When Saturday Night Live made fun of Chelsea Clinton, the entire media went crazy and forced an apology. Jokes at the expense of the Obama daughters were met with similar outrage. The Bush daughters…not so much, but there was some “this is inappropriate” talk. The rule of thumb has been that children are off limits in the game of politics, and for good reason – just because their parent is in public office doesn’t mean it should be open season on them. Kids can’t pick their parents, and kids should be free to be kids. Adults, on the other hand, are fair game because, well, they’re adults.
Family has been a part of politics in the modern era for a long time. Billy Carter was a goofball weirdo who embarrassed President Jimmy Carter from time to time. But then Jimmy Carter’s policies embarrassed him more times than “Billy Beer” ever could. President George H.W. Bush’s brothers were attacked in the press and campaigns because they were older and involved in some embarrassing situations. Roger Clinton was a ball of scandal, and Barack Obama never bothered to know his siblings.
But again, their kids were mostly left alone, adult or not.