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Hillary’s plan to build a white working class coalition: “Screw ‘em”

By Griffin · April 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment

I don’t know.  Something about this 1995 statement by Hillary Clinton regarding white working class Democrats comes off to me as– what’s the word?– oh, yeah… elitist:

Screw ‘em. You don’t owe them a thing, Bill. They’re doing nothing for you; you don’t have to do anything for them.

This coming from a woman who, at the age of 31, moved into the governor’s mansion and hasn’t left her bubble since.  Yeah, she’s in touch.

The media is trying to pass this off as old news.  Michael Calderone at Politico mocked HuffPo for “rehashing old quotes,” saying, “…ever since [Bitter-gate], it seems HuffPo writers are busy digging up any negative comments the Clintons made about working class whites–even if already recounted in a newspaper or book over a decade ago.”

Right.  Old news.  Just like Hillary’s 1996 trip to Bosnia was old news.  Just like Reverend Wright’s five-year-old sermons were old news.  But here’s an apparently too-complex-to-grasp facet of journalism that Calderone seems to be missing: Old news becomes new news when placed in a new light by current events.  The current events in this case would be Hillary Clinton attacking and magnifying Obama’s recent misstatement on small town voters for nearly a week straight, calling them ”elitist” and “out of touch,” when she herself made a deliberate statement that is on an order of magnitude worse.

So is this quote news?  Simple answer: Imagine if Barack Obama had said anything approaching that in his lifetime.

As for the underlying argument of electability here, I think we’ve reached the point where everyone should realize that whatever electability issues Barack Obama has– be it misstatements, dubious associations, ethics questions, or whatever– Hillary Clinton matches them with several of her own, often more.  Which means that all this vetting for the sake of preparing the Democratic nominee for the Republicans is really just doing the Republicans’ work in the fall for them.

If the Democrats were smart, they would realize that both their candidates have electability issues and agree to place a freeze on any further intraparty attacks, if not just end the race and pick a nominee now.  But they’re not smart.  That’s why they’re Democrats.  And that’s why they’ll continue this process of weakening both their candidates in preparation for a general election that two months ago they were set to walk away with.

Tags: Barack Obama · Democrats · Hillary Clinton

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 warner // Apr 17, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    As I commented a couple stories ago…

    …follow the money.

    ” Don’t let all of the blathering about which candidates are “elitist” or “out of touch” distract you from the real significance of “Bittergate.” The issue isn’t really that Obama talked about people who “cling” to guns or religion. The issue is that he got too close to the real Third Rail of politics

    Social Security is not the Third Rail, no matter what the media tells you. No, the Third Rail is economic class. Try talking about income disparity in America, what do you get? “You’re engaging in class warfare!” The same cries of protest are sounded whenever one suggests that the Bush tax cuts were mostly aimed at the wealthy, or that doing away with the estate tax was only beneficial to something like the top 1% of Americans. No, we musn’t talk about the working class or the middle class getting a raw deal economically. In other words, we musn’t criticize the real elites in this country, namely the wealthy and the politically connected.”

    “The most important–and unfortunately the least debated–issue in politics today is our society’s steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America’s top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes [...]

    This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris. When I raised this issue with corporate leaders during the recent political campaign, I was met repeatedly with denials, and, from some, an overt lack of concern for those who are falling behind. A troubling arrogance is in the air among the nation’s most fortunate. Some shrug off large-scale economic and social dislocations as the inevitable byproducts of the “rough road of capitalism.” Others claim that it’s the fault of the worker or the public education system, that the average American is simply not up to the international challenge, that our education system fails us, or that our workers have become spoiled by old notions of corporate paternalism [...]”

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