Politicians’ children not campaign issue

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

I couldn’t possibly have accurate numbers on this, but I’m confident thousands of 17-year-olds are holding out hope that in 2008 they’ll cast their first presidential votes for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

As I found out Monday morning, one of those is Caroline Giuliani.

As online magazine Slate reported, the 17-year-old daughter of Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani owned a profile on the social networking site Facebook. On that profile, she designated her political views as “liberal” and was a member of Obama’s Facebook network until Slate asked her about it.

My first thought — this is hilarious, and it’s getting e-mailed to everyone. I followed through, and many agreed on the hilarity.

My second thought is probably the right one. Every time I forward this and other stories, I add to the dumbing down of politics. And so does everybody else, media or not, who pays more attention to candidate children than they do to candidate policies.

It’s funny to argue Giuliani can’t even convince his kids to vote for him. But it’s a more salient point “America’s Mayor” doesn’t deserve such accolade because documentation shows he disregarded his emergency management director and placed the city’s emergency command center in the high-profile World Trade Center Building 7 — making it effectively useless during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The dumbing down happens all over the spectrum, and it’s only going to lead us to bad decisions in the voting booth.

Just think of all you’ve heard about the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara Pierce. I haven’t heard much about Jenna’s work with UNICEF, or Barbara Pierce’s work with AIDS patients in Africa. I have heard plenty about their arrests for being minors in possession of alcohol and where they party. These stories have sent shock waves to all U.S. college graduates who never partied in their 20s or drank before they turned 21 — you know, all six of them.

And let’s not forget Chelsea Clinton, a former (and possibly future) president’s daughter. While father Bill was president, 13-year-old Chelsea was called the “White House dog” on Rush Limbaugh’s television program. Limbaugh later said an employee put up the wrong picture, but come on — Limbaugh’s program was pre-recorded, and could be edited before airing.

Just a few weeks ago, presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., was given a question on public and private schools. She said Chelsea was sent to private school due to privacy concerns. The “liberal media” reported Clinton was caught in a lie because she said in 1993 Chelsea was going to Sidwell and Friends because it was a good school. Reporters got so caught up in the “gotcha” story they disregarded 1993 reports from Newsweek and The Associated Press that backed up what Hillary said.

In the reports I’ve outlined, we’ve discovered kids of politicians disagree with their parents and drink when they’re underage — just like other kids. Now imagine if those reports were instead dedicated to detailing how Democratic candidates will pay for expanded health care, or how Republicans who support the Iraq war respond to intelligence reports that it’s only made terrorist organizations stronger.

We’d probably make better choices every November and have better people in Washington. Even a 17-year-old knows that.