Presidents and Young Children

When Hillary Clinton appeared on Nightline this week, Cynthia McFadden asked her (from the transcript, ABC News, May 1, 2008, Clinton on the Rise, available on Lexis.com):

Would you be running for president if Chelsea were 10?

Hillary: No. Not a chance. I just couldn't have done it. I could never have run for office if I had young children. I just couldn't have done it.

Barack Obama brought his daughters, ages 6 and 9, along to campaign events in Indiana today. Michelle said it was an exciting time for the girls, a special treat.

Obama often mentions how he misses his children while campaigning. A few times he's flown home for a night just to be able to see them off to school in the morning. [More...]

It's obvious that Obama has been an involved, hands-on parent in the daily raising of his daughers, at least until he became a U.S. Senator when he stayed in D.C. during the week and commuted home on weekends.

Michelle's mother has been staying with the girls while she's on the road with him. (More here.)

How will his time with his daughters be affected if he's President? If Hillary had a young child and was running for President, there'd be scores of articles addressing this. Not that many decades ago, most men weren't as involved in the day-to-day parenting of their kids. They were the principal breadwinners and not expected to be as involved as a mother.

Today, many men are as involved. Yet, no one mentions this with respect to Obama. If he's President, he'll be giving up a lot of family time. Is he still going to go to dance recitals, PTA meetings and soccer games? How often will he be able to help them with their homework? Will he have time to play charades and the other games they enjoy now?

As a husband Barack is not afraid to cook for his family. When he does, Michelle boasts that he makes a 'mean' chili, one of his favourite foods. Barack attests to picking up groceries even on the campaign trail in Iowa.

According to US Weekly, Barack and Michelle Obama have never missed a parent-teacher conference. Michelle posits that "Our future is making sure Barack can get to our daughters' ballet recitals and balancing the demands of this current set of responsibilities with our need to build a strong family." (Ebony, March 2006)

I'm curious. Does anyone have feelings about the time Obama's daughters will lose with their father if he's President or is this a non-issue?

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    The President does have one advantage.. (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:07:36 AM EST
    he has a home office. So it's not like he can't slip out of a meeting to tuck them in. He may have to miss recitals and things, but hey, that goes with the territory. Perhaps he discussed it with Caroline Kennedy, who was a child in the White House, when she gave him her endorsement. It's not like anyone is really expecting Obama to do much work as President. After all, he has managed to get this far without doing much work, why change now?

    I agree... (none / 0) (#157)
    by Thanin on Sun May 04, 2008 at 05:02:52 PM EST
    theres no reason he couldnt do both.  Besides, Bill was pres when Chelsea was a child and she turned out just fine.

    Non-issue. (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Marco21 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:07:50 AM EST
    You can do both. I am sure his kids will be more than fine.

    He's going to have to win something first (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:43:47 AM EST
    and, I remain solidly certain Hillary will get the nomination.

    I wonder (none / 0) (#80)
    by Kathy on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:45:33 AM EST
    does he make a show of being a great father, or does he really do the hard work?

    Hm...why would I have this thought in my head?

    (and I agree with Clinton, but I'd love to know if she said that for the reason I am thinking, and Jeralyn stated: if she had a young child at home, she would be absolutely vilified for being away.  Look at the crap Elizabeth Edwards got.)


    Rooted in illness, not parenting (none / 0) (#145)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:44:51 PM EST
    the criticism Elizabeth got was because of her illness potentially cutting short how much time she has left with her children, if I remember right.  Prior to the diagnosis of the bone cancer, she was not being criticized.

    How old was Chelsea when Bill was elected? (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by dianem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:08:49 AM EST
    President? Governor? Maybe things were different thn, but it seems that fathers get a special dispensation from being considered to be abandoning their children when they take on big jobs.

    Yes, they're young, but they will have time with their father. I'm more worried about their mother. She is not a stay at home mother. She has a career to deal with. She is on temporary leave, but when she goes back to work those kids will be raised by nannies. And no, I'm not saying that the woman bears more responsibility for raising kids, just that one of them needs to be there for them - and it won't be Obama.

    Chelsea was 12 when her dad was elected. (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by caseyOR on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:19:18 AM EST
    I think the point is that it would be an issue for (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Maria Garcia on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:59:00 AM EST
    ...Hillary but not so much for a man. Chelsea went to Sidwell Friends and both her parents were very involved. Bill helped with her homework. They went to school functions, secret service and all. I think Obama would be similarly involved if elected. The campaign is actually harder, since so much travel is involved.

    The Obamas don't believe in nannys, (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:11:58 AM EST
    according to Michelle Obama.  

    michelle BS (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by pluege on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:29:08 AM EST
    her mother is the kid's nanny.

    And I Don't Believe Half Of What The Obamas (4.42 / 7) (#7)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:15:54 AM EST
    say.  I am sure they will backpedal on their previous statements.  Now that we see what the world has become, more unstable, etc., I don't know that I would want my children in the limelight.

    I thought she had help? (none / 0) (#19)
    by nycstray on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:39:37 AM EST
    Michelle Obama stated the family has (none / 0) (#126)
    by oculus on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:40:42 AM EST
    a housekeeper.  

    she won't be going back to work (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:14:52 AM EST
    but I imagine she'll have a fairly busy schedule being first lady which will reduce her time with the kids as well.

    Didn't Obama say she would be busy raising (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by nycstray on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:08:52 AM EST
    the kids in response to what her role would be?

    Yes he did (5.00 / 6) (#45)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:40:36 AM EST
    and that rubbed me the wrong way -- as a dig at Hillary & the way people criticized her for not being a "stay at home mom" during Bill's 2 terms.  In fact, he brought up her comment about "baking cookies" at the PA debate, and that ticked me off too -- because I have a mom who went back to school after my brother & I entered grammar school, and obtained her PhD by the time we got to high school, and she is and always has been a fabulous mother.  

    Um, Hillary had a home office too!! (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:25:22 AM EST
    She was right there in the White House, in her office, which wasn't that far from where the family quarters are. So Hillary was a stay-at-home Mom who also worked. Talk about having it all!! :D

    You can just cut, paste, print, and put that (none / 0) (#115)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:05:42 AM EST
    in your Mother's Day card this week.  Take it from another mom, a single mom then, who got her Ph.D. at 40. :-)  

    Me too. but the doctorate was (5.00 / 0) (#155)
    by hairspray on Sun May 04, 2008 at 04:14:07 PM EST
    ...ahem.. a few years later. Must be us low information types.

    So, it's a life of tea parties (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:47:08 PM EST
    and knitting circles for Michelle, eh?  Too bad they won't ever get to find out...he's not winning anything, not the nomination, so not the presidency.

