"Complicit" is a smooth-sounding word with a rough definition, meaning "involved with others in an activity that is unlawful" or (according to Webster) "helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way." When Michelle Obama supported her husband, when Hillary and Chelsea Clinton supported their husband and father, it was described as being loyal, being involved and being assertive, all excellent traits in your present-day woman.
Only when Ivanka Trump is supporting her father does it become something quite close to criminal action, and it is the fact that she looks, acts and lives both the feminist dream AND the dream life of the urban elites that hate her father that drives both of these factions insane. Calling her his "alibi," his enabler (and his ambassador to the sane, who might otherwise shun him), Frank Bruni has it a hysterical high note, but there is nothing that new in the gist of the argument: Democrats calling Republicans brutes, and the women who vouch for them hostage/enablers is a very old story, and one that has gone on for some time.
George Bush 41 is now a beloved grandfather figure, but 25 years ago he was seen differently, at least by the Democrats, as a callous and ultra-conservative figure who needed the help of his wife. "The first lady's hard work on causes...has been justly praised, but it has also helped to fill the void of the Bush domestic policy with the theater of activism," ran a Vanity Fair profile of Barbara Bush in the 1992 cycle, saying she "offered herself as evidence of her husband's good intentions while going out of her way to disclaim any power at all to shape the policies that affect the lives—the squalid schools, the threadbare healthcare, the marginal services—of the unfortunates who people her photo ops."
The article added that advisers had tried over the years to say her compassion would "one day rub off on her husband," with no indication at all this was true. Twelve years later, the Baltimore Sun informed us, her daughter-in-law would try do the same thing for her son: "They hope her popularity and soothing tone will convince waverers that there is careful thought behind her husband's tough talk and compassion behind his decisions...her greatest value may lie not in what she says but in the message her campaign stops seem to telegraph...that anyone married to a woman this kind and nurturing...deserves to be president." This is called "innocence by association"; it's the card most politicians' family members try to play for them, and it's the card Chelsea and Hillary played to the hilt for President Bill Clinton when he was accused of nefarious and even illegal doings with women, insisting that any man trusted by women and feminists such as themselves just on the face of things had to be innocent. Who could you believe, them, or those bimbos and right-wing fanatics who would stop at nothing to damage the Democrats? The question should answer itself.
Meanwhile, the media think that Republican men are bellicose, callous or guilty of something, while women are thought to be natural Democrats, whose loyalty should be to their noble and put-upon feminist sisters, and not to their spouses, or kin. When it proves to be otherwise, it is put down to pressure, which makes one a victim; cowardice, which makes one pathetic; or opportunism, which makes one complicit, a charge which in itself presumes ill intentions, the presence of which is unproved.
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."