Hillary Unbound

In the current political jungle, Hillary Clinton is a lioness gnawing on the carcass of speculation, while hidden in the surrounding shadows, lesser predators lie in wait for their own chance to feed their egos.

Hillary is prowling the country for support. Perhaps she anticipates that some bolt from the blue party will settle the conundrum of her candidacy. But if, as some insist, she isn’t yet running for president, most would agree that her mouth is -- and in overdrive.   

Generally speaking, Hillary is the oratorical queen of the banal. She has yet to come forth with any memorable statement, and many regrettable ones.  In an address at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, her theme was the importance of an affordable higher education -- a novel idea if there ever was one!  But original or otherwise, Hillary Clinton is always well rewarded for showing up and sounding off. In the case of UNLV, her stipend was $225,000. I wonder how many college educations   that hefty honorarium could fund for financially-strapped, deserving young students.

When it suits her purpose -- and most everything does -- the aging blonde lioness has little problem slipping into the role of philosophical chameleon, telling her hand-picked audiences whatever she thinks they want to hear.  Her first priority, it would seem, is to attach supporters firmly to her cause. Detaching herself later from the ersatz rhetoric that hooked them is something she likely figures she can handle down the line. All criticism, after all, can be interpreted as a personal vendetta, or as having been purposely taken “out of context.” If necessary, critics can be dismissed entirely with another stern, “What difference does it make?” 

Fortified by such hubris, the former secretary of state sets her own rules for the game she is playing, without much objection from fellow Democrats.  They may be grumbling in private, but neither the mainstream media nor other liberals bother to challenge anything Ms. Clinton says. After all, she will be the Democratic nominee, barring an unlikely surprise. Perhaps settled high above the clouds in his private Air Force jet, or in one of his wife’s many mansions, Secretary of State John Kerry silently seethes over Hillary’s presumptions, but says nothing. He needs to husband his energy for diplomatic efforts. But If and when the time comes for him to personally benefit from Hillary’s missteps, he will speak out. Kerry may seem at times like a foolish figure, but he is no fool. He wants the prize of the presidency as much as Hillary does. He’s wanted it for years. And both he and his predecessor are growing old.        

In the interim, Mrs. Clinton prattles on unperturbed. Rarely in her political life has she had to pay a price for her shortfalls or misrepresentations. So why worry now?    When Bill messed around with “that woman, Ms Lewinsky” Hillary made the rounds of the network Sunday morning shows, blaming the trumped-up accusations  against her husband on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” And even though President Clinton was censured, look at him now? He’s arguably the most popular Democrat alive. Nothing sticks to the Teflon kid -- except Hillary!

Mrs. Clinton’s latest off-the-wall observation was that corporations and businesses do not create jobs. Actually what she said was, “Don’t let anyone tell you” that they do. Of course, anyone can tell you anything. The point is for you not to believe what they say. But never mind. Hillary appears to struggle as much with language as she does with logic. Her doting constituents know what she means, though, and they believe her. Judging from the entitled manner in which she delivers her lines, Hillary is as presumptive of her importance as the Queen of England -- without the hat. The most ordinary of words escape her lips like golden nuggets tossed to a hungry crowd. 

The truth, of course, is that corporations and businesses do create jobs in a market economy. Just ask the millions of Americans who are employed, directly or indirectly, by them.  Hillary should know this from the six years she sat on the board of directors of what is likely America’s largest corporation, Walmart. During that period, the company conducted its anti-union campaign, yet Hillary was recorded as telling stockholders, “I’m always proud of Walmart and what we (we!) do and the way we do it better than anybody else.” She has since changed her opinion of Walmart. But she cannot alter the fact that it employs over 2 million workers. That’s the same as 2 million jobs, isn’t it?

But don’t let anybody tell you that, right? And don’t let anybody dare to tell you that trickle-down economics -- whatever that is --  works, because it just doesn’t,  any more than those 2 million Walmart employees work and get paychecks from corporations and businesses.

For someone who thinks these entities are evil, Hillary Clinton is eager enough to accept their donations. On the stump, she may blast away at the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, but her campaign is being fueled by corporate largesse.

Hillary is at her happiest playing to the base of her party, those with the least basic knowledge of how the process works, and who do not know enough to question what she says. They could not possibly suspect that their champion receives enormous financial support from corporations, including the banks she professes to despise for their cheating, greedy ways. Much of the money is funneled to her non-campaign through so-called non-profits, which no doubt had little trouble getting certified by the IRS. 

To be fair, Hillary did get some flak from her remarks discounting the importance of business and industry in creating jobs. And her Wall Street banker buddies were a bit miffed by the put-down of financial institutions. So at a later stop in New York, she amended her rant by saying, “Our economy grows when business and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in America.” Whatever it takes.

Nevertheless, Hillary’s salvo against “that old theory, trickle down economics” stands.  Perhaps she is more personally partial to a “treacle-down” principle, relying on an overly-sweet and cloying manner toward those whose support she seeks.  That’s her persona on the hustings, anyway. In the political jungle, however, beware of crossing paths with the queen of beasts.