The many ways in which Clinton’s populism rings untrue

“Immunity? Like with a shot or something?”

Hillary Clinton

The New York Times has a piece today about exactly how long Hillary Clinton has been a populist on economic issues. This is an interesting issue that has Clinton in a tight spot. On the one hand, she wants voters to associate her positively with the good economic times of her husband’s presidency. On the other hand, she faces significant pressure from the ascendant left wing of the Democratic Party, which repudiates a number of policies from that era: free-trade deals such as NAFTA, a reduction of the tax rate on capital gains, a top income-tax rate that stopped shy of 40 percent, repeal of the Glass-Steagall restrictions on banks’ investment activities, etc.

But the real heart of the matter didn’t come until the final four paragraphs of the story:

“In a meeting with economists this year, Mrs. Clinton intensely studied a chart that showed income inequality in the United States. The graph charted how real wages, adjusted for inflation, had increased exponentially for the wealthiest Americans, making the bar so steep it hardly fit on the chart.

“Mrs. Clinton pointed at the top category and said the economy required a ‘toppling’ of the wealthiest 1 percent, according to several people who were briefed on Mrs. Clinton’s policy discussions but could not discuss private conversations for attribution.

“Still, Mrs. Clinton will pitch that ‘toppling’ with a very different style than (Sen. Elizabeth) Warren, a bankruptcy expert whose populist message has been laser-focused on holding Wall Street accountable. Mrs. Clinton will present proposals for changes in the tax code as a way of also investing in education, infrastructure and communities.

“Mrs. Clinton ‘wakes up asking how she can accomplish real things for families, not who she can attack,’ said Gene B. Sperling, an economic adviser in the Clinton and Obama administrations. He added, ‘When she shows that fighting populist edge, it is for a purpose.'”

First of all, there’s that word “toppling.” In the context of populism, “toppling” has a particular connotation that goes well beyond academic debates about the proper level of the top marginal tax rate and how to spend any increased revenues. If that word makes an appearance from Clinton or her campaign beyond this particular article, we could rightly interpret that as more than your average populist pander. There’s a darker undertone to that kind of talk that ought to be alarming to more than just the Republicans of left-wing caricature.

Second, it takes a significant amount of chutzpah for someone who has been accepting six-figure speaking fees from public colleges — whose graduates, in many cases, have five- and six-figure levels of student-loan debt — to pit “the rich” against “investing in education.” Clinton (and, of course, her husband) make about as much for each paid speech they give as “the rich” make in a year according to the populism of Barack Obama.

Finally, if you actually believe that line of Sperling’s — that she (or any politician, for that matter) “wakes up asking how she can accomplish real things for families” — then you, dear voter, need to be reminded of a bit of wisdom from the game of poker:

If you can’t figure out who is the “mark” at the table, chances are you’re it.

Oh, there’s “a purpose,” all right, for that “fighting populist edge” Team Clinton is at pains to make sure you notice.

Reader Comments 0

73 comments
TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

It comes down to Hilary vs (insert current Repug here) and unless new choices emerge none of these semantics matter.

notagain
notagain

Bargain of the year.Elect Hillary and get Bill.

EdUktr
EdUktr

The Hildebeest. She simply ignores laws Obama would rewrite.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of hypocrisy and deceit, an ideal opponent for ANY Republican candidate or Democrat challenger. The only question is whether or not there are enough people who care.

PudHead
PudHead

I can’t believe that anybody with half a brain would vote for Hitlery. She has proven that she lies constantly, well like most politicians, but she even breaks laws, yet nothing ever happens, why? People die and her answer is “What difference does it make now” I bet the families of the dead think differently. But her lack of care that her decisions caused deaths should concern everyone.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Kyle,

You might have saved yourself the effort of a column here and simply asked the leftists, in which way does Mrs. Mendacity's populism ring true? 

I think there is much more to be said for Clinton wringing the nation as well as her enemies as best she could.  The problem with Clinton's campaign is that from day one, she will be unable to say what she is for, hence the interminable listening campaign. 

JKLtwo
JKLtwo

$186/second to speak but can't find any change to tip the lady at Chipotle.  Sounds about right for a liberal.


MarkVV
MarkVV

“She has failed at most everything she has ever done,…”


I hope the conservatives will continue with this disparagement of Mrs. Clinton’ accomplishments. That will make them very popular among women voters.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

That's all the "toppling" is for Kyle: show.

