Far be it from me to suggest that speaking about politics in public is not a marketable skill. It is, and it’s one of the wares I happen to sell. I also drive myself around town in a beat-up stick-shift sedan, so I’m not exactly in this league:
The Clinton Foundation will disclose this week a list of nearly 100 paid speeches given by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton dating to 2002 for which the foundation accepted the fees, officials at the charity said Monday, providing a window into another source of revenue for a family philanthropy whose fundraising practices have cast a shadow over Mrs. Clinton’s young presidential campaign.
On Friday, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign released her personal financial disclosure form for 2014 through the present, which reported that she and her husband had earned $25 million delivering paid speeches. Not included on that disclosure were payments for at least five speeches that Mrs. Clinton directed to her family’s foundation.
When it comes to evaluating Hillary Clinton’s relationship with money, there are two things that will cause her trouble with voters. The first is the scale. There is a great deal of doubt about whether a person, who’s not exactly relatable to begin with, who has not the natural talent of her husband for connecting with people, and who has been living a life behind the tinted windows of a chauffered town car for some 25 years being shuttled from $100K speech to $100K speech can connect with so-called everyday Americans. Liberals will argue there is no Mitt Romney problem here. Sure, Hillary is awkward and super-rich, but she advocates for the “right” policies, which would soak the rich with taxes she would no doubt continue to avoid, so she’s gonna be a-okay. To some extent they’re right because the media is more likely to cover for Hillary’s painfully awkward uber-rich separation from the ordinary American existence than they were for Mitt’s because they are ideologically predisposed to enjoy her rich-soaking plans (which, again, she will pay high-powered lawyers and accountants to avoid because rules are not for Clintons).
The second is slime. The Clinton political machine, the probably pilfered horse they rode in on, is slimy to the core. It’s so slimy and been so slimy for so long that there’s some doubt as to whether voters will even care that it’s the epitome of slime. But here’s the thing. Mitt Romney, despite being a pretty honest and upstanding guy, embodied a bad feeling Americans have about corporate culture gaming the system and taking advantage of Americans.
Hillary Clinton is the other side of that coin. She embodies a bad feeling Americans have about the culture of the political elite gaming the system and taking advantage of Americans. These two aversions—to elite corporate and political culture—are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s about the only thing you can get an Occupier and a Tea Partier to agree on—that these two forces colluding are pretty bad news for America and its regular people. The two groups have totally different remedies, but they agree on a general ickiness of both high-powered corporate entities and high-powered political entities getting away with a bunch of stuff they shouldn’t.
If Mitt Romney, often undeservedly, was successfully presented as the picture of the corporate side of that equation, Hillary can be with much more accuracy be presented as the picture of the political side. If he was the monocle, she’s the martini. And, they’re all boozing and guffawing together in some backroom to fleece the rest of us in the mind of the American voter.
Which, again, the media would be more happy to softpedal for her than it was for Romney. But one wonders how willing they’ll be when she’s not even throwing them a bone. I mean, even Alex Wagner’s show is cracking.
The Washington Post offers one of the best ever political uses of the countdown clock, far better than the one that counts down on MSNBC to the State of the Union address.
Monday marked another day and another dodge for Hillary Clinton, who is increasingly coming under attack for not answering questions on the campaign trail.
The numbers are in dispute, but the rough estimate is that Clinton has only fielded 13 questions from the press during the first 37 days of her official candidacy for the White House.
During a swing through northern Iowa on Monday, she again sidestepped the national press at the Mason City home of Dean Genth and Gary Swenson, backers of then-senator Barack Obama in 2008. She largely stuck to outlining the pillars of her campaign, including campaign finance reform, and took no questions from reporters during or after the event.
At what point does the coverage of her not talking get worse than if she talked? Having heard Hillary Clinton take questions, it may be a while. But being silent won’t help her neutralize the scale or the slime of her problems.