Having come of age during the Clinton era, I always had a soft spot for Chelsea Clinton. She wasn't much younger than I was, so to watch her receive heartless slights and vicious criticisms about her appearance and pubescent awkwardness always hit home. Even though I didn't have a father who was the leader of the free world, I could viscerally relate to Chelsea's desire to be left alone. Today, I think, like myself, she is probably quite relieved to have experienced much of her own coming of age prior to the digital era. I can't imagine what social media might have done to her had it been around in the '90s.
Fast forward to now, and Chelsea is a very bright and academically accomplished professional. For the most part, she managed to tiptoe around her mother's politics as U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and candidate for Democratic presidential nominee. In the meantime, Chelsea racked up a B.A. from Stanford, a Ph.D. from Oxford, and a M.P.H. from Columbia. The last degree is of particular interest, considering Chelsea's recent false assertions regarding Bernie Sanders's plan to address the Affordable Care Act and the general state of healthcare within the U.S. should he become president, but we'll get to that in a minute. Chelsea, meanwhile, also worked for the management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, as well as the private equity firm, Avenue Capital Group. She rounded out this primarily financial pedigree by marrying a particularly well-to-do investment banker. So, in short, like her mother before her, Chelsea has a lot of impressive titles as well as some arguably varied experience. It also doesn't hurt to be wealthy enough to purchase a $10.5 million condo in Manhattan.
Having said this, Chelsea really doesn't have much to stand on when it comes to politics. I suppose that, as the daughter of both a former U.S. president and a potential U.S. president, she is somewhat credible by association, but what does that truly net? Her accomplishments are difficult to pin down in spite of all of the exposure, connections, resources and power that a daughter of a U.S. president and of a U.S. Senator has. Just to sidebar-contrast her with another bright and academically accomplished woman in Chelsea's relative age bracket -- who also works in politics and in journalism, who also happens to have a B.A. from Stanford and a Ph.D. from Oxford, but who is not the daughter of a U.S. president and of a U.S. Senator -- take a look at Rachel Maddow. I think most of us can agree that Chelsea Clinton is no Rachel Maddow. And my friends who are career journalists know this especially well after having watched Chelsea flub a journalistic opportunity of a lifetime when she was ordained as a special correspondent for NBC with a reported salary of $600,000, but faltered repeatedly, if not ineptly, on NBC's now-cancelled, nationally televised program, Rock Center.
Indeed, Chelsea Clinton is no Rachel Maddow. So what? Chelsea is her own person, with her own attributes and her own contributions (difficult as they may be to identify). Okay, well let's explore her latest "contribution" by observing what now can be considered her official campaigning on behalf of her mother. Earlier this week in New Hampshire -- during her first solo appearance on behalf of Hillary's campaign -- Chelsea made the claim that Bernie Sanders wants
to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, dismantle private insurance...[which would]...strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance.
Uhm, how many millions was that, Chelsea?
Since what many Democrats are calling Chelsea's misleading, if not utterly cynical, attack this week, outlets such as Politifact have debunked her statements, rating them as "mostly false." I find this particularly curious considering Chelsea's post-graduate education in public health. One would think that, no matter how badly she wanted her mother to win the nomination, Chelsea would find a way to speak favorably of her preferred candidate but to remain accurate or, at least, nebulous in her assertions. 'Nebulous' tends to work auspiciously (or, rather, not inauspiciously) for many politicians. Yet Chelsea, who holds a master's degree in public health, spoke plainly inaccurately and, some would even say, with an intention to incite fear and cause confusion (which isn't very nice, is it?).
Yes, politics can get dirty. And, yes, everything a politician or his or her campaign says should be taken with a grain of salt. But some things shouldn't be taken with anything at all, especially from people who don't know what they're talking about. I'm sure Chelsea is a very nice person. She and I happen to have several mutual acquaintances; and just this week I received an invitation to hear her speak at a private fundraising gathering for her mother. Speak about what exactly? I have no idea. More importantly, I have no interest. And neither should you.