Monday, June 23, 2014

Hillary Clinton: Clueless, Dead Broke and Not Well Off

When Mitt Romney was caught on tape speaking dismissively of the 47% of American citizens who did not pay income taxes and presumably would be immune to his appeals for their vote, it's safe to say that that was a game changer, or at least one among many for his campaign. It locked in many people's perception that Mitt Romney was an out-of touch plutocrat with a disdain for the working class and the impoverished. Obviously this perception was fanned and fed by the Obama campaign and its surrogates supporters in the media who went out of their way to make sure everyone knew about the Romney quotes. That's politics after all. If you trip and fall into a ditch, know that your opponent will go out of his/her way to run over you with the bus. Strangely enough presumed 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seems to be going out of her way to make some of the same mistakes that Romney made. As she is not a declared candidate nor are we in a Presidential election year her gaffes may not have the same bite that Romney's did. Additionally, outside of a few extremely progressive/leftist circles she is not quite yet seen as relentlessly pro-plutocrat as Romney was. Romney looks like the caricature of the evil businessman who buys up a widget company, fires all of the semi-moral midlevel executives and then moves 90% of the manufacturing to slave labor camps in Sri Lanka, that is right after he gets a tax break for dumping mercury in ponds.

But just as a woman CEO at Duke energy shows that crony capitalism and ignoring of pollution costs is not something that is hindered by gender, perhaps Hillary Clinton's continued unforced error statements concerning her wealth will show us that gender doesn't prevent you from saying stupid things.
You would think that someone with a net worth (depending on whether you include her husband's or not) of anywhere from $21 to $100 million would recognize that no matter how they achieved it, they're doing very well compared to the vast majority of Americans.
Yet Clinton not only claimed that she was dead broke when she and Bill left the White House but recently went on to claim that despite what you might have heard, she and Bill are NOT truly well off. WTF?

Everyone always wants more. I get that. It's just human nature. The writer wonders if he could have been a musician. The actor daydreams about being a professional athlete. The musician decides that she wants to act. The fellow who pays tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for each classic car in his collection is jealous of the guy who takes a weekend flight to a Paris art auction to drop three million on some obscure Romantic painting. And so on. But there are still a few ground rules:
  • If you can pay your mortgage off with one're well off.
  • If you don't have a're well off.
  • If people overpay your daughter for a job she's unqualified for just to do you a're well off.
  • If you never have to choose which bill gets paid late this're well off.
  • If unexpected car repairs don't damage or destroy your're well off.
  • If creditors aren't leaving blood curdling threats on your're well off.
  • If you can send your daughter to Sidwell Friends School without any financial're well off.
  • If people pay you $200,000 to hear your verbal're well off.
  • If your net worth description has "million" anywhere in it... you're well off.
I did not vote for Hillary Clinton when she ran for President. I think it was a mistake for President Obama to bring her into his administration. I don't think Clinton has any real achievements or accomplishments during the Obama Administration. I think her continued gaffes around her wealth point to someone who has no reason to run for President other than personal aggrandizement. Clinton is quite cynically trying to cast herself as just "regular folks". This is nonsense. I do not believe that great wealth necessarily makes you moral or immoral. The same is true of poverty. Ironically Clinton's pattern of statements on this issue give credence to the idea that the only way to appeal to some Americans, in this case Democratic voters, is to pretend that, despite your great wealth, you're really not all that wealthy. In fact you're just like them. Well FDR was extremely wealthy. And so was Bobby Kennedy. They never ran from that. They succeeded in connecting not by downplaying their wealth but by emphasizing shared values and a political program, things that are so far absent from Clinton's public appearances. Maybe she will rectify that. Maybe she won't. But in any event let's not pretend that someone possessing Clinton's wealth is not well off. To paraphrase Michael Corleone, that insults my intelligence. And it makes me very angry...


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