Hillary hurts Hillary
Former secretary of state struggles to hide wealth, relate to the middle class
Convince me Hillary Clinton really is an everyday American.
That is exactly what the former secretary of state has been trying to do over the last year. And, so far, it is not going so great.
In the first Democratic presidential candidate’s launch video, Clinton did her best to keep the focus away from herself. At the end of the clip — the first time you see the former first lady — she said, “It’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,” Clinton said. “But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.”
Sure, those are great buzzwords and catchy one-liners, but that is all they are. Those at the top? When I think about “those at the top,” the Clinton dynasty is pretty high on that list.
Of course, we have to remember Clinton and her husband apparently left the White House with not even a penny in their pockets. But wait, in 2001, a year after leaving office, Clinton received a $2.8 million book advance for her memoir “Living History” and the former president earned $9.2 million in speaking fees, according to the New York Times.
I have no problem with those on the wealthy list. But Clinton — trying to fit the party narrative — is doing her best to make sure voters forget how deep her pockets really are. Again, so far, it is not going so great.
To date, her entire campaign is an intricately crafted narrative attempting to persuade the American people that a new, relatable — non-filthy-rich — Clinton is running for president.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a more contrived-appearing campaign ever,” Forbes columnist Rick Ungar said this weekend on an MSNBC panel. “It’s just been horrible.”
Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart called Clinton’s launch video a “State Farm commercial gone viral” that was not exactly a “bombshell.”
And the road remained rocky once the campaign started its trip from New York to Iowa in what Clinton referred to as a “Scooby Doo van.” The vehicle seems to be something of a Ritz-Carlton on wheels.
“It was, as it turned out, a Secret Service van, outfitted with a 29-inch flat-screen TV, a Blu-ray player, heated leather seats and a full-size bed that appears at the touch of a button,” Washington Times columnist Joseph Curl wrote.
In addition, the plastic candidate hosted what she branded an “impromptu” coffee roundtable. That sounds nice, but it was anything but unplanned.
According to Curl, many of those who attended the “intimate roundtable” were Democratic donors and government officials, and Team Clinton vetted every one of them, forcing the attenders to sign release forms and banning them from having their cellphones with them.
Traveling in a five-star caravan, a far cry from “Scooby Doo,” grabbing Chipotle in sunglasses and avoiding people while surrounded by her entourage, Clinton is doing anything but erase the line that divides her and the everyday American.
The problem for Clinton is that she has spent nearly three decades at the top of the political game — first lady, senator and secretary of state — and has very few accomplishments but a lot of money. But, as the politician once said, “What difference does it make?”
It makes a huge difference. Clinton is a somebody (with a lot of political baggage) campaigning as a nobody. I suppose she assumes if she can avoid all the press, stay away from real everyday Americans and make voters forget about her wealth and notoriety, she can squeak her way into getting the Democratic nomination.
So, no, I am not convinced Clinton is an everyday American.
Goins-Phillips is the opinion editor.