    I think you are reaching here. (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by oculus on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:10:25 AM EST
    New experiences for his daughters; experiences not possible for other children.  Michelle Obama has stated her primary job, if Obama is elected, will be to make sure the kids' lives are as normal as possible.  

    But, query, why isn't Jenna Bush having her wedding in the White House?

    mabye too hypocritical even for W? (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:16:17 AM EST
    Really, hasn't he spent more time at his ranch in TX than at the WH?

    Still? (none / 0) (#20)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:40:13 AM EST
    I thought the excessive vacations came to an end after 9/11.

    Poor attempt at humor (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:32:45 AM EST
    but I am originally from NOLA, and I'll never forget how W couldn't be bothered to cut his vacation short to survey the damage himself or ensure proper & timely help was sent for those poor people who didn't have the resources that I & my family did to evacuate. (not in so many words, but that is what it was).  

    Bush surveyed NOLA soon after (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by CoralGables on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:09:48 AM EST
    Now, now....I do recall a picture of dear president looking out the window of his 747 for his closeup of the damage to New Orleans. It showed him to be such a caring soul don't you agree?

    Of course they probably waited to fly over so they could get his makeup done and the lighting would be right for the snapshot. Image over substance, that's our empty suit leader of the free world.


    Bush's suit never was empty (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:06:53 AM EST
    since we could see that it was filled with wires to the transmitter on his back that told him what to say. :-)

    Wasn't attempting humor (none / 0) (#148)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:50:21 PM EST
    I don't recall any point since 9/11 where he has been on excessive time off periods.

    He was in Arizona selling his elder health plan to retirement homes when Katrina hit.  Yes, he attended McCain's birthday party, too, but I remember well being caught in traffic trying to get to a job interview because his motorcade blocked nearly every route out of my neighborhood.


    vacation time (none / 0) (#131)
    by delandjim on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:56:15 AM EST
    Bush has spent more that a year on vacation while in the White House.

    Thought that was Jenna's decision (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:39:04 AM EST
    During Clinton's first term in the WH (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by lorelynn on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:26:02 AM EST
    Chelsea got sick at school one day. The nurse wanted to send her home. Chelsea told the nurse to call her dad. Her mom was too busy. :)

    Just spreading the responsibility (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by Fabian on Sun May 04, 2008 at 06:59:41 AM EST

    Every time I'm home and the school calls, or I have to keep a sick kid home from school or I have to arrange for doctor's appointments or chase a preschooler around the house to get a urine sample(yes. I literally did that just this week.) I think "Dang, it's a good thing I'm not working." because all those hours and days really add up.

    Both parents should deal with it.  I have NO idea how any single parent does it.  Schools boot kids right out - vomiting, diarrhea, fever?  Go home and don't come back for at least 24 hours.

    Both parents should share in the "joys" of parenting.


    Daughters and Fathers, (none / 0) (#16)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:35:03 AM EST
    especially in the teen years, have a much easier relationship than moms and daughters.  If I weren't really sick, I would have called my dad instead of my mom, too.

    I think this is a topic that he and Michelle (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:27:00 AM EST
    should have figured out before he got this far in the race.  Michelle said in their interview this week that she "begged" him not to go into politics.  That clearly wasn't a compromise he was willing to make.

    I certainly understand why Hillary said she couldn't have done it. There's a lot to be said for recognizing the needs of the family, and adapting our choices accordingly. Hillary didn't abandon her ambitions, she paced her life so all responsibilities were given her full, quality attention.

    She begged him not to go into politics??? (none / 0) (#125)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:35:52 AM EST
    I find that hard to believe since she was the one who introduced him to the political connections that helped him get elected the first time. Or perhaps she just wanted him to stay local, which would have meant being a "black politician" in Chicago and identifying himself with black interests. Apparently that wasn't what Obama wanted given how careful he was not to get himself labeled as a "black" politician who was mostly interested in black issues like housing and jobs. The thing is if he wasn't interested in housing and jobs for his black constituency in Chicago what makes anyone think he is interested in housing and jobs for the rest of us?? Never mind the economy and foreign policy. Of course, Obamacans would have us believe he is so high-minded that he will save all of us from ourselves. Can someone ask this empty suit what it is that he ACTUALLY stands for and intends to do??

    It is available online (none / 0) (#149)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:52:55 PM EST
    the interview they did together on the Today show this week with Meredith V.  She said she begged him to choose any other career, that there are much easier ways to make a living than politics.

    I know what she said she said.. (none / 0) (#152)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:15:29 PM EST
    but I am wondering how much truth there is in it. I mean, he did say he wasn't going to run for President until he had served one term as Senator. I don't trust either of them to tell the truth, frankly.

    Yeah, but that doesn't change the (none / 0) (#150)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:54:01 PM EST
    fact that most candidates do set out the plans and policies they intend to pursue when in office. Obama just talks about himself and his life story, blah, blah, blah. When asked to elucidate policy or asked a question on any policy he stutters, says "Uh" a lot, mentions hope and change, and then echoes Hillary Clinton's policies. He seems to find the grunt work of policy making and implementation boring and beneath him. Well, here's a newsflash for him, and you, being President is all about policy-making and implementation, and it would be nice if he showed he has an effing clue about it before he gets the job. And he has stated that his staff are responsible for what is on his website, he can't even discuss it intelligently himself. People aren't voting for his staff, they are voting for him and he should be able to discuss what is on his website in detail instead of telling people to go read it.

    And what obstacles?? Being lauded as the new hope of America? Having his wife insert her foot in her mouth repeatedly? Having his pastor come out and show the US just what he thinks of them? Throwing half his family, the white half, under the bus, followed shortly by the Reverend Wright?? The only obstacles Obama has are of his own making, due to his poor taste in associates and then bad judgement in waiting to disown them. He is a wishy-washy wannabe without the resume for the toughest job in the world. Obama wants to BE President, he doesn't want the JOB of President. Hillary wants the JOB, and she is qualified to do it.

    I am just sorry that your judgment has been warped by his rhetoric. If you had looked beyond it, you wouldn't be claiming he overcame anything. Because he hasn't.


    I could refute much of what you say with (none / 0) (#156)
    by hairspray on Sun May 04, 2008 at 04:32:13 PM EST
    a long list of facts but the one that stood out for me was the one about Mark Penn being named director of FEMA.  Penn, as less than ideal as he is, was a successful campaign director for a number of people. Given the fact that only a few people can assemble a major campaign like a presidency, I would guess that she picked among several, all of whom had strenghts and weaknesses. But the point I want to make is that Bill Clinton had a record of picking very capable people for high posts.  They were not ideologues, although most leaned center to left. Even the Republicans gave him credit for that. My guess is that she will do the same. As for Bill stepping in doo=doo, most of it was manufactured by the press, including the JJR memo to slap the Clintons with racism.

