One of the best things about the Clintons is that, during their time in office, they protected Chelsea from publicity and criticism. This allowed her to go through her teen years without the glare and criticism of, say, Sarah Palin’s children or the politicization of the Obama girls.

So we are now hearing about her happy marriage, with a huge celebration that includes some of her parents friends, but rumors insist most of the guests are in her age group, while political friends of her parents are few (e.g. no invitation to the President for a photo op).

The wedding ceremony will include clergy from the religions of both Chelsea and her husband, again suggesting that they have taken their religions seriously.

And the numbers attending, reported in the 500 range, is not excessive considering the connections of both families, and many stories include huge estimates of the money spent for the wedding.

But why not? Her father has earned a lot of money giving speeches and from his biography, so why not let him spend it on his beloved daughter?  Heck, I have attended weddings with 300 plus folks where the groom is not a big shot, just a cop marrying a local teacher. (Think “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”).

Yet some of the press is going overboard on their coverage: at least one news report on our TV (sorry, can’t remember which one) insisted that Americans had always followed Chelsea as a celebrity, and are now breathlessly awaiting reports on her wedding.

Uh, I don’t  think so. As I noted, the Clinton parents kept her out of the press, and the press respected their wishes.

In the TV coverage, it sounds like the 24 hour cable news systems in the US are covering this to fill out their time slots during a slow news day, when the hyperventillation about the oil spill are being shown to be overblown, there are no new epidemics to worry about, and a Wikileaks scandal is being downplayed so not to insult the President.

Yet I worry. Chelsea deserves a nice wedding. But we are already hearing rumors about the huge costs associated with the wedding, implying that spending all that money during a depression is wrong.

How petty is the criticism? Well, when Rush Limbaugh defends her “$15 000 toilets” as being a good idea, not a sign of excess, you know that there are some folks out there with their knives out trying to destroy Hillary by going after her daughter, and not all of the critics are evil Republicans.

Let’s face it. A huge wedding suggests the excesses of the “Gilded age”, or of a rich family who is clueless about the poverty around them, and if Hillary runs in 2012, we will hear a more of this type of criticism, used as a way to discourage working class and union Democrats from backing her.

And, at another level, a large wedding with showy excess suggests the “new rich”, the idea of a poor person who made money trying to pretend they are as good as the truly superior socialites. (Think Caddyshack or Beverly Hillbillies). One hears some of this criticism now, although muted.

Then we will hear the idea “look at the rich wedding while children are starving in Africa” type of criticism, one that overlooks all the local jobs that were generated by the wedding, or that “there is a time to mourn and a time to party”. After all, Bill Clinton has spent a lot of time and money to help Africa, and if he wants to spend a small amount of his well earned money to give his daughter a nice wedding, I don’t see this as a valid criticism.

Another criticism will be slanted to “turn off” the “Green” vote, the well educated who preach simplicity while living in a way that only the affluent could afford to live (higher priced organic food, cooked with gourmet fresh local vegetables that cost more than frozen veggies bought at Walmart).

So I am happy that Chelsea and her family are celebrating her new life. But I worry that the celebration will be used to denigrate her mother if she dares to oppose the president in 2012.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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