The headline in today’s NY Times: Clintons Made $109-Million in Last Eight Years
As Ross Perot used to say, don’t look now but that loud sucking sound you hear is the rush of air escaping from the balloon of Hillary’s populist campaign message. No wonder she hesitated so long to release her tax returns when pressed a few weeks ago in a debate. She knew they would mean the death knell of this part of her campaign strategy.
I don’t begrudge the Clintons their hundred million plus. It’s the American way after all. But it’s not the American way to try to steal a march on Obama by co-opting his populist message and trying to make the issue your own. Now Hillary’s efforts ring hollow and she simply can’t raise this issue again without looking like a hypocrite.
Populism doesn’t always help Democrats win elections. I remember Al Gore used it in his convention nominating speech and Bush hammered him pretty effectively afterward claiming he was waging a war against the rich. But I have no doubt that Obama would advance the argument in a much more effective and nuanced way than Gore. And McCain, darling of fat-cat corporate lobbyists is a sitting duck on populist issues. As of today there is only one Democratic candidate who can raise this issue without looking like a schmuck. And his name isn’t Clinton.