    I don't understand the purpose (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by flyerhawk on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:56:57 AM EST
    of this entry?

    What Barack and Michelle Obama choose to do with regards to their children is well outside the bounds of political discourse.  

    Hillary can tell us that she wouldn't be running if her daughter was 10 but her husband was running when her daughter was 12 so I fail to understand the difference here.

    This is a surreal argument.  So we should question whether Obama is fit to be President because he has to raise a family?  Are you seriously offering this argument?  For the past several decades we have seen women being denied promotions because their employers felt they would put family over career.  So now we are going to try and use that same ridiculous argument to suggest that Obama may not be a good choice for President?

    I am very disappointed by this diary. Not that this bothers anyone here.

    oh pu-leaze (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:11:33 AM EST
    seriously, are you just trying to start trouble? No one is trying to invade the privacy of the Obamas and how they raise their children -- we are discussing running for office and being an elected official and the tolls that can take on family life in general, not particularly on the Obamas, per se.  Furthermore, they have discussed publicly the kinds of sacrifices such a lifestyle takes on family (I've read at least 2 different magazine articles with Michelle where she discusses this). Please, pick your battles more wisely.

    the intent (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by boredmpa on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:13:51 AM EST
    I think WJRM was to a) highlight a double standard in our society and b) express actual concern about the role of fatherhood.

    I don't think it was intended as an argument against obama or a concern troll.

    It could have had a far better conclusion, and believe it or not,
    it bothered me a bit, because I knew it was going to be taken the wrong way and thus lead to blah discussion and possibly a article on KOS about how hillary was taking a shot at Obama's family

    All of the above is IMO.


    There's nothing surreal about it. (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by Iphie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:21:24 AM EST
    What Barack and Michelle Obama choose to do with regards to their children is well outside the bounds of political discourse.
    Both Obamas, and especially Michelle regularly discuss their daughters as part of their standard shtick. Michelle has actually said that someone running for president should be judged by the way they conduct their family life -- "if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House." If what they choose to do with their children is outside the bounds of political discourse, you better tell them -- they don't seem to have read the memo.

    As to whether or not the issue of childrearing is an issue in any political discourse -- of course it is. Issues about family and economics and childcare are some of the core issues of any modern political campaign. Your faux-outrage that the question is being asked is a little transparent.

    And much like race is an issue in this campaign, so too is gender. People want to know if and how Barack's race and Hillary's gender will cause them to govern differently from every white man who has come before.

    None of this is particularly difficult to understand.


    I really hate (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by flyerhawk on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:44:00 AM EST
    the rationalization that if a politician references their family then their family is fair game.

    My outrage is the exact same as it was when people were attacking a teenaged Chlesea Clinton because they hated her parents.

    If you want to talk about Hillary's response to the question, fine.  I think it is a stupid question but that's your choice.  However speculating on whether Obama should or shouldn't run because he has young children seems exceedindly petty.


    The difference is (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Iphie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 10:59:13 AM EST
    that no one is attacking the Obama's children. Chelsea Clinton was subjected to some of the most vile attacks against her simply because of who she is. Absolutely no one is saying that the children are "fair game," but the behavior of their parents is, especially the choices they make about their children that are a directly related to Barack's employment as a public servant. Chelsea Clinton's private life was verboten, but a discussion about where she went to school and why her parents, as strong supporters of the public school system, would choose to send her to a private school was a legitimate question -- it went directly to public policy and whether or not elected officials are willing to make the same choices that they would ask the public to make. (And to stave off any confusion -- I think that the additional security required for a presidential child is certainly a strong enough argument for private school.)

    The children are not even the subject here -- the behavior of their parents is. The questions here have to do with the differing standards afforded male and female candidates, which are very similar to the differing standards afforded women in most industries.

    And thank you, btw, for giving me permission to discuss the issue.


    Wow (none / 0) (#41)
    by Steve M on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:19:33 AM EST
    Talk about a massive overreaction.

    Naw (none / 0) (#88)
    by Korha on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:04:28 AM EST
    Read the original post and then the resulting comment thread. Anyone can see exactly what's going on here.

    I read the post (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by Steve M on Sun May 04, 2008 at 10:29:48 AM EST
    Jeralyn is a parent and so am I.  It's an interesting issue to think about.

    If some of the commentors want to use it as an excuse to slam Obama, frankly I'm not impressed.  But that's their problem, it doesn't mean Jeralyn wrote this as some kind of random smear.


    Why was Clinton asked the question (5.00 / 8) (#36)
    by Prabhata on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:12:55 AM EST
    Why is it acceptable to ask those kind of questions of a mom and not of a father?  A child can miss a father and a mother equally, depending on their connection to the parent.  I don't like the question.  

    Clinton was asked it (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Kathy on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:55:24 AM EST
    because the Obamas have young children.  If (when!) she is running against McCain, I guarantee you they won't ask her about it at all, because of course Cindy is a good little republican wife.

    It was a loaded question, pure and simple.

    (of course, I'm sure HRC knows very well Michelle's "can't keep her own house in order" comment, and I think it shows great restraint not to blast her for this)


    I don't lilke it either (none / 0) (#59)
    by Lora on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:37:18 AM EST
    Women have a long way to go still.  The reality is that women are considered more responsible and accountable for their children's well-being than men are.

    I don't think it's fair to assume for women OR men that the job of president will negatively impact their children.  It might, but with family support and/or trusted hired caregivers, there is no reason to think that the president parent will be shirking his or her parental duties.  Plenty of less public dads and moms are working two jobs, or going to school to get a better education, or serving in the military, or working at a job hundreds or more miles away from home to support their family, and no one grills them about whether or not they are shirking their parental responsibilities.

    The two questions are apples and oranges.  Hillary made it clear her choice would have been not to run for president with a 10-year old daughter.  That does not mean that Barack is shirking responsibility if he runs for president with young children.

    A fairer question might be to ask him how he thinks the presidency would affect his parental role, would it have any negative impact, and if so, what steps would he take to mitigate that effect?


    Choice or no choice (none / 0) (#60)
    by Lora on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:41:28 AM EST
    Correction to above post:

    Hillary sounds as if she would have had no choice but not to run for president if Chelsea were 10.  However, she doesn't elaborate.  She definitely would have had a choice, more so than many or most women who are faced with working long hard hours to go to school and/or support their families, staying at home and NOT being able to support their families.


