In “Our Ruling Class,” Richard Fernandez explores how wealth and power have warped the worldviews of grandees such as John Kerry and his spot-on Thurston Howell impersonation, and now Chelsea Clinton. Regarding the latter figure, Richard writes:
…I read about Chelsea Clinton, who recently told Fast Company in an interview how she gritted her teeth and took on lucrative gigs before deciding to join her family’s philanthropic foundation because, “I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t.” She decided making money bored her after all and decided to pursue her true Clinton calling, which was telling people what to do.
In Chelsea the Clintons had finally become true aristocrats, finally left their Little Rock roots. Chelsea had joined that elite group which has had money for so long it bores them. She, as the British well knew of the upper classes, finally accepted her duty to rule, shouldered the burden and paid the sad price for a life cursed with luxury and privilege.
To real aristocrats, position is simply the way things have always been. In the movie The Aviator, the Howard Hughes character sits down to dinner with Old Money, and his hosts don’t even know where their money came from.
Ludlow: Then how did you make all that money?
Mrs. Hepburn: We don’t care about money here, Mr. Hughes.
Howard: That’s because you have it.
Mrs. Hepburn: Would you repeat that?
Howard: You don’t care about money because you have it. And you’ve always had it. My father was dirt poor when I was born…. I care about money, because I know what it takes out of a man to make it.
It is always rude to inquire where money comes from. Among real royalty it should simply be there. The recompense for the burden of aristocracy is privilege. Aristocrats must do their duty from grace; now could we please get out of the way?
That style worked for Franklin and Eleanor, and John and Jacqueline, but after Kennedy’s death, the Boomers, ironically aping his assassin’s Marxist worldview, began their all-out assault on wealth and privilege, even as they acquired mammoth amounts of wealth and privilege of their own. (See also: Al Gore and the Drawbridge Effect.) Thus Hillary is forced to speak from a sort of double-track position, tut-tutting the same wealth that’s necessary for a presidential bid. And Chelsea’s recent remarks, quoted above by Richard, haven’t helped these early days of her mother’s second go-around for the White House.
Nor does Hillary have much to show for her tenure at State, as Russia advances into Crimea, ISIS into Iraq, and the world actually looks far more unstable now than it did at at the end of 2008. (Fancy that.) And regrets? Well, at least according to Ed Klein and the London Daily Mail, Hillary has more than a few regarding that period of her life:
Klein describes Clinton’s Obama-bashing session as having taken place last May – two months after she vacated her position on Obama’s cabinet – at French restaurant Le Jardin du Roi, near the Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York.
‘ “Obama has turned into a joke,” she said sharply,’ according to Klein.
‘ “The IRS targeting the Tea Party, the Justice Department’s seizure of AP phone records and James Rosen’s emails — all these scandals. Obama’s allowed his hatred for his enemies to screw him the way Nixon did,” ‘ Clinton reportedly told her pals.
‘She went on to explain that Bill was a natural leader and great executive, unlike Obama, who was in her words “incompetent and feckless,” ‘ Klein writes.
At another point in the conversation Hillary is quoted as having said of Obama, ‘you can’t trust the motherf***er.
” ‘Obama has treated Bill and me incredibly shabbily. And we’re angry,’ ” Clinton continued.
Clinton allegedly told her friends that she and Bill promised Obama they would help him him get reelected in 2012 if he helped Hillary get elected in 2016.
‘He agreed to the arrangement but then he reneged on the deal. His word isn’t worth sh*t,’ Hillary said.
‘The bad blood between us is just too much to overcome.’
But that bad blood was awfully transparent during the slugfest between the two candidates in 2007 and 2008, particularly in the Obama campaign and its surrogates in the media accusing Bill and Hillary of racism. So why accept a job offer to serve in the Obama administration?
What if Hillary hadn’t chosen to become secretary of State under Obama, and used that period to speak out on the excesses of his administration?(What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub?) She had to know that however zany the Beatlemania-level of Peak Hopenchange, it wasn’t sustainable, and that his administration would ultimately follow the arc of the vast majority of presidential terms in office: a sweet honeymoon followed by a long and bitter hangover. She could have been speaking out on his mistakes and errors, and reminding voters that a more experienced person was waiting in the wings in 2012 or 2016. (I know, I know, but after all, this is how she presented herself in 2008.)
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bill Clinton was an astute enough politician to chart what he called a “Third Way” between the punitive excesses of radical chic, anti-growth McGovern era Democrats, and how the media portrayed Reaganomics. When Democrats talked George H.W. Bush into raising taxes and thus causing the mild recession of 1990, Clinton — with an enormous assist from Ross Perot — was perfectly positioned for a White House run.
Had Hillary been as astute as her husband was, when the media and the far left swooned over Occupy Wall Street and its punitive attacks on wealth creation and basic laws of hygiene, she could have had a Sister Souljah moment of her own, reminding them that the economy was still flat-lined under Obama, unlike during Bill’s era — and would also thus have been able to much more successfully punch back against the attacks on her own wealth today.
But all that being said — even with her tenure at State, she’s had almost six years to prepare for a White House run. She — and Bill, and their advisors — had to know that questions about her age and wealth would pop up somewhere — if only during a trip to speak with those pesky journalists at Fox or the Wall Street Journal or an impudent local journalist who doesn’t know his place as a low-level Democrat operative with a byline.
Update: At Big Journalism, John Nolte explores how Hillary Clinton went from the populist in the 2008 Democrat primaries against radical elitist Obama to, in the left’s eyes, the second coming of Marie Antoinette, noting that “The mainstream media want Elizabeth Warren to run, which is why they are giving Hillary such a hard time. For now at least, the media have turned against Hillary in the same way they did Romney. It was more intense and dishonest with Romney, but the media’s goal is the same: prep the battlefield to put a hardcore Statist in office.”
If Hillary Clinton — about whom after all Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism was originally written as a rebuttal — isn’t enough of a statist for the MSM, they might want to check their premises (to coin a phrase), and stat.
Related: “Paging Elizabeth Warren: This is your moment.”