Just in case you’re wondering — and NBC knows you are — Chelsea Clinton still says she has “no plans” to enter electoral politics. For now, anyway. But we do know one thing: Media outlets will continue to invite her to come onto their shows to ask the question. This morning, it was NBC’s turn to pull the Chelsea For Something Bandwagon for a few hundred yards:
.@SavannahGuthrie: Would you run for public office?
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 30, 2017
The most remarkable point of this exercise is its sheer pointlessness. Other than a truly forgettable period on NBC as a correspondent (at $600K per year), Chelsea Clinton has done nothing at all to distinguish herself in politics or anywhere else, except as a well-behaved First Daughter. She campaigned for her mother over the last two years, with little public impact, and with no particular indications of rhetorical talent. In this clip she describes herself as an activist, but the most attention Chelsea draws is to herself rather than her causes.
It’s true that celebrity seems to eclipse accomplishment these days, but at least so far the celebrities that have gotten promoted have actually earned it on their own. Donald Trump created a fortune in real estate around the world before going into politics. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a successful track record in entertainment, assuming he decides to get into electoral politics at some later point. What precise remarkable accomplishment does Chelsea have to recommend her as a political candidate, other than flop at NBC and participate in one of the worst-managed major-party presidential campaigns in history? She’s known entirely as being the daughter of accomplished persons, which may be intriguing for dynasty-starved Americans but not terribly compelling otherwise. And even at that, no one seems to be checking in with the Bush daughters much on their ambitions, so the obsession with Chelsea seems even more odd.
Perhaps media outlets are starting a trend, and will begin inviting strangers off the street to ask whether they plan to run for president. At least they’ll have a better chance of finding someone of personal accomplishment that way.