Here’s the e-mail I sent Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for Tennessee Rep. Stephen Fincher, about her Facebook criticism of the Obama girls:
I realize you have issued an apology subsequent to your criticism of both the decorum and rearing of President Obama’s daughters. While an apology is all well and good, my concern is the spirit in which the original critique was levied. I’m not certain why it was your place, given that the president and his wife are parents, and that the White House has a press secretary and communications staff. In any case, your remarks concerning those children, centered around their deportment at public or photo op events, their attire, and the manner in which they were reared. Yet I do not recall similar commentary from the GOP, the Democrats, pundits, or journalists when a grown man, Rep. Joe Wilson, shouted “You lied!”, when former Governor Romney interrupted the president during presidential debates, and answered questions out of turn, when the Bush daughters misbehaved in actual “spots in bars”, or when the Republican vice presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin, had an unwed daughter who became pregnant out of wedlock. I only cite the latter case, because the daughter in question is now the age of majority, and was since married. But the double standard holds.
Let us leave White House parenting, and all the parenting of minor children of politicians, to their legal parents, be they Kennedy’s or Biden’s. The presidency will change in November of 2016 and January of 2017, by which time the Obama girls will be 15 and 19. Until such time, let us all exhibit a modicum of class, fairness and tact, in long distance judgement of what can only be, from what I have heard the former Lynda and Luci Johnson, the Nixon daughters, and Susan Ford state, can be truly trying years. I also work in media relations, and we must be extra careful in the manner in which we employ social media. The children were not elected.
Bijan C. Bayne