    Hypothetical "choice" (none / 0) (#71)
    by lilybart on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:34:52 AM EST
    It is easy to say NO. not ME, I wouldn't have run for office if my chid was 10, but that is of no consequence without a real world example.

    Children in the White House (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by Manuel on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:15:54 AM EST
    evoke for me a positive image.  It makes the occupants seem more human, more real.  The Kennedys, Amy Carter, Chelsea.  It was interesting watching them grow over the years.  I am sure there are negatives to being a child in the white house but my gut feel is that the positives outweigh the negatives.

    good for you, bad for them (none / 0) (#72)
    by pluege on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:35:09 AM EST
    this isn't the Truman Show, its real kids lives picked, prodded, and distorted by being in the lime light.

    What's your point? (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Korha on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:07:58 AM EST
    People with young children can't run to be President? We would never have President Bill Clinton if we followed that rule. Plus Chelsea seems to have turned out just fine.

    Some kids and families can handle being in the public eye. Some can't. It depends on the family and the kid.


    Well (none / 0) (#113)
    by Steve M on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:05:06 AM EST
    Chelsea seems to have turned out great.  I can't think of many presidential kids who went on to become ne'er-do-wells.  It's a challenge, sure, but kids are tougher than we think.

    I can think of one...heh. (none / 0) (#127)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:41:25 AM EST
    I can't think of many presidential kids who went on to become ne'er-do-wells.

    George W. Bush pretty much fits that description. Until the GOP stuck a suit on him and ran him for office.


    But, but, but, . . . I read (none / 0) (#129)
    by oculus on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:47:19 AM EST
    on DK or Mydd, can't remember which, that obviously Chelsea Clinton is evil because she works for a hedge fund that deals with subprime mortgages.

    I think it's pretty much a non-issue (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by themomcat on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:16:45 AM EST
    If,and that's a big if, he makes it to the WH, he'll probably see more of his daughters than as a Senator commuting between Chicago and DC. He might want to be a little more careful about what church they attend. Not that that should matter at all but Sen. Obama made it an issue.

    Clinton Actually Discussed (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by facta non verba on Sun May 04, 2008 at 05:39:48 AM EST
    today in North Carolina what it was like for Chelsea growing up:

    Clinton at MomLogic Panel

    She was wonderful! n/t (none / 0) (#86)
    by misspeach2008 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:57:36 AM EST
    A Non Issue (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by CoralGables on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:01:47 AM EST
    It's a personal decision that parents make everyday in all walks of life. Parents take second jobs. They work night shifts. It's no different for someone running for public office.

    As such, I see it as totally a non-issue. In fact, if it was to be made an issue, I would suspect Obama would come out ahead on the topic as most every family in the country has been faced with similar decisions, and no one wants to be questioned or degraded by their ultimate choice. Indeed, all Obama would have to do is invoke Kennedy and voila, he's riding in on a horse to save the day.

    Did Hillary say (I did not watch) (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sun May 04, 2008 at 12:14:49 PM EST
    that a mother should not run for president if she had a small child?  Or did she say she would not have run for president when Chelsea was little.  So she would not have wanted to substitute running a government for whatever time she spent with Chelsea.  What is wrong with that?  (And how is that a jab at the Obamas?  He is not the mother figure, I believe.)

    Like many women, Hillary has chosen to concentrate on her own program after Chelsea has grown and gone.  Jackie did that too.  And possibly, just possibly, Hillary did not get into this campaign from personal ambition, but made a decision based on concern for her country after 8 years of inept and even corrupt government.


    I suspect she's looking at it in hightsight... (none / 0) (#153)
    by NWHiker on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:44:02 PM EST
    Looking back at what she did in raising her daughter, she probably sees that she could never have run for prez and still do everything exactly the same, and that is what she's saying.

    If she had run for prez with a child, she'd have been looking forward and been able to adapt to the situation as it comes.

    IOW, I don't think she was condemning Obama as much as looking at things differently that she would have otherwise.

    Also, something that hasn't been mentioned: Chelsea was an only child, Obama has two (as does Edwards): this creates a different family dynamic even in young children, and the children has slightly different needs.


    Knew a great dad (none / 0) (#94)
    by Fabian on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:16:04 AM EST
    He worked third shift.  Picked up extra hours whenever he could and during the day he took care of his daughter, the apple of his eye.  Not a single parent either.

    Knew another guy who was the primary child care provider.  His wife worked too.  Why did he do all the running and kid stuff?  Not really by choice - you see, her job was where the health insurance was.  His job was only about money.


    Hey, I would not be surprised (none / 0) (#159)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sun May 04, 2008 at 10:17:24 PM EST
    if the first thing that Hillary thought was about RUNNING for president, not being president.  After all, that's what is occupying her days and nights right now.  Can you imagine doing what Hillary is doing accompanied by a child--even a child/nanny combination?  And do you really think she'd have been happy to have left her daughter sitting in the governor's mansion in Arkansas all these months?  Mothers can be pretty tenacious about thinking they are THE parent.  I am sure it is a real wrench when it first becomes needful to share a child with an ex.  Or to decide to become a 'working mother.'

    Hillary is closer to my generation than some of you all are.  And the men of my generation were not considered well suited to being house-husband and full-time parent.  (For those of you men who are doing that, know that I admire you!)  

    I strongly doubt she was trying to put Obama in the wrong.  But there may be a generational gap here which imclined her to think child first, then off to do my own thing.


    The fact (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by Andy08 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:57:31 AM EST
    that HRC got asked the question and not BO is the issue imo.

    It goes to show what it is "permissible" still regarding gender and the bias that's tolerated as

    The observation was made (5.00 / 6) (#66)
    by ghost2 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:05:38 AM EST
    I believe, by Anna Quindlen of Newsweek, about Michelle leaving the kids with her mother.  Anna observed that if Michelle herself was running, there will be tons of articles written questioning whether she is neglecting her kids.  But it is all fine if a woman is doing that to help her man.

    Yes, it's a hypocritic society.

    Excellent point (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Lora on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:48:37 AM EST
    in one of the few decent (5.00 / 4) (#95)
    by cpinva on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:18:14 AM EST
    concessions by the media, they agreed (except for rush limbaugh, the "entertainer".), to leave chelsea clinton alone. this was the single honorable act by the MSM in the entire clinton presidency.

    of the three presidents mentioned (kennedy, carter, clinton) who had fairly young children when they assumed office, all managed to make time for them. as well, all those children turned out just fine, as near as i can tell. so far, none has written a book about their horrid years in the white house.

    i'm certain, should, by some miracle, sen. obama be elected, he'll make time for his children as well, and they'll turn out fine also.

    one assumes this issue was discussed between he and his wife before tossing his hat in the ring.

    on the other hand, if sen. clinton had young children, you can bet your life she'd be vilified as an unfit mother, if she chose to run for president.

    gotta love that double standard!

