Why Hillary Clinton's Massive Public Speaking Fortune Matters

July 22, 2014

Hillary Clinton has raked in at least $12 million since quitting her job at the State Department last year, Bloomberg reported on Monday, noting that Clinton’s "windfall" was "at odds with her party’s call to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor."

This did not sit well with Hillary's fans, who really hate it when you mention her and Mitt Romney in the same sentence:

"Hillary Clinton has fought her entire life to advocate for a level playing field and to increase opportunity for all Americans," said Adrienne Watson, deputy communications director for Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton propaganda outfit.

Okay, we get it. Hillary Clinton is not Mitt Romney, the vulture capitalist who literally killed people by injecting them with cancer.

But they’re missing the point. The fact that Hillary ranks among the richest 0.01 percent of Americans (and that’s before factoring in Bill’s massive fortune) is less important than how and why she got there.

As someone who voted enthusiastically for Barack Obama in 2008, I find it pretty astonishing that so many liberals are rushing to embrace Hillary in 2016. One of the main reasons why she lost the Democratic primary was that liberals preferred the fresh-faced outsider to the older, more established Hillary.

Since then, Hillary has only gotten older and more embedded in the Beltway-Wall Street establishment, and has made a fortune by exploiting those connections. She gets paid four times the median income to stand in a room for an hour and say things to other rich people. She got millions to write a memoir that people aren't exactly clamoring to read.

She peddles political influence, and has raised millions of dollars, from the same corporations liberals blame for the 2008 financial crisis. Does anyone honestly believe that her capacity to relate to the struggles of average Americans is any greater than Mitt Romney's?

Clinton hasn’t driven a car in decades, and required several weeks of poll-tested messaging advice before she was finally able to answer a question about wealth without coming across as hopelessly out of touch with reality. And even then, the best she could muster is a soulless regurgitation of endlessly rehearsed buzzwords and talking points.

What has Hillary ever done over the course of her tireless advocacy "for a level playing field and to increase opportunity for all Americans" that hasn't, in some way, redounded to the political benefit of Hillary Clinton? When asked, in response to student demands, if she would return a $225,000 speaking fee to the (publicly funded) University of Nevada Las Vegas, here's what she had to say:

It’s been my experience that they’re not worried about my speaking or my household, they’re worried about their own. And that’s the kind of debate I think I’m furthering as I go around the country speaking.

Got that? You commoners should shut up and be grateful that I'm getting paid massive sums to give a speech. It's for your own good!

Liberals are welcome to defend her on this point. But simply yelling "Her policies!" (whatever they are) isn't an argument. 

Hillary's voracious wealth-seeking, numerous Wall Street ties, and renowned Beltway elitism all represent traits Democrats claim to hate about Republicans. And those traits are all even more prominent now than when Democratic primary voters rejected her the first time around. In reality, of course, liberals don't actually care about any of the above: they care about winning, about power, and, above all, the smug satisfaction that comes with being "on the right side of history." And the easiest way to do that is to find another "historic" candidate to squeal about.