Mrs. Mendacity, if elected would continue the populist-harming politics and policies of our anti-American president, and all the while claiming that MORE redistributionist policies (like obama) are absolutely necessary to prevent even worse income inequality.  Well, the truth is not hard to find. 

http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat01.htm

Thanks to the policies of one Barack Hussein Obama and thanks to his signature legislation, the US economy is producing, above all else a surpluss workforce of 2 million people per year, that is the "NOT IN WORKFORCE" category has grown, under Obama, almost as fast as the national debt.  We had 79 million NOT WORKING at his inaguration.  We now have 92 million. 

I don't think that asking Iowans and Granite Staters what they want out of government is even going to begin to scratch the surface of problems that Mrs. Mendacity will have dealing with questions of economy--questions her predecessor has shrugged off for too long.  She's not going to be able to aw-shucks her way past all of it. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Yes_Jesus_Can 

Thanks to the policies of President Obama, US is in better economic shape than other developing countries recovering from the recession, which President inherited from the disastrous preceding Republican administration.

lvg
lvg

Good article - Hillary has more baggage than a fully loaded 747 and people in the media will slowly unpack each piece as Kyle is doing.  However she has a resume that cannot be matched by any other woman in the US.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@lvg 

She is a far bigger liar than anyone who ever ran for President. 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@lvg When people keep throwing bags that aren't even hers, it kinda enlightens those who see things without a partisan lens. 


straker
straker

Rafe - "any reason whatsoever to vote for her other than she is not a Republican"


Considering the dismal state your beloved Republican Party is now in, I'd say that's a good enough reason.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@straker 

Dismal State?  Half a dozen young governors ready and able to lead a nation, young, newly elected senators and leaders in the House? 

I agree John Boehner and the old guard are emaciated husks of human beings and are inchoate flotsam in the scheme of things, but goodness, the democrats can't boast anything like that. 

Best they can do is terrorize Tea Partyers with Stasi-like street-thug tactics. 

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417207/politicized-prosecution-run-amok-wisconsin-rich-lowry

If Republicans were to pull gestapo tactics like this, the media would convulse, die, ressurect itself and claim a miracle. 

sssinff
sssinff

@Yes_Jesus_Can


Half a dozen, Who?? Jindal? Walker? They'd have to win an election before they could lead the nation. Young governors are nice....but the average age of the GOP base is still 85 years old. The country is trending younger and browner. Good luck winning a national election with those numbers!

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

31 comments and nothing from the proggies indicating any reason whatsoever to vote for her other than she is not a Republican.  Dems vote for Dems and their reasons are that  Republicans are worse anyway.  What a country, 350 Million people and the Dems can only find one person to run on their ticket.  No one it seems wants to have to pick up after the failed mess created by Barry/Hillary.  


She has failed at most everything she has ever done, Hillarycare, 2000 election, Sec of State, and she couldn't even survive a book tour through an adoring lapdog media. She apparently couldn't even find a job as a lawyer, until Bill became the AK attorney general and pulled some strings.  She didn't make partner at the Rose Law Firm until Bill became governor, another coincidence I'm sure.  The Clintons and their strings, whodda thunk it.  She couldn't manage to put two email accounts on one device, she has nothing to offer this country.  


Oh, someone will cite her Senate victory.  Getting elected as a Democrat in New York, quite a feat.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@RafeHollister 

There must be a whole lot of arm-twisting going on behind the scenes for the democrat field to be so...aging and literally dead. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister 

After the economic success of President Obama and the Democrats’ success of the reform of the healthcare system it might be a tough task for someone to follow up, but Mrs. Clinton might be the best one to do it.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@RafeHollister 

nothing from the proggies indicating any reason

had one been requested by our blog host?

What a country, 350 Million people and the Dems can only find one person to run on their ticket.

Believe that if you like. I suspect there will be actual primaries and debates. And as I've posted elsewhere, I'm willing to hear Martin O'Malley out and will consider voting for him should he be on the primary ballot in 2016.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

As a Democrat, I'll say there is a lot of truth to this. Obama has been quite successful, and that is all I can really quibble with. Factually, we have improved in nearly every facet economically since he was elected, and our foreign policy is better and more effective even if it is ugly at times.

