the stepford family and where they came from

My friend, Jim, just wrote in to let me know that the Drudge Report is running a piece about Supreme Court nominee John Roerts and the fact that the New York Times is looking into his two adopted children. While I was sitting here thinking about why Drudge, an avowed conservative, would come out with information that might look bad for Roberts, it occurred to me that perhaps there might be something to the story and that Drudge is just trying to get out ahead of the Times in order to construct a frame more favorable to Roberts.

As for the frame, here’s what it’s shaping up to be… and this comes directly from the Drudge blurb: “One top Washington official with knowledge of the NEW YORK TIMES action declared: ‘Trying to pry into the lives of the Roberts’ family like this is despicable. Children’s lives should be off limits. The TIMES is putting politics over fundamental decency.'”

Leaving aside the fact that the quote probably isn’t real, I find it particularly loathsome that Drudge would play the “children’s lives are off limits” card now, after giving the Bush team a pass in 2000, when, in the primary against McCain, they distributed photos of the Senator with his (dark-skinned) adopted daughter, suggesting that she was the product of an affair McCain had had with a black woman — something that didn’t go over too well with Republicans in the south.

So, the fact that Drudge jumped in to set the stage makes me think that perhaps there’s actually something here… Is it possible, I wonder, that Roberts pulled some political strings to get his hands on those two adorable Latin American kids? And, as long as we’re on the subject, does anyone else find it odd that they’re both blonde? You don’t suppose he and his wife dye their hair to help complete the perfect, all-American image, do you? Or, worse yet, what if they aren’t really Latin American at all? What if they were purchased elsewhere and funneled though Latin America? Hmmmm…

While I suspect it’s nothing so scandalous, I suppose it is possible that Roberts and his wife might have taken advantage of their positions in order to work around the system that other American couples have to wade through for years and years, and that might not go over too well with the American electorate… Of course, it could be much worse. They may have had to adopt in the first place because he can only ejaculate in the presence of young men.

While we’re on the subject of Roberts, here’s part of an email I received today from People for the American Way:

Each day brings more troubling news about Roberts’ approach to our constitutional and civil rights–and more evidence that the White House can’t be allowed to keep important parts of Roberts’ record secret. Based on what we already know, Roberts has a lot of explaining to do.

When Roberts worked for the Reagan Justice Department, for example, he derided what he termed the “so-called” right to privacy and said that it is “not to be found in the Constitution.” The Washington Post reported yesterday that Roberts, referring to the Supreme Court’s landmark privacy ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, praised a dissent that would have permitted states to prosecute people for using contraceptives–even married couples!

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Here are some highlights from what the press uncovered over the last week. While working under Republican presidents, John Roberts:

This entry was posted in Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Tony Buttons
    Posted August 5, 2005 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Are you ready for the “Arms for Babies” scandal?

  2. Posted August 5, 2005 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    1) And I don’t remember poor Chelsea Clinton being off limits.
    2) I was going to say that blonde Latin American kids were possibly due to the German influx during WWII. Although blondes aren’t completely unknown in L.A. countries.

  3. Brian
    Posted August 5, 2005 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    My theory:

    Dinosaur DNA. Think about it.

  4. mark
    Posted August 5, 2005 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Is that a Jurassic Park reference? Are you suggesting that there’s an island of these kids somewhere and they’re planning a theme park?

  5. Posted August 6, 2005 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    I think you know what I’m saying.

    Check the link. Those kids look like their being told to keep their mouths shut or that dood will activate the DNA that causes the children to tear each other apart.

  6. Shanster
    Posted August 6, 2005 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I think its perfectly legit to check out the general process of this adoption. If they did anything illegal, it would bring up ethics questions more important than pot-smoking (Which almost-justice was it?).

    I don’t remember reading anything about poor Chelsea Clinton’s background. Maybe they checked it and found it too uninteresting to print, but I thought the press generally kept their distance. Do you remember something different?

  7. mark
    Posted August 6, 2005 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I like the idea, Brian. It sounds perfectly plausible… One question though, is “dood” old-english for “dude”?

