Is Pimping Inherently Offensive?


Once again the campaign coverage has become centered around things having nothing to do with the issues. The Clinton campaign is going to war against MSNBC after David Shuster made a rather inappropriate comment. Shuster, discussing Chelsey Clinton’s role in the campaign, asked, “Doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?” (Video above.)

What is weird about an adult daughter participating in her mother’s presidential campaign? While Chelsea and I are obviously on opposite sides as to who we support, I don’t see anything weird at all about Chelsea either supporting her mother or making calls on her behalf. There certainly isn’t anything about this which has the slightest thing to do with prostitution, which is the first thing most people would think of when hearing the word “pimp.” There is neither any money being exchanged or anything either sexual or sordid about this.

There have been some attempts to excuse this, but there really is no excuse. A post at Slate asks three questions:

Is this use of pimped out inherently offensive? Is that, in fact, what the campaign is doing with Chelsea? Are they now taking excessive umbrage so they can generate coverage and sympathy?

Yes, pimped out is inherently offensive, especially when used to refer to a young woman. No, that is not what the campaign is doing with Chelsea. The third question is a bit harder to answer. We know Hillary Clinton is someone who will say or do anything to win, and we cannot exclude the possibility that her campaign saw this statement as an opportunity to obtain favorable publicity. We also know that Hillary Clinton is a woman who heard her daughter insulted, making an angry reaction understandable and placing her in a strong position here even if she is being manipulative. Maybe this is ultimately a brilliant chess move on Hillary’s part, but if so it came about as a consequence of a really dumb move by a journalist.

Just like the tasteless acronym adopted by a right wing group (Citizens United Not Timid) to attack Clinton, there are times when attacks on the opposition only work to their advantage. Clinton learned the hard way that some attacks are counterproductive. Obama realized this when he vowed not to resort to the type of distortions the Clinton campaign has engaged in. Obama gained politically as a result of some of the inappropriate attacks upon him from the Clinton camp. Unfortunately, while Obama isn’t going to give Clinton the opportunity to benefit from improper attacks from him, Clinton still stands to gain politically from attacks of this nature from the media and from the right wing.


  1. 1
    Natthedem says:

    I was with the Clintons on this, right up until the moment that Howard Wolfson said: “I, at this point, can’t envision a scenario where we would continue to engage in debates on that network.”


    Let’s not get all indignant about networks being malicious in their coverage when earlier this week, they wanted Obama to agree to a debate on Fox News.


  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    From the perspective of the Clinton campaign this is actually a logical position.

    Most Democrats do not think Democrats should debate on Fox and give them credibility as they see Fox as a biased organization which reports on them in an unfair and inaccurate manner.

    The Clinton campaign sees MSNBC as a biased organization which reports on them in an unfair and inaccurate manner, and therefore does not want to debate there.

    They might also see Fox differently. Republicans want Clinton to be the nominee because most likely McCain would beat Clinton but loose to Obama. Clinton knows that if Fox is biased in the handling of the debate, the bias would be in her favor during the nomination battle.

  3. 3
    DavidL says:

    Just where does Mrs. Clinton get off complaining about disparaging treatment of women? The Clintons have been abusing women for years, and it was Mrs. Clinton who managed the bimbo eruptions, that is smearing B.J.’s girl friends and victims.

  4. 4
    plum says:

    Nathan — Damn, that’s an excellent point. I also was really supportive of Clinton, but that linkage never occurred to me. Huh.

  5. 5
    plum says:

    And may I say how utterly depressing this whole brouhaha is. Obama seeks to end partisan negative politics by rising above and appealing to people’s better angels. In her own way, Clinton also seeks to end partisan negative politics — by constantly playing the victim. I fear her tactics will be more effective in the long run.

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