Elizabeth Lauten flushed her career down the toilet this week by making the unwise decision to attack Sasha and Malia Obama in a Facebook post. Unimpressed by the president’s teenage daughters and their lack of stately composure at the annual turkey pardoning ceremony, Lauten decided she needed to let the daughters know how disappointed in them she was. “Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar,” she said.
Lauten has since been forced to resign her spot as communications director for Tennessee Republican Representative Stephen Fincher, drowned in a barrage of righteous left-wing fury that would be understandable if it wasn’t so transparently hypocritical. Reporting on the story Monday night, NBC’s Brian Williams inspired many a hearty chuckle when he said she broke the solemn “unwritten rule” that you leave families out of it. Huh?
The Unwritten Rule
I don’t support Lauten’s comments and I think she should be out of a job. If not for the content of the message then for the utter lack of professional judgment. Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention for the last six years knows that the Obama children are off-limits. If they are to be spoken of at all, it is to be in glowing terms that praise their beauty and poise. Lauten must have been out of her mind thinking she could accuse them of lacking “class.” And, as has been said a million times over the last few days, they’re teenagers. What do you want?
But this liberal outrage is really amusing. I don’t remember this unwritten rule being in effect when Chelsea Clinton was in the White House. Conservatives, liberals, talk show hosts, and comedians all got their jabs in with only the occasional loudmouth going a little too far. Then there were the Bush twins, often the source of tabloid rumors and reports in the early days of George W.’s presidency. And let’s not forget Sarah Palin’s children. It was only a couple of months ago that CNN’s Carol Costello was choking back laughter when playing Bristol’s account of male-on-female violence.
No, there doesn’t seem to have been any unwritten rules about the families of politicians until now. David Letterman garnered some controversy in 2009 when he made a joke about Palin’s daughter having been “knocked up” in between innings at a Yankee game, but the scorn was directed at the tastelessness of the joke, not the “unwritten rule.” A writer for Jezebel said she found it “frustratingly difficult to get outraged” over the whole thing, since she hated Sarah Palin so much.
Fact is, the world is what it is. People have their opinions, and the Internet has made it easier than ever to get them out in front of a huge audience. Lauten made an error in judgment, but liberals should take a long look in the mirror before they go casting stones.