What was the refrain so often hurled at the right by the "good hearted" and "more civilized" left when Chelsea Clinton was brought into the campaign discussion in the 1990s? Didn't they all solemnly shake their heads in disgust over those eeevil Conservatives who were attacking the president's kid? Didn't they scold the right saying that a candidate's children should never be an issue? Well, apparently the New York Times has abandoned that genteel notion.
I sure remember the left wagging their fingers in the nation's face over this point repeatedly, don't you?
Yes, here we have, in Saturday's edition of the New York Times, an article dragging Rudy Giuliani's recently strained relationship with his two children into the public debate on his candidacy. Here we have the bastion of leftism trying to get at a candidate through his children in stark contrast to the tsk, tsking that the left indulged in during the Clinton years.
The title of the piece and the caption of the large picture accompanying the thing drives the point:
Noticeably Absent From the Giuliani Campaign: His Children
Rudolph W. Giuliani at his inaugural as mayor of New York in 1994, where his son, Andrew, 7, captured the show. But Andrew was not at events like the one in Spartanburg, S.C., last month, right, part of Mr. Giuliani’s bid for the presidency; Andrew Giuliani says they are estranged.
This is an obvious tactic by the New York Times to needle family issues Conservatives to turn away from Giuliani. But, here is the thing, a national audience doesn't have the slightest idea that his children are "noticeably absent" or that his children were all over his earlier campaigns.
Giuliani's former campaigns were local campaigns and a national audience was not exposed to them. The only way for the rest of the country to become aware that Rudy's children are "noticeably absent" is for someone to go out of their way to make it a point to inform them about it.
The Times' piece goes on to explain how Rudy's recent marriage sent his children a bit estranged from him but that they are all trying to work out their relationships of late to try and set things to rights. The story goes on to say that an aspect that has become a stumbling block, though, is that Rudy's children are getting older and just embarking on their own young lives and have less time to spend working on their relationship with Dad.
But, it all amounts to a big "so what"?
Many Americans can identify with Rudy's troubles. With the common state of marriage and re-marriage in America today, Rudy's strained relationship with his children is not an uncommon occurrence. And it is admirable that they are all trying to figure out how to come to terms with it all.
The larger point is, why is this a story? What does Rudy's relationship with his children have to do with his current candidacy? Nothing unless it acts to make him a less desirable candidate, presumably, for the story shouldn't have any place in the campaigns when using the leave-Chelsea-alone standards that the left constantly tried to employ when their hero was in office.
But, now that the White House could be up for grabs, the Times seems to have decided that using a candidate's kids is suddenly a good idea. Suddenly the Kids are fair game.