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Hillary, do we hardly know thee?

April 13, 2015

OK, is anyone buying the image of Hillary Clinton as America’s wise and kindly matriarch? As a middle class wife and mother? How about being flat broke and having to start over from the bottom in 2001?

It’s hard to understand why her campaign team thinks that’s going to sell, given that Mrs. Clinton is arguably one of the most ambitious and determined politicians in the country.

All of those lovely people in her YouTube campaign announcement might strike a note of familiarity with voters, but none of them are really Hillary Clinton.

Her entire adult life has been spent rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful. That isn’t an accident. Her major at Wellesley was political science. Her career path was clear from the beginning.

As the First Lady of Arkansas for twelve years and the First Lady of the United States for eight, a spreadsheet of all of her connections and their connections would probably take a good-sized hard drive to store.

She doesn’t particularly advertise the fact that as First Lady of Arkansas she served  on the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart, the corporation every union loves to hate. She didn’t get there from the ranks of the employees.

So, does the idea of selling her as someone whose only goal is to support and enrich the lives of middle class families living on whatever the government leaves them out of a $35-100K annual income ring hollow?

As a matter of political reality, no modern  progressive political party wants too many people in the middle class.  They get voters from the ranks of the poor and big-money donors from the top 5%. The day-to-day operating expenses do come from the middle class however, so they can’t leave them completely out of the picture.

The trick is to convince them that you can move more people into middle-class comfort, if only they will put you into a position to offer more free things, like college tuition or citizenship.

Given that middle class incomes are reported to have been declining steadily for the past fifteen years, while social re-engineering spending has increased, that’s kind of a hard sell.

If voters don’t pay much attention to most anything political at this stage, and most of them don’t, they do want there to be at least some area where they can genuinely identify with a candidate.

One of the reasons Scott Walker touched a nerve in Iowa is that when he claims to have been just another working stiff, it’s because he actually was one, first for IBM and then for the American Red Cross. People can identify with putting needing to support a family above a sheepskin.

Whether you love or hate Barack Obama, he has at least done exactly what he said he would do when he was a candidate. He was an uncompromising hard left liberal when he ran, and he remains one to this day. People on both sides of the political spectrum  took him seriously when he said his goal was to fundamentally change America, because they sensed it was the truth.

Mrs. Clinton didn’t inspire that same sense of national focus in 2008, and she still doesn’t.

Hillary Clinton is what she is…a completely focused professional politician whose goal is to be President and who is facing her last chance of attaining that goal. She’s going to say and do whatever it takes to get there this time.

She and her team are developing their strategy based on the old adage, “it’s the economy stupid” because it’s politically expedient to do so, not because they self-identify with the middle class. That’s the package her team thinks will sell, not the policy under which they plan to govern.

Make no mistake. Mrs. Clinton is running to be the first female President. Everything else is just window dressing.

From → op-ed

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