Say what you will about Hillary Clinton, but she certainly doesn’t lack for entertainment value. This was supposed to be a big week for her, with the release of her ghostwritten book about her tenure as Secretary of State – a book even Hillary fans are apparently having a tough time staying awake through, to judge from the reviews. The excitement comes from Hillary talking about the book.
In a conversation with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Hillary brought tears of laughter to America by whining about how she “struggled” to make ends meet after Bill left office:
“We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Clinton told Sawyer, referring to the hefty legal fees incurred during their White House years. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.”
She added, “Bill has worked really hard — and it’s been amazing to me — he’s worked very hard. First of all, we had to pay off all our debts, which was, you know, he had to make double the money because of obviously taxes and then pay off the debts and get us houses and take care of family members.”
Some have tried to over-analyze this statement, wondering if she actually believes her phony campaign narrative about her life being an endless parade of “Hard Choices,” as her book is entitled. I wouldn’t get too carried away with the psychoanalysis. This was a heavy-handed pander to the crucial Democrat woman voter, delivered with the plonking humorless lack of self-awareness that people like Hillary Clinton mistake for “sincerity.” (Bill Clinton, on the other hand, knows how to fake sincerity with grace and humor, and without leaving either critics or supporters wondering if he actually believes what he’s selling.) If the modern American political scene was rendered as an episode of “Mad Men,” Bill would be an unreformed Season One Don Draper, and Hillary would be Lou Avery.
Don’t tell me you can’t see the resemblance.
Hillary has supreme confidence that she can dump her talking points with all the grace of a discount appliance store delivering a scratch-and-dent refrigerator, because the media will never challenger her on any of it, and will in fact be more inclined to attack anyone who challenges her. You’ll be accused of insufficient sensitivity to the plight of working mothers if you dare ask how much income Hillary had to scrape by on in 2001. “Journalists” are unlikely to call her out on the spot, or even notice something like the way she said “houses,” plural. (One reason she was “struggling” to pay the mortgages is that the Clintons own two multi-million-dollar estates, one of which was purchased so that Hillary could carpetbag her way into the Senate.) And God forbid any “journalist” should venture that maybe the Clintons would have less in the way of “hefty legal fees” to pay off if Bill had avoided committing adultery and perjury in the White House.
While the mainstream media seemed content to let Hillary’s account of her “struggle” pass without comment, the Internet was promptly filled with those who recalled the enormous sums of money flowing into the Clintons’ pockets as they departed the White House. Among other observations chronicled at Twitchy, Bill’s hefty presidential pension was nothing to sneeze at, Hillary’s Senate salary ran into six figures as well, their houses are worth north of $12 million combined, they were already pulling in big money for speaking engagements, and their adjusted gross income for 2001 was almost $16 million. If Clinton’s words are taken at face value, she’s claiming she and Bill managed to go broke despite an income hundreds of times higher than the average voter, plus the incredible benefits enjoyed by high-level officials. That’s not exactly encouraging, coming from someone who wants to manage the U.S. Treasury.
The Daily Caller observes that the “hefty legal fees” Hillary referred to were fully paid off by 2004, leaving the couple with millions in the bank. When middle-class families talk about a crushing debt burden, they’re not talking about something that will be paid off in three years, without really compromising their lifestyle along the way – a lifestyle that doesn’t include multiple mansions.
It’s always rich to hear any Democrat complain about paying their tax bill, as Hillary did here – something she probably threw in because, in the back of her mind, she worried that the subject of her post-White House income level might come up.
It would have been fair enough for Hillary to say that she and Bill left the White House with some big debts to pay, but claiming they were “dead broke” is laughable, and talking about “struggles” is an insult to people who actually do struggle to make ends meet. But of course, the magic lens of Democrat ideology will cleanse the insult from Hillary’s remarks. The really interesting thing about these comments is that she might not be foolish to make them. Democrat identity politics are all about checking off boxes and saying magic words. The Democrat base is extremely comfortable with listening to its leaders rail against “income inequality” while living lives of fabulous luxury, financed by millions of dollars in aristocratic graft. (Hillary even had the nerve to claim, in her ABC interview, that her ridiculous speaking fees are a more honorable way to rake in cash than the tribute paid to other politicians, because “I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company, as so many people who leave public life do.”)
So all she needs to do is drop the right sound bites about struggling and how tough it is to raise a family, without worrying too much about how the actual reality of her life matches up to the rhetoric.