    Obama's kids, Hilary's kids (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by feralrom on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:42:17 AM EST
    Presidents like executives of all stripes complain that they must choose between duty and family.  Many women and fewer men complain that they must choose between having a career and having a family.  

    Does anyone have anything new to offer to this discussion?

    Friends who live in Hyde Park and who have children at the Lab School say that Obama (SS Agents in tow) has not missed a single parents' night at the school during the entire campaign.

    I think it's a non-issue (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by annabelly on Sun May 04, 2008 at 10:06:55 AM EST
    Any time spent away from the girls will be more than offset by the opportunities they would have as children of a president or former president. I think Chelsea herself has benefited enormously. And her relationship with her father has not suffered due to his responsibilities as president.

    The real discussion here, I believe, is why the same isn't true for women. Sadly, I think Hillary is right, and it is a double standard. At the same time, my own experience as a mother informs an emotional argument, which is that I wouldn't want to pursue something so ambitious as the mother of a young child. I was much more satisfied with the bonding process at the time. Of course, I'll suffer my entire working life for making that choice. That's the real tragedy for working mothers.

    It's an issue that comes up (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:48:04 PM EST
    for all of us mothers who were and are single moms and working moms -- those of us with what are so horribly called "broken homes."  Nonsense; my kids just had two homes.  (And they liked having two Christmases, two birthday parties -- actually, often three, as we would have a combined families' party and then separate parties for friends at both homes -- etc.)

    So I look at these comments through the eyes of a single mom (when my kids were growing up, not now -- I deliberately delayed remarrying until they were past the age when lawyers and courts could screw with them and me again:-).  And the comments are quite revealing of the commenters, when seen that way.  

    Reread and see.  A lot of commenters here are talking about a lot of us, much as they may not realize it.  Also interesting to me is how many seem to see Jeralyn even raising this issue as her almost threatening them.  The very existence of healthy children of single parents -- children of two health homes -- does seem to have that effect on some people; it is for them to think about the reasons.


    Doesn't it reinforce elite images (4.33 / 3) (#10)
    by Mark Woods on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:17:51 AM EST
    To picture Daddy flying home for a PTA meeting and then flying back to D.C. for a Senate breakfast?

    How many parents can afford to leave work in one city to attend family business in another?

    Obama's family certainly deserves the fruits of his labour, but this seems to me like another way to reinforce how out of touch Barack and Michelle might be with the reality of 'balancing' work and kids for most Americans.

    Most folks I know mourn the time lost with kids but reckon keeping kids clothed and fed preempts 'quality time', and many have an 'either/or' choice: 'poverty and family time' or 'overtime and mortgage payments'.

    Although it's refreshing that he cooks. Does he clean the toilets and mop up vomit when he's overworked and the girls are home sick? If so, then he gets a star for being a truly good husband in my book. And if he's taking care of an aging parent in addition to kids and work, then he might be 'getting' it, perhaps . . .

    Actually not (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by ineedalife on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:40:13 AM EST
    Didn't Michelle say on one of the talk shows that he didn't clean up after himself? That his dirty laundry never made it to the hamper and that he didn't do dishes. And his office was nicknamed "The Black Hole" at their house. This was in attempt to humanize him.

    Yeah, sounds like Obama likes (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:52:37 AM EST
    doing things he likes to do, like grocery shopping and cooking, and not much else. My question is if he is such a family man, why isn't his family in DC with him? It's not like Illinois is close by like VA, WV, MD, DE or PA. And there are good schools in Washington, as well as good piano and ballet teachers. So why is he commuting to Illinois to tuck them in and get them off to school occasionally? If they lived with him and Michelle in DC, or nearby, he could do that whenever he isn't off campaigning. Of course, his mother-in-law might not be willing to move to babysit whenever the parents are out of town. I am still laughing over Michelle's remark about times being hard because they had to struggle to find the money for the girls' piano and ballet lessons. I wonder if she knows how many people could eat regularly on what she spends on those lessons??

    Speaking of Obama's children (3.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Universal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:30:39 AM EST
    I cannot believe he and Michelle allow them to attend church at Trinity.

    Can you imagine letting your own, young child grow up in that climate of vitriol and divisiveness?


    his daughters did not attend (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:33:27 AM EST
    Sunday sermons. Google it.

    how strange is that? (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:37:41 AM EST
    parents choosing a church for themselves and not bringing their children to Sunday services?

    I was thinking the same thing myself (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:50:16 AM EST
    Growing up my family went to church together every Sunday (unless someone was sick, etc). It is one of my most enduring memories from growing up -- 11:00 mass and then a big brunch (at home mostly, but out on special occasions). Anyway, after my brother & I went to college, my dad stopped going to church (even though my mom still goes every Sunday). Granted, my dad isn't the most religious person in the world, but he went every Sunday when we were young because the point of us going to church as a family was for us to do it as a family. I'm not trying to criticize the Obamas here, but I just can't relate to anyone choosing a church where they would/could not take their children for services.  

    i just checked their site (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by boredmpa on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:05:20 AM EST
    they have a separate youth event during the main sermon.  Starts at 10:45, the sermon starts at 11.

    The also have a bible discovery hour, which may be the adult version of sunday school.  I guess you could take your kids to the discovery hour, then send them to the youth school/worship while you do the adult sermon.


    that makes more sense to me (none / 0) (#43)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:24:07 AM EST
    children or youth service v. adult service.  So you go to church as a family but attend different services -- one geared to kids, one to adults.  Still it is unfamiliar to me because the church I went to growing up didn't do that, but then again, services were family-friendly. ;-)

    Don't children go to Sunday School? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:44:52 AM EST
    Isn't it in a classroom that is different from the service in the worship room (or whatever churches call the room where they hold the service?) Or are all churches different? (I don't know the answer, sorry.)

    It depends on the denomination and the church (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by boredmpa on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:56:49 AM EST
    My mother is a UCC minister, and I believe most small/mid size churches in most denominations have at least two sets of service:

    Sunday School--which is broken up into groups and led by lay people and/or ministers.  Frequently there are youth classes, adult classes, elder classes, sometimes young couples groups--whatever motivates people in terms of discussion.

    Worship/Sermon service--this is often referred to as an Adult service in many churches (because it's a sermon and kids have to sit there).  However, in Wright's case it appears to be actually adult focused(??) based on content and if obama's kids don't go that makes sense.  

    It's possible that with a church the size of Wright's, that they have a separate children's sermon or activities.


