It’s time to break the double standard

Yes, it was sexist. Yes, it was rude, uncalled for and completely out of line.

But it’s not a reason to throw away years of work.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has every right to be upset with MSNBC’s David Shuster for his inappropriate comments last week. The anchor/pundit said the Clinton camp had “pimped out” the Clintons’ 27-year-old daughter Chelsea by having her call superdelegates and ask for their support.

According to MSNBC, Clinton told the company in a letter that she is “a mom first and a candidate second,” and that she found Shuster’s comments “incredibly offensive.”

So do we.

But Clinton shouldn’t punish her Ohio constituents, the possible voters who have yet to make up their minds about who to vote for come March 4. That date is fast approaching.

On Feb. 26, MSNBC had planned to hold a Democratic debate in Cleveland between Clinton and Barack Obama. The race is close and the state is important. The Cleveland debate could help a lot of people in the Northeast Ohio area decide which candidate is going to get their vote.

But after Shuster’s comments, Clinton has threatened to back out of all MSNBC-sponsored events. The company has temporarily suspended Shuster from the air, except to apologize for his remarks. But Clinton argues that this is just the most recent in a string of MSNBC attacks, and the scheduled debate remains up in the air.

And we think that’s too bad. The debate would be a great opportunity for either candidate to show Ohio voters they care about our state, and by choosing to visit the decidedly working-class Cleveland over our capital of Columbus, it marks the candidates’ respect of that working class. And that’s a powerful constituency to hold in this Rust Belt state — a state that continually impacts national elections and, this year, the primary process, as well.

Clinton could take this adversity as an opportunity to rise above the slander that marks politics and put the people first. She could even address the issue if she wanted — a reminder of the still inherently sexist world we live in, one where political pundits can insinuate young women are being prostituted for their job choices with little fear of persecution, might be just what she needs to rally the feminist vote behind her.

Clinton has been trying to get women behind her. She should be upset about Shuster’s remarks. So should anyone else who says they believe in equality for all. Candidates’ wives and children have always been involved with their campaigns — the absence of former candidate Rudy Giuliani’s children on the trail was duly noted by the national media. Why would Chelsea Clinton or, for that matter, Bill Clinton, not get involved with Hillary’s campaign?

It’s true; the double standard has to stop, but running away from the problem is not the way to do it. It would be much more powerful for Clinton to rise up and be the better person.

This could be a lesson that shows Sen. Clinton does not stand for discrimination and persecution, but she also does not let it stand in her way. That’s important in a leader, regardless of party affiliation. This could be a way for Clinton to take the campaign from the mudslingers and give it back to the people. And that’s better for everyone.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.