One Percenters as Populist Poseurs
How then do the Clintons pass as populists, given their exorbitant speaking fees — Bill has probably raked in more post-presidential money than all prior U.S. presidents of the last half-century combined — their mansions, and their elaborate one-percent lifestyles? Was $30 million in book advances over the years for the two of them not enough for progressive populists?
Hillary protested that despite a past multimillion-dollar book advance for her, and multimillion-dollar speaking fees lined up for Bill, they left the presidency “broke” in 2001. When that trope did not work, Hillary turned to the now well-known theory of medieval exemption: they could not possibly be greedy (in the sense of ignoring the Obama rule that a multimillionaire must know when not to profit and at what point she has already made enough money), because they were lifelong liberals who had worked their tails off for social justice.
Like John Kerry (the advocate of higher taxes who avoided them on his yacht, like Al Gore (the proponent of green energy who likes private jets and big SUVs, and like Tom Steyer (whose green cash donations are predicated on cashing in on sooty coal development in third-world countries), the Clintons see no contradiction in charging outrageous rates for speaking and living quite well — while being for “fairness.”
Indeed, under the protocols of contemporary progressivism, in the abstract being loudly for equality means in the concrete having a lot more things than most anyone else. Modern liberalism has descended into the art of rich people blaming the lower middle class for not being generous enough with money they don’t have.
In such a strange world, Chelsea, Hillary assures us, is not so interested in profit-mongering and all such distasteful money-grubbing, but does tolerate a ten-million-dollar New York tony apartment (replete with Italian marble baths), and sort of puts up with a multi-thousand-dollar an hour nepotistic TV contract.
She is even willing to stomach her multimillionaire parents crafting all sorts of family trusts to avoid inheritance taxes so that she will have enough millions not to worry about having to make millions to support a lifestyle she doesn’t much like. Keep all that in mind as Hillary drops her g’s and adopts a black patois when addressing African-Americans, and, to paraphrase Barack Obama, then again becomes Annie Oakley when shooting rifles with the clingers.
What a strange couple the Clintons became: the feminist president who was a serial groper and ace harasser; the feminist secretary of State who chortled in recall about an old sexual battery case in which she got a rapist off easy, and whose advisors reduced Bill’s liaisons to trailer trash or nuts; the two populists who cashed in; the middle-class defenders who fawned over Wall Street; and on and on.
The second problem with Hillary’s candidacy is Obama. In 2009, the betting was close on whether her secretary of State (she had no particular foreign affairs experience prior to her appointment) billet was a deft Obama move (keep your enemies closer than your friends) or a Clintonian wise political gambit (keep in the limelight for 2016).
The problem is that her four years as secretary of State coincided with a collapse of U.S. foreign policy unseen since 1979-80. In a fair world, Hillary would be judged as the worst secretary of State since Cyrus Vance. Most of the disasters — Benghazi, the chaos in Libya, the failed reset with Russia, the bogus Syrian red lines, the phony Iranian deadlines to stop enrichment, the yanking of all peacekeepers out of Iraq that led to the ISIS ascendance, the surge and simultaneous withdrawal dates in Afghanistan, the disastrous Middle East pressures that have led to the eve of war, the flip-flop-flip in Egypt, the clumsy spying on allies, the lying about and jailing of a video maker, and on and on — came on her watch.