    My only experience (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:58:03 AM EST
    was in the Catholic church. We went to religious instruction as kids on Saturday mornings, the family went to Sunday services as a family.  What I see on TV when people go to church always has the family together. I have limited experience.

    Same here, CCD was on Saturday morning.. (none / 0) (#92)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:11:44 AM EST
    and we attended church with the adults. Of course, we didn't have a preacher who came out with "R rated" sermons. Heh.

    Raised Catholic here, now Protestant (none / 0) (#138)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:19:36 PM EST
    and can tell you it's quite different.  Catholics of any age are required to go to mass, so kids go -- although my parish built a new church with a "crying room" with glass walls so that the rest of us could hear a darn thing during the services.  Not that it mattered as much in the olden days, since it all was in Latin and incomprehensible to most folks, anyway.  Also, Catholic sermons are a lot shorter with less to listen to, too.

    And the presumption was that the kids were in Catholic school the rest of the week and got their inculcation in the faith then, as we did.  (There were late-afternoon classes for the few kids of the horrible parents who put them in public schools.:-)

    Most Protestants have Sunday School during services, with separate services for the kids as well as instruction.  And/or the kids come in during a portion of the service and depart before the sermons -- which are a lot longer -- and the choir's anthem in those faiths in which music is a significant part of the service.  As a former chorister, with all the work that goes into it, I appreciated that when in the choir and appreciate being able to listen to and learn from the music now.  


    Depends on the church (none / 0) (#24)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:56:34 AM EST
    some have Sunday school during services, some have it before or after services (so that the children can attend services).  The trend these days seems to be more on having the children attend services.  I don't know how UCC works, but in the Catholic church it is not a requirement that children attend Sunday school -- for example, my brother & I went to private schools with a religious affiliation, so we didn't "need" Sunday school to prepare us for first communion, confirmation, etc.  Children who went to public school, however, did have to attend Sunday school to prepare for those events.

    From my childhood experience (none / 0) (#28)
    by nycstray on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:02:50 AM EST
    I think they are different. My parents didn't raise us religious, but as kids in a small town, my sister and I chose to try church. Where we ended up, you did Sunday School and then services. I was between 8-12. IIRC, I joined after my sister. We went to the youth activity groups first (again, SMALL town) and then started with the Church on Sunday. You went to Sunday school, and then you went to something else until you were 'ready' (learning not age) for services. I think it was more teaching church practices, and basic bible beyond Sunday School. It was a long time ago though.

    You do see kids in church services. I know at the age I was in services, Wright would not be a great idea, imo. But I don't know their practices with kids.


    I should clarify that better (none / 0) (#32)
    by nycstray on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:04:59 AM EST
    We had Sunday School and then attended a Service directly after. I think eventually we just went to service. Then we moved to a town with more activity  ;)

    LOL -- "worship room" (none / 0) (#29)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:04:29 AM EST
    I'm not trying to be a smarta$$ -- it is just that phrase sincerely struck me as funny! Guess although years in Catholic school has made somethings second nature to me.  I believe the term most churches use for  where services are held is the "sanctuary."

    Um "although" in my post (none / 0) (#38)
    by angie on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:15:48 AM EST
    should be "all those" -- sorry, it's late.

    Churches have many different policies. (none / 0) (#69)
    by jsj20002 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:18:52 AM EST
    The small suburban Presbyterian church we attended when our children were young invited the children into the sanctuary for the beginning of the service and then sent them to Sunday school while the adults listened to the sermon.  The much smaller Methodist church in the rural town we now live in does the same thing.  The large urban Methodist church that I grew up in had a full-time children's minister and a very active youth fellowship -- the only time young children came to the sanctuary was for children's choir performances around Christmas and Easter.  Given the size of the Obama's home church I am certain they had full-time children's clergy who were probably trained educators.    

    This was the topic of a previous thread. (none / 0) (#128)
    by oculus on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:43:54 AM EST
    Trinity UCC has Sunday School at a different hour than the Sunday services.

    its called... (none / 0) (#62)
    by mindfulmission on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:47:56 AM EST
    ... Sunday School.

    Most (or at least many) churches have Sunday School programs for children while the adults are in "big church."


    The difference is clear... (1.00 / 4) (#46)
    by GOP Lurker on Sun May 04, 2008 at 03:28:59 AM EST
    Barack Obama has a wife. Hillary Clinton does not.

    Sorry if anyone's offended, and I wish this obvious truth wasn't either obvious or true, but there you go.

    I believe it's critically important for kids to have a loving, involved father but the fact remains that child rearing is the ultimate responsibility of women. Not saying it's fair, just saying it is.

    I'll have to politely say 'F234 You!!' to your (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by andrelee on Sun May 04, 2008 at 05:08:26 AM EST
    sexism. I have been at home with our 4yr old boy since he was 6months old and I must say according to my family, friends and the many people all over the world (we travel a lot) that we have met, I have done an enviable job of raising our boy, THX1138. The thing they don't know is that he just looks like me but has his momma's brains and great attitude. It is not exceptional that a man know what to do to raise a happy, curious and loving child. It's just sexist with a full diaper of ignorance to think that. Honestly, I was surprised that I knew what do because I also was told and believed that, according to everyone and not just ignorant a23holes, men aren't supposed to raise children because of the terrible job they would do. I didn't understand why I knew what to do, then it dawned on me that I saw first hand from my parents and my 20 aunts and uncles how to raise happy kids. I knew what to do but didn't realize it, kinda like hearing a song so much that you end up knowing the lyrics without paying attention to it. Like so many things, knowledge, not gender or race, is the key. That's my say. Sorry if I offended anyone by cussing. It is well deserved in my book.

    That's simply not true (5.00 / 5) (#50)
    by facta non verba on Sun May 04, 2008 at 05:28:46 AM EST
    Raising children is the ultimate responsibility of their parents. This is true of most of the Great Apes. Gibbons are devoted parents and the only monogamous primate. Both parents raised the infant. The sole exception among primates to sole responsibility of the female is the orangutan and it is thought because orangs live in a relatively poor nutritional zone for such large creatures that they are solitary rather than pair or group based. Chimpanzees and bonobos raise their infants collectively. Chimp fathers take special care of their infants. Bonobos are a bit different since bonobos can not tell whose offspring is whose all males protect and raise all infants. For a primate you don't know much about primates you big ape.

    children need bot full-time (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by pluege on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:38:19 AM EST
    children need one thing and only one thing: attention from their parents - all of them, be it one if that is all their is, or both if both - full-time - if both are alive. There is no substitute. Anything less than full-attention of both is cheating them.

