Chelsea Clinton is somewhat of a cipher in the public eye. Her parents, rightly, restricted press coverage of her for the duration of her father’s administration, insisting, as much as possible, on a ‘normal’ upbringing, to the extent that’s feasible in the White House. Now, Ms. Clinton is all grown up, much more graceful than the awkward teenager she was (let’s face it, our teenage years weren’t precisely what any of us would care to be remembered for). And her resume is impressive: work at Stanford, Oxford and Columbia, with a Ph.D. from New York University on the way, with past employers including the illustrious McKinsey & Co.
Chelsea made her debut into broadcast journalism last night with a segment on NBC’s 30 Rock, a news magazine that’s modeled on Sixty Minutes, but with a less narcoleptic bent than the geriatric broadcast. And the reviews weren’t kind. She displayed little to no charisma, which, given her parentage, is pretty surprising. Her father is one of the most naturally charismatic figures of his generation, and while I don’t think charisma came naturally for the Secretary of State, I think she’s grown into her role admirably.
To which I say, give Chelsea some time. It may well be that she had a bit of stage fright, which is perfectly understandable. I’m sure that with time, she’ll probably be glowing with the confidence that her father channeled to us for most of the 1990s. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of trajectory Chelsea follows. I have a sneaking suspicion that she’ll remain in the public eye for much of her life, a la Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. Time will tell.