    As for you, Shanster, I think you’ve got a selective memory. The off-hand right wing comments about Chelsea were flowing pretty freely for a while. Not only was she being called homely, but it was suggested by some that she was the product of artificial insemenation, due to the fact that her mother was (is) a lesbian. And, more recently, there was a book suggesting that she was the prduct of rape. I’m sure you must have heard some of this before… As we know, you listen to Rush.

  8. john galt
    Posted August 6, 2005 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Who’s more dangerous on the road? A 30-year-old man crossing the blood-alcohol limit driving too slowly in the middle of the night, or an 17-year-old boy driving 97 miles per hour on an interstate highway in broad daylight?

    The standards of danger are not the standards of news judgment. The Thursday eruption over George W. Bush’s old DUI arrest of 1976 quickly trumped the amount of TV time most other fall campaign issues or controversies received within the first 24 hours. But the 17-year-old boy arrested for wild speeding is Al Gore III, driving back to Washington from the Outer Banks of North Carolina on August 12, 2000. Clearly Young Al is not supposed to be a public figure. Clearly it would seem beyond the pale for any political operative or hard-charging talk-radio host to blame his dad for doing a rotten job of the boy’s upbringing. But is it fair to spike the unfavorable news angles

  9. john galt
    Posted August 6, 2005 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    from people of all places

    A valid journalistic subject?

    TERENCE SMITH: At the White House press briefing yesterday, Spokesman Joe Lockhart tried to forestall further coverage.

    JOE LOCKHART, White House Spokesman: Let me reiterate something that the president said in both his statement and what he said to me, which is he and the first lady very much appreciate everyone in this room who has respected their family’s privacy on this issue. And it is their hope, as we move into the future, you will continue to do so.

    ChelseaTERENCE SMITH: Nonetheless, the Clintons have, on repeated occasions, included Chelsea in public appearances. In the 1992 presidential campaign, she was featured in the convention video, “A Man from Hope.”

    CHELSEA CLINTON: What I would like America to know about my mother and father is that they’re great people and they’re great parents.

    TERENCE SMITH: Chelsea has also frequently accompanied her mother on overseas trips, and last August, on the day after her father admitted his inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky, she was the symbolic and very public bridge between her parents.

    SmithTERENCE SMITH: Now we’re joined by two reporters who have covered the White House for years. Elizabeth Drew, journalist and author, is currently working on a book on Washington, and Gene Gibbons, formerly chief White house correspondent for Reuters, and now managing editor of Stateline, a new Internet publication focusing on government.

    Welcome to you both. Elizabeth, People Magazine says Chelsea Clinton is a valid journalistic subject. Is she?

    ELIZABETH DREW: Well, I wouldn’t say that the article was invalid. I would say it was unnecessary. I think one of the true — one of the very few civilized arrangements that’s been going on in Washington in the last decade, let’s say, has been the press’ acceptance of the Clintons’ plea to just let her grow up and let her try to lead as normal a life as possible. People say she’s now 19, but let’s look at why they wrote the article and what the – there’s almost a purulent interest now in how the family crisis has affected Mrs. Clinton and how it’s affected Chelsea. I think she can do without that.

    TERENCE SMITH: Gene Gibbons, is Chelsea Clinton fair game?

    GibbonsGENE GIBBONS: Me thinks the Clintons protest too much. I believe I probably am as well acquainted with Chelsea as most outsiders, and I underline outsiders, having covered three foreign trips with her and her mother and having been in her company on several other occasions. I know her to be a very warm, engaging, well-mannered young woman, a child any parent would be proud of. The article in People Magazine reflects that. I can’t for the life of me understand why the Clintons would be upset about it, and I can’t understand why they would create a commotion, what they would accomplish by that, other than sell more magazines.

    TERENCE SMITH: Can you understand why the Clintons would be upset about it?

    The Clinton’s reaction.

    DrewELIZABETH DREW: I think they probably — they didn’t ask me, but I think they probably saw this as crossing a line. This is a benign article. I mean it’s quite nice to Chelsea, but it asks some questions everybody wants to know about how she is feeling about this crisis in her family and how she is handling it. Once that starts, it’ll keep going, and I think they were just trying to stop it from starting.

