Oops.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Sean Hannity, referring to the attacks on Palin on his show Monday night:

…they tried to make the attack that she has a young daughter, pregnant and engaged. Is that fair that they would attack that? I mean, I don’t remember Chelsea Clinton being attacked. I don’t remember Al Gore’s children being attacked. I thought there was a general rule that children of candidates ought to be left alone.

Here’s none other than John McCain, wowing them at a GOP fundraiser, circa 1998:

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?

Because Janet Reno is her father!

Chelsea Clinton was 13 18 at the time. You’re going to need a new set of talking points, Sean.

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38 Responses to “Oops.”

  1. #1 |  Andrew | 

    Doesn’t remember Chelsea being attacked? WHAT?

    Clinton’s first term was back in my young neocon days before I saw the light and adopted by libertarian philosophy… and attacking Chelsea was a friggin hobby for some in the Republican party back then.

  2. #2 |  Balloon Maker | 

    I’m busting that one out at happy hour.

  3. #3 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Just goes to show McCain is a dick.

    I really, really do not want to vote for McCain or Obama. Barr is no saint, either, and I wonder how fast he’d flip-flop if he were ever elected to any office.

    This year is just full of fail. *sigh*

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    I remember the Chelsea jokes and thinking, ‘What would I do if I was the most powerful person in the free world and some asshole was tearing down my daughter for his entertainment?’
    Leno, Letterman, Rush- they’d all have tragic car accidents.
    Amy Carter was tormented by so many people, also. Maybe because I have a 13 year old daughter, I have no respect for adults who’ll attack an awkward kid to try to hurt the parents or get a few laughs.

    ‘Just goes to show McCain is a dick.’ I’ve never had much use for the guy, but this seals any chance of him ever getting my vote.

  5. #5 |  CJJScout | 

    I don’t remember the Chelsea jokes at all. As a father, that would piss me off if it was my kid but it is still pretty funny.

  6. #6 |  David | 

    You’re going to need a new set of talking points, Sean.

    He might if he were trying to convince us of anything. For his audience, the talking points he has will work just fine.

  7. #7 |  PA | 

    The joke is in bad taste. No debate there. But one instance of a bad joke by McCain from over 10 years ago (when the joke itself was buried by mainstream press, as discussed in the linked article) does not make a liar out of Hannity.

  8. #8 |  Josh | 

    Why does Bridget McCain possess class & dignity?

    She’s not John McCain’s daughter.

  9. #9 |  Barry | 

    #7 | PA | September 3rd, 2008 at 10:48 am
    “The joke is in bad taste. No debate there. But one instance of a bad joke by McCain from over 10 years ago (when the joke itself was buried by mainstream press, as discussed in the linked article) does not make a liar out of Hannity.”

    Yes, after all it took Radley’s massive elite staff, five supercomputers and a temporal portal to locate that joke. It’s not like *everybody around McCain was laughing at it back in ’98*.

  10. #10 |  Barry | 

    Sorry – it’s not like *everybody in the GOP, including their media stooges* was laughing at it in ’98.

  11. #11 |  scott | 

    Yeah, McCain makes a bad joke 10 years ago and that’s equivalent to the entire press piling on Palin. To wit –

    http://michellemalkin.com/

    Tell me US magazine isn’t in the tank for Obama. What a joke.

  12. #12 |  JPSobel | 

    I have to agree with PA on this issue. McCain made a cruel joke about an inappropiate target. He recognized his error, apologized in a timely fashion, and has not repeated his transgression.

    I don’t see how McCain’s action belies Hannity’s main point.

  13. #13 |  Andrew | 

    Does anyone who sees anything to what Hannity is saying actually remember the mid-90s? Remember all the Chelsea jokes?

  14. #14 |  Matt Moore | 

    I remember the Clinton’s getting a lot of flak for sending Chelsea to a private school. It’s not precisely analogous to a abstinence education supporter having a pregnant daughter, but it is in the same vein of “do what I say, not what I do” hypocritical behavior.

  15. #15 |  steve | 

    I don’t remember the Chelsea jokes at all

    SNL had a recurring character based on her. The jokes were abundant.

  16. #16 |  Josh | 

    Limbaugh’s “White House dog” comment is pretty well-known. Christ, even LIMBAUGH apologized to Hillary for it.

    Whether these apologies are heartfelt or not, I don’t know. But for Hannity to deny they happened reveals him to be either very ignorant, or a bald-faced liar.

  17. #17 |  Adolphus | 

    I recall a lot more jokes in the 90’s about just this one. Mostly having to do with her appearance and as Matt points, there were huge amounts of ink (back when ink was important for news) spilled on the issues and ethics of a president sending his kid to a private school. Stillwell Friends if I recall, and the fact that I do recall suggests to me that it was as huge an issue as I recall.

