she refuses to answer questions from the press, we shouldn't cover her appearances on behalf of her Mom. Chelsea isn't a vestal virgin; she's not off limits, by putting herself in the spotlight she is open to criticism, analysis and yes, questions from the press.