    GENE GIBBON: But here we are in the seventh year of the Clinton presidency, Chelsea is 19 years old, she’s not a little girl anymore, she’s a grown-up young woman. The Clintons tend to try and have it both ways at times, I think. She was a part of a People Magazine piece that they cooperated with in ’92 when her father was running. She campaigned by his side during his whistle-stop train trip to the Chicago convention in 1996. And there was the hand-in-hand photo walking to the helicopter after he admitted that his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was more than casual. So I think that, you know, to want to focus the spotlight on Chelsea when it is in their interest and control it when they don’t want that spotlight, I just don’t think it works that way.

    TERENCE SMITH: Are they trying to have it both ways, Elizabeth?

    ELIZABETH DREW: Oh, sure, absolutely. Most first families do. They want us to see the happy moments and the joy together and all that. And then they want to draw a curtain. But the fact that the Clintons are being hypocritical about this doesn’t mean that Chelsea should suffer at other people’s hands.

    TERENCE SMITH: Gene gibbons, for years you and others did observe a kind of hands-off policy. What’s changed? Why is it different now?

    GENE GIBBONS: Well, I think that a number of things have changed. And I’m not sure that it has changed all that much. There was this very flattering article and I must say I find myself wondering if there is part of the White House spin by focusing attention on this very flattering publicity at a time when the president is in a very unfavorable light. It works to their interest.

    SmithTERENCE SMITH: Well, it it’s certainly a fact that it got the article more attention than it otherwise would. But issuing a statement, of protest, I mean that’s a fairly aggressive and unusual act, is it not?

    ELIZABETH DREW: Well, presidents have done everything from canceling subscriptions to having their press secretaries beat up on people.

    TERENCE SMITH: They also sought in this case as you know to, block the article and even invoke the name of the Secret Service to suggest that this might in some way jeopardize her security.

    ELIZABETH DREW: Well, without getting into exactly what methodology they did or didn’t use, I still think the point is that Chelsea is the innocent in this whole story, she’s at a college now, Kenneth Starr in his wisdom sent his daughter there, too, and I think she just deserves the privacy that can be given to her.

    GibbonsGENE GIBBONS: The injection of the Secret Service into this is what I find the most troubling aspect of the entire business. Fame creates risk as long; as there are mentally unstable people who are magnetized by it, that’s going to be the case. Chelsea is better equipped than most people to handle that. We taxpayers pay to have her protected by a very efficient group of bodyguards, the U.S. Secret Service. For them to weigh in and try and head off a story I think is putting us on dangerous ground.

    TERENCE SMITH: Well, I suppose the fundamental question I’d ask you both is: Is Chelsea Clinton news? Would you call this news?

  10. john galt
    Posted August 6, 2005 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Joel Stein/TIME
    Time cover

    STANFORD, Calif. (TIME, Sep. 29) — It was embarrassing enough when my parents, crying, holding baby pictures and stuffing a flowery note into my carry-on bag, dropped me off at Newark Airport eight years ago for my freshman year at Stanford. But Chelsea Clinton’s parents showed up at her Stanford dorm last Friday night not only mushy but also in a motorcade flanked by security guards and nearly 250 of their closest journalists. I would have died.

    Despite the weepy goodbye letter Hillary wrote in her syndicated column last week (I would have killed her before I died), asking journalists to leave her daughter alone, the Clintons permitted move-in day to be a public event. The Clinton Administration, after all, has fine-tuned an Oprah-style culture of public emoting. And emote they did. Mom shopped for supplies with Chelsea; Bill packed and then carried boxes. Last Wednesday, as Clinton was working on answers for questions on the tobacco settlement, spokesman Mike McCurry told him to prep for Chelsea questions as well. The President winced and asked, “Do I have to?” Then Al Gore asked, “So, are you doing O.K.?” Clinton replied, “I’m trying.”