I don't like her, and a lot of other Democrats don't either which is why she lost in 2008. She's a baby boomer Democrat which is basically a Republican. I don't want the 90s area republican fiscal policy of Bill and I don't want her shoot first foreign policy. She's not a cool granny. Shes a war mongering elitist who I don't really think even cares about the social issues on which we have made so much progress (gay rights, ending the war on drugs, etc)

Her time and era has passed. We need someone younger and more progressive. More Obama and less Bill Clinton...

sssinff
sssinff

@RafeHollister


"any reason whatsoever to vote for her other than she is not a Republican."


What other reason do I need?

straker
straker

Yes-Jesus - "I want to listen to you"


That's vastly better than your Republican idol candidates who only ask their Big Business sponsors "what more can I do for you".


As for the rest of us, your candidates say "go away, little people".

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Even John Stewart is disgusted with these lap-dog media types fawning affectionately over our soon-to-be septugenarian democrat candidate. 

I'm disgusted with her vaccuous campaign kick-off.  "I want to listen to you."  What is that? 

Does she not have anything to say, to contribute, to offer, ideas?  Anything besides, it's my turn!! ?

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

"ascendant left wing of the Democratic Party"


Good description.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Finn-McCool 

...within the fading democrat party.  It's really difficult to see Obama helping anyone get elected whose name is not Barack Obama. 

Nationally, thanks in part to him, the Republican party is ascendent. 

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@Yes_Jesus_Can @Finn-McCool ..within the fading democrat party. 


LOL..you better check those numbers.


Democrats make up a much larger part of the electorate as the GOP tent has gotten smaller and smaller.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

I'm already ready for an election in November 2016 to be over... I wish we would make the cycle 3 months long. Everyone pretty much knows who they are voting for anyway.

Alas, we have 18 months of bashing articles and angry attack ads from both sides. Yipee!

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

GREAT choice of pic, Kyle!  Love it. 

Hillary is so wooden and yet so beloved by the media, its possible that Clinton, whom I like to call, Mrs. Mendacity, could take down each other this election season. 

Just FYI,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB4oPPfFJbU

Claver
Claver

You are, of course, correct that a lot of people on the left wing of the Democratic Party don't care for some of the Bill Clinton era policies.  But, that would only matter if there was going to be a bona fide primary on the Democratic side, which still seems very unlikely.  In the general election they will all come on board because they will fear the Republic alternative 100 times more.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@Claver In the general election they will all come on board because they will fear the Republic alternative 100 times more.


And for good reason. Remember how the last Republican administration ended ?


And you guys might run another Bush as well.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Agree that "toppling" is a bad way to phrase it. 


Agree that making a lot of money is a requirement of running a presidential campaign. 

Don't see how Republicans are much of an improvement on that part of it. 

straker
straker

"any politician....can accomplish real things for families"


And, that is why, come voting time, "none of the above" may seem an attractive option.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Also, about this:

it takes a significant amount of chutzpah for someone who has been accepting six-figure speaking fees from public colleges — whose graduates, in many cases, have five- and six-figure levels of student-loan debt — to pit “the rich” against “investing in education.” Clinton (and, of course, her husband) make about as much foreach paid speech they give as “the rich” make in a year according to the populism of Barack Obama.

Who, exactly, is pitting the rich against investing in education?

Also, who is saying that people shouldn't (generally) be paid as much as the marketplace will bear? You want to pay a hedge fund guy or a media conglomerate CEO tons of money? fine... just tax the heck out of it. Pretty sure that's the hoped-for outcome among those crazy lefties with whose company I keep, although I guess some have floated notions of tying top CEO pay to a certain multiple of the worst-paid grunt. 

But last I checked, that's not the law of the land (or of the Clintons'.)

And seriously, Kyle--bunny ear quotes around "the rich"? Really?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Visual_Cortex "And seriously, Kyle--bunny ear quotes around "the rich"? Really?"

I've been doing that for years.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Visual_Cortex Well, I don't consider a married couple in NYC or San Francisco or any number of expensive places to live "rich." Nor does one year's salary alone make one "rich." Yet, the Obama/Democratic definition of rich includes those people. Thus, the scare quotes.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar "Most places" don't have very many people making that kind of money. Which makes ignoring the cost of living in the places that do have more of those earners even more problematic. Thus, "the rich."