    When Kerry was running, Reps and the media excused trashing his military service on the fact that Kerry himself used that service as a reason to vote for him. I think that is a fair standard. And McCain and his camp originally used her mothering ethics as her second most important trait. If you don’t want your kids made an issue of, don’t make them an issue. Bush II kept the twins relatively out of the picture and other than a wedding and an underage drinking incident I don’t think we heard much about them. Kurt Schmoke when mayor of Baltimore had a son with drug problems which we almost never heard about from the campaign or the press. He didn’t even make it on the official mayoral holiday cards. And Schmoke was for drug de-criminalization. How great a discussion would that have been? But the candidate didn’t discuss it and the press didn’t discuss it.

    The problem is family values are more than use a platform plank to Republicans it is their whole identity. They can’t NOT use their families as a resume bullet point.

  18. #18 |  Mad John | 

    I remember Limbaugh, shortly after Clinton’s election, making a remark about Bush 41’s dog Millie and illustrating it with a picture of Chelsea, who was then far less than 18.

    Of course you know better than to expect principled consistency from a low-rent partisan hack like Hannity.

  19. #19 |  Mad John | 

    Whoops, should have read all the way down. Josh recalled this one first.

  20. #20 |  Danno49 | 

    Hey, back off the GOP and their hypocritical stances! Everyone knows they are God’s party and are not subject to the same rules that the Democrats are. When you are busy saving the world from terrorism and gay marriage, you have to be able to use every weapon in the arsenal. This includes making jokes about the offspring of the opposition, no matter how cruel they may be. It’s for the children . . . just not theirs.

  21. #21 |  xyz123 | 

    oh dear, someone once made a joke about chelsea! the horror!

    now let’s compare the *published articles* critical of chelsea, and amy carter – who is truly, deeply, butt-ugly, btw – with the *published articles* “reporting on the antics of palin’s kid or the bush twins. *published articles* featuring plenty of snide commentary about how the poor choices of the minor child/idiot college student reflect and prove the underlying hypocrisy of her mother’s/father’s political positions. what’s that you say? there *were* no critical articles reporting on chelsea’s foibles? wow! she must have been a perfect kid, huh? either that or they just didn’t, you know, just didn’t *report* them ….out of respect for their fellow democrats.

    samo samo from the ‘libertarians’ here. the left goes into full-blown attack & smear mode, while the gop told a few jokes …. so naturally, it’s the sinister gop who’s worse. has the morphing of the word “liberal” into “progressive” become so stale now that the new word is ‘libertarian’? “we’re libertarians who think obama is wonderful and therefore are for the higher taxes and more powerful state that will accompany him!” “also, palin’s kid is a slut and possibly the victim of incest! no one can prove she’s not!” “also, the gop is evil for making a few chelsea jokes!”

  22. #22 |  Andrew | 

    So xyz123, how many points did you get from the McCain campaign for that one?

    Also, can you please point to me any quotes from mainstream libertarian sites that talk about how wonderful Obama is and how “we” are all willing to pay higher taxes and support the larger state that will accompany him? Just curious. I’ll be waiting.

  23. #23 |  Andrew | 

    Also, I still haven’t seen any “attacks” on Bristol Palin by the media. The “attacks” have been on Sarah Palin for her hypocricy in the matter. Nothing more.

    Heck, the Daily Mail (or one of the London Papers) managed to print a fawning article about the baby’s father, talking about how he’s a “proud redneck”.

  24. #24 |  Les | 

    xyz123,

    You really ought not to use quotation marks unless you’re quoting people or giving a reasonably realistic representation of someone’s positions.

  25. #25 |  Matt | 

    Well the other thing is that Palin is more or less running on her personality, values, and family. What she brings to the campaign isn’t any particular skill or policy set, but just the impression that she’s a “good person” with “good values” and a “good family.”

  26. #26 |  Wayne | 

    So is it OK for me to continue the jokes about Bush 41’s kids — specifically, the one named George?

  27. #27 |  jwh | 

    Uhhh, I think Hannity was talking about the MEDIA……..was the likes of Campbell Brown taking potshots at the marvelous specimen of the female gender? Me thinks not……

  28. #28 |  claude | 

    “So is it OK for me to continue the jokes about Bush 41’s kids — specifically, the one named George?”

    U can, but in his case, the joke ended up being on us.

  29. #29 |  Zeb | 

    Every public figure gets made fun of all the time and will be the butt of some mean jokes. If you don’t want to hear jokes about your pregnant teenage daughter, don’t run for vice president. There was no shortage of jokes about Clinton and family during his administration. This is not an issue of partisan politics, it is people whose job it is to make jokes about public figures doing their jobs.

