Rielle and Elizabeth, Schumer and the two-by-four, Reid and the n’ish word – we’ve all heard these salacious stories as Game Change hit the stands last month. But as I sat down with the behind-the-scenes gossipy tome, I uncovered something else that wasn’t talked about during the 2008 election – Hillary is a fiercely awesome mom.
Whether the constant attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton for the past twenty years have been unfair or 100% on the nose, the Clintons always stood up, fought back and seemed to revel in coming back for more. As Hillary picked up where Bill left off in 2000 rather than retiring into the sunset, one might not be wrong in thinking this couple will do anything to be in power. But upon reading pages 165 and 225 it’s clear the line is drawn, and firmly, at pulling Chelsea into the mud with her parents.
I don’t think Heilemann and Halperin were trying to paint Hillary as mother-of-the-year as they continually trotted out unflattering descriptions of the lady (how many times can a woman’s smile be referred to as “rictus?”). But when Hillary flew off the handle when Chelsea was criticized by a bloviator, rather than cringe in embarrassment as yet another character flaw was presented, I choked up.
I felt the devastation Clinton must have felt as she realized her years of protecting the thing most precious to her had just been undermined by a talking head on cable news. Even as Clinton’s repeated refusals to allow Chelsea on the campaign trail were belittled by her staff, she held firm. According to the book, even Chelsea was telling her to lighten up and begged her mother to let her work for her. As Clinton was worn down, by her aides and her daughter, she finally relented and left Chelsea unprotected to face the music.
The authors describe Hillary Clinton as “rambling” and say her voice was “quaking” on a conference call when MSNBC’s David Shuster accused the campaign of pimping Chelsea out. But these words didn’t translate to a negative for me. If some one hurt my daughter in a public forum I think I’d be pretty “outraged.”
There’s a fantastic lesson here in working against our better instincts. We don’t always make the best decisions for our children, but Hillary Clinton tried and did a damn good job of raising a strong, intelligent daughter. Even after the impeachment, the sleazy gossip and her mother’s failed Presidential bid, Chelsea remains unsullied. Proving that one immature comment by a cable newscaster can’t change the years of hard work of a mother.