Chelsea Clinton’s Lead Trial Balloon

Matt Welch, Reason

Chelsea Clinton and I have quite a few things in common. For instance, we both live in New York City (albeit in not-so-comparable digs). We both have appeared on NBC-family news programming, though her per-minute rate is roughly $26,724 higher than mine. And we both have had critical things to say about Donald Trump, though I'm not friends with the family.

Yet somehow I'm never impelled to issue wink-wink nudge-nudge denials about, you know, RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. "I clearly don't agree with our President but I'm not the right person to run to defeat him in 2020," Norah O'Donnell tweeted out this morning from a Clinton appearance on CBS.

As with the target of Clinton's critique, the full context here is considerably worse, starting with the real villain of the piece, CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King. "I feel like déjà vu with your mom all over again," King gushed. "Are you running, are you running, are you running?"

WorldReader.org"No. No, no, no," an aww-shucks who-me Clinton replied, before quickly turning the corner:

Um, but I do think it's important that we be talking about all the different ways that is possible to engage in the world. And I think being a citizen isn't something that just happens in an election year. I think it's something that kinda is a call to action for each one of us, Gayle, every single day. And I think there are lots of ways to get involved; clearly running for public office is one of those.

I think to run for public office, though, a few things have to be true. I think you have to have a clear vision of what you would do, kind of, in a given job. I think you have to have a clear sense that you're the best person for that job. And right now, you know, I'm really lucky—I live in a neighborhood here in New York City where I support my city councilwoman, I have a major, not-so-secret girl crush on our Public Advocate, Tish James. I support our mayor, I love my congresswoman, our senators. I clearly don't agree, you know, with our president, but I'm definitely not the right person to run to defeat him in 2020.

So right now, the answer is no. But I think we all need to be asking ourselves that question periodically. And I hope that a lot of young people are gonna use the election to think, "Wow, like, should I run for public office? Am I the right person for a given job?" Whether it's a school board or a senator.

This excruciating string of political banalities and verbal italics, delivered in support of Clinton's activism-for-kidz primer It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!, is even worse to experience audio-visually.

One hopes, despite all leading indicators to the contrary, that the absurdity of Chelsea Clinton answering presidential rumors with "So right now, the answer is no" will put an embarrassed stop to what Commentary's Noah Rothman has described as "the contrived, media-driven campaign to fabricate Chelsea Clinton into a figure of political and cultural relevance." But then again, Rothman wrote those words five weeks ago, and Clinton has been featured since then in at least 10 headlines at The Hill alone (sample: "Chelsea Clinton knocks ObamaCare replacement plan," "Chelsea Clinton plans new children's book: 'She Persisted,'" and "Chelsea Clinton fuels speculation of political run").

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