    Poorly worded, but true (none / 0) (#54)
    by blogtopus on Sun May 04, 2008 at 06:52:03 AM EST
    The vast majority of women in the U.S. and abroad are seen as the more significant caregivers in raising a child. If you want to deny this, then fine. I'm sure there are a lot of good fathers out there who buck this image, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

    Maybe Jeralyn can add some insight, even if it isn't her area of expertise: in custody battles, how often is the woman given custody over the man?


    As a father I beg to differ (none / 0) (#78)
    by ineedalife on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:44:52 AM EST
    The upbringing of my kids was always my greatest priority and my greatest joy.

    Gee, here's the reason I never (none / 0) (#136)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 04, 2008 at 12:10:55 PM EST
    found any guy worth marrying when I lived in Wyoming.  Any guy remotely decent and worth keeping around was snatched up so quick you couldn't even blink - leaving behind a whole pool of single GOP lurkers to choose from ;)  I thought I was suppose to marry out of love and not because I had won a wrestling match with all the other local girls ;)

    I understand what you are saying (none / 0) (#139)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:25:01 PM EST
    because of your last sentence.  No, it's not "fair" in many ways -- but yes, it is the reality even today; surveys consistently tell us so.  And that reality shapes political perceptions of a lot of voters, perhaps the majority of them even today, too.

    And since this is a political blog, I presume your intent is to give the political "take" on this issue, and you have done so.  No question that it is not a question asked of male politicians, much as it ought to be asked.  But this is far from a perfect world for women or men, and this is a country that is behind many others in terms of gender in many ways.


    They'll be just fine, and if they want a pet horse (none / 0) (#30)
    by jerry on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:04:31 AM EST
    in the Whitehouse, I will be first in line rooting the kids on.

    It's all about Obama (none / 0) (#49)
    by facta non verba on Sun May 04, 2008 at 05:20:54 AM EST
    he's 46 and very inexperienced. I think he is running now before the whole world discovers what a fraud he is.

    Other leaders have managed with small children, Kennedy here in the US, Blair in Britain, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia (he was 41 when he became President in 1990)and Spain's José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is 47 but I am not sure if he has children or not.

    His children are non-issue for me. His wife isn't.

    His wife is the issue? (none / 0) (#79)
    by lilybart on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:45:07 AM EST
    Yes, would you like to explain?

    New Rule: you can't run for president unless you are too old to have young children. Will that be good for you?


    Of course; he says she advises him (none / 0) (#140)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:30:01 PM EST
    on many things, including things that relate to decisions he would make about our lives.  And First Ladies always have been part of the political decisions that voters make, too.  For that matter, we always look at all of their family members -- moms, wild brothers, etc. -- and a lot of questions certainly have been raised about what would be the role of a First Hubby, too.

    Heck, Obama was part of his wife's hiring and decision process to work for the Daley political machine in Chicago, when she even had him interview her potential boss for Obama's approval.  So she certainly is part of our hiring and decision process, too. ;-)


    The thread was about children (none / 0) (#151)
    by lilybart on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:55:12 PM EST
    not about Michelle's involvement in politics.

    Nonsense; it's about parenting (nt) (none / 0) (#154)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 02:54:53 PM EST
    The issue is... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Danbury on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:20:16 AM EST
    Not this, but that after a very difficult two weeks for Obama, he's suddenly parading his children out at public events.

    Normally I'd say there's nothing wrong with that, perfectly normal, in fact, but I am so sick of that camp insisting that Obama is not about politics as usual or does the right thing, not the politically expedient thing.


    And a reminder, Rev. Wright wasn't a problem or disownable until he became a serious political (and personal) problem for Obama.

    The illusions and dishonesty in that campaign is incredible.  Worse is how many have bought it.

    suddenly? (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by mindfulmission on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:51:39 AM EST
    he's suddenly parading his children out at public events.
    His children have been at numerous events throughout the campaign.  It did not start this weekend.

    Stop making things up.


    Changing the tone (none / 0) (#67)
    by Danbury on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:05:54 AM EST
    By the way, might I suggest you first assume that someone could perhaps be mistaken about any given thing before deciding they are guilty of the more nefarious making things up?

    Besides, I couldn't be making it up since I got the information from elsewhere, so...well, stop making things up.

    I love irony.


    Not since Iowa (none / 0) (#68)
    by Danbury on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:07:40 AM EST
    Problems are exaggerated (none / 0) (#61)
    by Lora on Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:47:15 AM EST
    Media (and blog) overkill makes these non-issues into issues.  Obama's a bit behind the 8-ball with keeping up with the bad press.  Clinton's more on top of it -- she gives as good as she gets.  Obama needs someone to help him finesse his bad press better.

    It's that time of the school year (none / 0) (#142)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:31:04 PM EST
    when half the time is spent on field trips, anyway.:-)  What a great field trip for his girls!

    Thank you for pointing this out Jeralyn (none / 0) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:35:18 AM EST
    No woman would be able to have young children and run for President without having to endure some scalding editorials.  I don't  believe that it should be an issue for any candidate running but we still have a lot of sexism out there.

    That's true of course (none / 0) (#87)
    by Korha on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:02:09 AM EST
    But Hillary Clinton is NOT actually running for office with young children. There's plenty of actual sexism Clinton is experiencing to fight back against without resorting to hypotheticals and counterfactuals.

    Jeralyn's post, on the other hand, professes to some sort of genuine concern for the suffering Obama's daughters undergo by losing quality time with their father. I call B.S. on that, just like I would call B.S. if Hillary Clinton did have young children, and just like I called B.S. on the editorial handwringing about Edwards' decision to continue running when his wife's cancer reemerged. It's cheap and lame to try to speculate on other families and relationships that you don't know anything about.  


    I think you are reading into Jeralyn's post (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 04, 2008 at 12:07:33 PM EST
    something that isn't there. Jeralyn is a single mother alongside a successful career.  She knows the juggle and she knows the trade offs, she knows all about quality time verses quantity time and last minute prioritizing.  I just saw my son and my husband off at the airport as they head to San Antonio today to tend to one of my son's biyearly surgeries for his titanium rib.  My husband and I switch off who goes to do this so no one parent becomes completely emotionally drained tending to the medical needs of our child.  I'm staying at home now and I tend to most of his special daily needs but the surgery needs can be an overwhelming emotional stress.  Jeralyn is pointing out that many families out there have adopted a more balanced parenting style these days and the Obamas seem to have also done this but Barack will not be subject to the scalding editorials that Hillary would if she were in the same position because of the existing sexism out there.  He is free to choose to have one of these more balanced parenting styles and then to tax his children with his absence during a presidency and nobody is going to knock him for it.  If the same shoe were on Hillary's foot though she would be accused of being a neglectful mother and would probably even be portrayed as emotionally subhuman.

