Last week, to nearly universal acclaim, Ivanka Trump, dynamic and accomplished daughter of the Republican presidential nominee, delivered a clear, articulate and compelling address to the Republican National Convention, the American people and the world. Walking gracefully yet powerfully onto the stage with the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” playing, Ivanka’s delivery was so sharp and impressive that even CNN commentator Mel Robbins wrote that Ivanka had done “an amazing job.”
When Ivanka said, “Real change, the kind we have not seen in decades, is only going to come from outside the system,” it was thoroughly believable. You felt Ivanka believed it, too. When she claimed, “My father taught my siblings and me the importance of positive values and a strong ethical compass,” millions of American voters surely nodded and smiled.
Actually, “Chugga Chugga” did not get an applause … It was a painfully awkward moment, but that was only the beginning.
It is impossible to believe Chelsea Clinton’s speech Thursday night had even a remotely similar effect.
Given the nearly impossible task of white-washing her parents’ decades of indiscretions, machinations and corruption, it would be understandable to cut the former first daughter some slack. After all, Chelsea tried. Early on, seeking to show a human, maternal side of Mrs. Clinton, Chelsea went with the following:
“My mom can be about to walk on stage for a debate, or a speech, it just doesn’t matter. She’ll drop everything for a few minutes of blowing kisses and reading ‘Chugga Chugga Choo Choo’ with her granddaughter. Oh, ‘Chugga Chugga’ got an applause.”
Actually, “Chugga Chugga” did not get an applause — at least not until Chelsea said it again, seemingly prompting the crowd to clap. It was a painfully awkward moment, but that was only the beginning.
Later, Chelsea opined, “That feeling of being valued and loved, that’s what my mom wants for every child. It is the calling of her life.” While pundits may be too polite to say it, how many Americans honestly believed that?
The shakiness in Chelsea’s voice throughout suggests she may not have believed what she was saying herself. “There’s something else that my mother taught me — public service is about service,” Chelsea continued to meander unconvincingly.
The ultimate irony in last night’s stream-of-consciousness attempt to humanize her mother, however, may lay in the line, “My mom and I loved ‘Pride and Prejudice.'” Interesting.
“Pride and Prejudice,” the early 19th-century classic written by the famed author Jane Austen, is known primarily for the lengthy, rocky courtship by the aristocrat Mr. Darcy of the proud but poor peasant Elizabeth Bennet, after initially considering her and her boisterous family beneath him. After overcoming his initial prejudice, Mr. Darcy finally convinces Elizabeth to put aside her pride, forgive him, and marry him.
Perhaps Chelsea and Hillary recall what Bill told the world on Wednesday night about his repeated proposals being rejected before his now-wife finally said “Yes.”
Yet there are side plots in the novel, as well. One involved the charismatic, charming, and devious Mr. Wickham, who attempted to marry Mr. Darcy’s sister in order to snatch her wealth. When that fails, Mr. Wickham then lures one of Elizabeth’s sisters, credulous Lydia, to run away with him. Later, it is learned Mr. Wickham and Lydia are persuaded to marry, in order to preserve some respectability, by none other than Mr. Darcy, at some considerable financial cost. When Elizabeth learns of Mr. Darcy’s noble and selfless action, she is permanently won over to him.
Perhaps Chelsea and Hillary see more Mr. Wickham than Mr. Darcy in Bill?
Alas, last night Chelsea continued and concluded:
“People ask me, all the time, how does she do it? How does she keep going, amid the sounds and the fury of politics? Here’s how, it’s because she never, ever forgets who she’s fighting for … I hope that my children will someday be as proud of me as I am of my mom. I am so grateful to be her daughter. I’m so grateful that she is Charlotte’s and Aidan’s grandmother … To everyone watching here and at home, I know with all my heart, that my mother will make us proud as our next president. This is the story of my mother, Hillary Clinton.”
Chelsea aimed to demonstrate how proud she was of her mother, with about as much credibility as her father’s Wednesday yarn about his and Hillary’s decades-long love affair.
It may be worth recalling, then, a “Pride and Prejudice” truism from Elizabeth’s sister, Mary, who said, “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity to what we would have others think of us.'”
Last week, Ivanka evinced a pride for her dad like he so obviously has for her and his country. For the Clintons, it has always been vanity.