    Even before Chelsea arrived at Stanford, every woman with curly, strawberry blond hair was getting even more double takes than usual. The rumors floating around campus the week of her arrival ranged between true and scary: bulletproof glass in her room (yes), cameras in the hallways (yes) and bathroom (no), massive construction on campus to transform the underground steam tunnels into escape routes (no), that she chose Stanford to be with some mystery frat-boy boyfriend (no), that Secret Service men live in the rooms around and above and below her to prevent people from drilling into her room and poisoning her, Mission: Impossible-style (no), and that she has a computer chip implanted in her neck to track her. (And this where 50% of students had a 4.0 in high school.) There was endless speculation, and at least one betting pool, about where she would live. But the thing that obsessed Stanford most was the Secret Service men, who, as they did for Jack Ford, will dress like students and live in the dorm. Will they listen in while Chelsea hooks up? If they go to class with her, will they have to do the assigned reading? And, most important, will they bust students for underage drinking?

    Nevertheless, the California campus was trying to be as New York blase as possible. While the most laid-back school in the country started looking more like backstage at a Puff Daddy concert (metal detectors, guys in fatigues, and a laminated, neck-rope pass for everyone–students, parents, faculty, press), people tried to act cool. The school administration will say nothing besides one well-crafted sentence about “respecting the privacy of all our students.” Chelsea’s residence staff has been trained in press handling (tell them to leave, then call the police) to the point where they seem unfazed. Even Bill Shen, founder of the apolitical campus’ small Stanford Democrats club, said his organization won’t recruit her: “She’s pre-med. She’s got enough to worry about.”

    Perhaps more than anyone else, the campus newspaper, the Stanford Daily, has set the standard for Chelsea overprotection. It has declared the Chelsea beat off-limits and spent most of the past few months refusing comment to every media outlet that ever existed (Good Morning America alone called five times). Overcompensating in its Friday issue, it buried the Chelsea story behind four others, right after STUDENT SENTENCED IN GRAFFITI CASE. Yet Carolyn Sleeth, the editor in chief, not only has a picture of Chelsea as the sole decoration on her computer; she also has a roll of Chelsea-brand toilet paper planted on her desk. Like it or not, Chelsea is news.

    In fact, a little industry emerged around the First Frosh. Senior Jesse Oxfeld, a former Daily editor, has worked feverishly to market himself as the official Chelsea pundit, appearing on the Today show, CBS, MSNBC and NPR. Husky, chest hair peeking up from his button-down shirt and punctuating sentences with one raised eyebrow, Oxfeld looks the part. “Ultimately, I want to be a pundit. But I didn’t know where to find an entry-level job.” Making the most of his opportunity, he has got his lines all worked out. “If I really wanted to be cynical about it,” he says about Clinton’s arrival on campus, lifting that eyebrow, “Al Gore needs the 64 electoral votes from California, and Leon Panetta wants to be Governor.” Wow.

    How much “Chelsea Goes to Stanford” can the country really take? “Hopefully,” says Oxfeld, preparing for another gig on NBC, “a lot.” But already the cameras are receding. And last week’s public move-in may be the last story for a long while.

    –With reporting by Karen Tumulty/Washington

  11. mark
    Posted August 6, 2005 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    So, what’s your point?

  12. Ken
    Posted August 6, 2005 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I think the point is that he hasn’t lost his prowess with the ctrl-C/ctrl-V two step.

  13. Shanster
    Posted August 7, 2005 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    The Chelsea stuff…I honestly don’t remember either of the rumors, but of course the homely stuff was just observational opinion. I’m not sure what galt was saying either, can someone translate all that into red-state English (3 syllable max, no compound or complex sentences)?

    Now at least people are talking about adoption.

  14. Jim
    Posted August 9, 2005 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Blondness explained: The Roberts kids came from Ireland (which does not allow foreign adoptions):,8599,1086120,00.html

    Discussion here:

  15. Jim
    Posted August 9, 2005 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Try this in place of the bad link:

  16. mark
    Posted August 9, 2005 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Good work, Jim. I’ll get this up on the front page as soon as I can. Thanks.

  17. Jim
    Posted August 9, 2005 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid that “good work” would be doing my job, instead of reading political blogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.