    Look up the story of the woman governor (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:34:54 PM EST
    of Alaska; it was in my paper today.  Soon after her inauguration, already with several children, she and her husband found out that their next would be born with Down's syndrome.  It is simply a tremendous story and has apt quotes from her for this thread -- and for our experience, you and I, as parents of children with chronic conditions, too.

    The story also notes that a Congresswoman from the state of Washington also has a Down's child, and both speak to how their children have educated them as better politicians on these issues as well as better parents.  


    I was thinking of the children's life (none / 0) (#74)
    by Marvin42 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:35:50 AM EST
    I was discussing with my Obama supporter friend. If he does become president his two daughters will spend some of their most formative school and social ears under secret service protection. What school will they go to? How will they socialize?

    I know this is not a new situation, other presidents have done it. But somehow it seems a little unfair to disrupt children's teenage years for anyone.

    My 2 cents.

    Poor Chelsea suffered so (none / 0) (#81)
    by lilybart on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:47:07 AM EST
    and she is so scewed up now because of it.

    NOT. Chelsea seems like a very well-adjusted successful young woman. How did her teen years in the White House ruin her exactly?


    Caroline and John F. Kennedy, Jr., (none / 0) (#83)
    by Danbury on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:53:24 AM EST
    are two other examples of White House children who turned out very well.  

    Hmm you know I never said that right? (none / 0) (#105)
    by Marvin42 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 10:39:05 AM EST
    Are you just misreading or put words into my mouth. This is not aimed at Sen Obama. I don't think anyone should put their kids, specially at the ages of his daughters, through that. You can say what you want, but you really think running around with secret service, restricted movement, having everything you do analyzed is a good way to grow up?

    I think its a credit to the Clintons and the hard line they took with the press that Chelsea did as well as she did. But are you sure she was thrilled by the whole thing?


    This post and the resulting comment thread (none / 0) (#84)
    by Korha on Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:54:19 AM EST
    are pretty dispiriting.

    I believe Chelsea Clinton was 10 or 11 when her father was running for President. Did anyone (Jeralyn?) bring up the issue then of what would happen to poor Chelsea when Bill become President? Oh no, they don't get to spend quality time together! This whole thing is ridiculous.

    Yes, they did bring it up (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by Kathy on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:05:03 AM EST
    but in relation to Hillary Clinton, not Bill.  They were appalled that she had an office in the West Wing, that she was working on healthcare.  People were screaming, "what about Chelsea?!"  Oh, their concern then was heartwarming!

    Okay (none / 0) (#93)
    by Korha on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:13:42 AM EST
    And that's sexist and B.S.

    If you want to see how bad (none / 0) (#90)
    by misspeach2008 on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:07:05 AM EST
    it can get for a woman with children in public office, check out Jane Swift, the only governor to ever give birth while in office. She's doing OK now, but it was not a great time for her.

    Yeah, poor ol' Jane Swift (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun May 04, 2008 at 09:54:12 AM EST
    who had it so bad she was forced, forced, I tell you, to make her office staff baby-sit the kids and commandeer state police helicopters for PTA meetings, etc.

    Jane Swift not a good example.

    (For the uninitiated, Jane Swift was the grotesquely unready extremely young GOP lt. gov. in Mass. who became governor when then gov. Cellucci resigned to go become Bush's ambassador to Canada.)

    Swift was governor on 9/11, though, and listening on the radio in the car, I thought she handled it all very well.


    Sarah Palin, Gov of Alaska, (none / 0) (#120)
    by eleanora on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:22:29 AM EST
    has four kids, all pretty young. She's a conservative Republican, had been mentioned as a running mate for McCain, but she shocked the news people in March when she announced she was seven months pregnant with her fifth one. Apparently she'd just modelled for Vogue and no one had any idea she was pregnant. She's ten years older than I am, can't imagine trying to juggle the state house and five kids, but sounds like she has no problem keeping it all balanced. Very admirable.

    The last baby is here; (none / 0) (#133)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sun May 04, 2008 at 12:01:10 PM EST
    he has Down's syndrome, as they expected.  It is possible the mother's biggest challenges will not be holding office.  The article I read did say that she would be caring for a 'special needs baby.'  At the moment, that little one is just a baby with baby needs, not necessarily special needs.  Later come the real challenges.  BTW, she said that when she looks at the baby, she 'sees perfection.'  That is one lucky infant.

    As noted above, another story on her today (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by Cream City on Sun May 04, 2008 at 01:39:10 PM EST
    ran in my paper (jsonline.com) and on a Washinton Congresswoman with a Down's child, too -- an important story, and what they have to say about childrearing at all while in office is fascinating.

    Btw, folks, also look up former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and what she faced along these lines when first gaining office.  And then when she ran for President.  It was ugly.

    After all, more than 30 women have run for president.  The difference is that Clinton is the first to be a serious threat to male competitors, the first to win a primary -- and now, of course, the first to win more of the popular vote (yes, of all votes cast so far).


    Oh goodness, (none / 0) (#160)
    by eleanora on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:51:50 PM EST
    what sad news. I'm glad that the new baby is so well-loved and accepted just as he is, and wish his mom and dad the best.

    I think you're seeing an attack (none / 0) (#124)
    by eleanora on Sun May 04, 2008 at 11:29:20 AM EST
    where there is none. Just idle discussion of how hard it is to be a parent or child in the public eye and how mothers and fathers are often judged by different standards.

    Thread Cleaned (none / 0) (#132)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 04, 2008 at 12:00:02 PM EST
    of attack comments by Obama supporters. If you have something to say about the topic, feel free. You won't be allowed to mischaracterize the post as an attack when it isn't. To do so ruins the discussion and hijacks the thread. Take your anger elsewhere.

    I think it's a big issue (none / 0) (#158)
    by splashy on Sun May 04, 2008 at 05:08:19 PM EST
    One that men often ignore, possibly because they just don't think they are important to their children on a day to day basis.

    It shows the double standard that a woman is asked about it, while the assumption is that it is irrelevant for a man. Shows just how much farther we have to go culturally.

    What about the children (none / 0) (#161)
    by jondee on Tue May 06, 2008 at 12:04:51 PM EST
    in Iraq and Iran?

    It's lucky Hillary dosnt have "faulty, incomplete,intelligence" regarding her family or she might be forced to authorize a strike on her own home.


    Is that really relevant to the discussion? (none / 0) (#162)
    by splashy on Thu May 08, 2008 at 04:31:33 AM EST
    Sounds like you are trying to change the subject, to bash Clinton.