  30. #30 |  Adolphus | 

    xyz123: I don’t think anyone here or in the media (ms or otherwise) said the GOP (or anyone else) was evil for making jokes at Chelsea or Amy Carter. Being soot covered isn’t good or evil, but the pot is a hypocrite when calling the kettle black. Doubly so when the kettle looks back and says it right back and the pot cries foul.

    Look, this afternoon McCain, the Palin’s, and a kajillion cameras just staged a massive PR photo op on the tarmac (not enough room in traditional terminals for all those cameras and reporters) in Minneapolis greeting the 18 yo father to be. You can see a clip from CNN at TPM. This was a deliberate, well staged opportunity to put the Palin family, Bristol, Trig, fetus, and everybody, out there for voter’s consideration. Sorry. When a politician at any level does this sort of thing, the press and public have every right, and I would argue responsibility, to look beneath the hype to see what is there.

    I suspect the McCain campaign is betting the media does not let this go so they can vilify them. Better yet, the MSM will let it go and the GOP speakers will claim the MSM is badgering this poor couple anyway.

    I said it above, I’ll say it again. If candidates don’t want their kids (or their kids’ lovers) to be an issue then they THEMSELVES shouldn’t make them an issue. Leave them home for everyone’s sake.

  31. #31 |  Whim | 

    Factually speaking, Chelsea’s father was probably Web Hubbell, Hillary’s former law partner.

    The Lips say it all…..

    Janet Reno was Donna Shalala’s husband. Still?

  32. #32 |  Mike | 

    #12 says
    “I have to agree with PA on this issue. McCain made a cruel joke about an inappropiate target. He recognized his error, apologized in a timely fashion, and has not repeated his transgression.

    I don’t see how McCain’s action belies Hannity’s main point.”

    I think you and I may have a different idea of what Hannity’s point was then. To me that quote says something like: Republicans are better than Democrats because they would never say bad things about a Politicians family

    McCain’s is a single example where this is obviously an untrue statement. I’m sure if we look we could find others.

    Now if you consider the point was “It’s not nice to denigrate a politicians family” that sounds like a fair point but that is a whole world different than what Hannity was quoted saying in the original post.

  33. #33 |  Mike | 

    “I said it above, I’ll say it again. If candidates don’t want their kids (or their kids’ lovers) to be an issue then they THEMSELVES shouldn’t make them an issue. Leave them home for everyone’s sake.”

    As a libertarian I completely agree with that statement, however it’s pretty rare that a politican doesn’t want to regulate some aspect of our private life. Once you do that it opens pandora’s box and forces them into the spotlight.

    It would be a a pretty fair question to ask Palin: “If you believe that Abstinence Only Sex Ed. works, what went wrong with your family?” In this regard it will make it less painful to bring her family out herself.

  34. #34 |  freedomfan | 

    I think people ought to leave politicians’ kids’ personal lives and appearance alone. Most of the jokes are low and hurtful and, frankly, just not very funny.

    Moreover, I don’t really have much respect for Hannity’s ability (or intent) to accurately represent the truth on these issues. Hannity does have a staff and it is either a lie or negligent to claim none of them bothered to Google “John McCain” “Chelsea Clinton”, which is all one had to do to know what McCain said in 1998.

    One the other hand, it isn’t fair to blame one or the other party or its partisans for what Leno, Letterman, SNL et al. or various web sites have said. That’s where most of the jokes in the 1990s came from, and I expect the same to be the case today.

    A more legitimate issue here, IMO, is whether the professional press is being evenhanded in covering the policy implications related to what politicians want for their own kids versus what they want for everyone else’s. To wit, private versus public schooling is an issue and what a politician does with his kids speaks to his views on it. Similarly, sex education is an issue. (Not that advocating a policy that happened not to work for one’s own kid makes one a hypocrite, especially when all alternatives also have significant failure rates. If anything, both instances support the case for letting parents decide how to raise their kids.)

  35. #35 |  Greg C. | 

    I remember Chelsea being attacked from the beginning. I think she was 13. However, Hannity was probably still painting houses or whatever he was doing back then and doesn’t remember.

  36. #36 |  buzz | 

    “The “attacks” have been on Sarah Palin for her hypocricy in the matter. Nothing more.”

    Your going to have to explain that. How was Palin hypocritical in the pregnecy or her daughter?

  37. #37 |  Joe | 

    In all fairness Bill Clinton never had to worry about Chelsea getting knocked up; she had the looks of a butt-nugget and even her parents knew this.

  38. #38 |  Mike Hunter | 

    Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?

    Because Janet Reno is her father!

    Now that’s funny!

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