Following Hillary Clinton’s official campaign kickoff this week, several critics said that her crusade against income inequality rang hollow, considering her own private wealth. Questions about Clinton finances have plagued the Democrat for months, mostly because of serious charges of impropriety surrounding their charitable foundation. But now it is Clinton’s personal wealth coming under the harsh glare of the spotlight.
Clinton has made middle-class America her focal point, but she will have to overcome her own nest egg if she wants her message to resonate. When she talks about the top hedge fund managers making more than all kindergarten teachers combined, she fails to mention that she makes six figures for delivering a single speech. Her campaign is concerned that this dichotomy will be enough to turn Americans against her.
“I’m grateful for the success that Bill and I have had,” Clinton said Monday in New Hampshire. “We both come from hard-working families. We both have worked very hard.”
But acknowledging the wealth may not be the same as getting past it. When the average American is not even breaking $45,000 a year, a $250,000/hour salary can strike one as off-putting. That’s especially true when the bulk of your message is aimed at the evils of the rich.
“I hear what you’re saying in terms of how much she made for speeches, but what’s important is that this is a person who has always fought for people who need to have a champion,” said Clinton spokeswoman Karen Finney on Fox News Sunday.
According to recent financial disclosures, the Clintons brought home about $30 million over the last 16 months.
Naturally, this is far from the first time a rich Democrat has attempted to run on a populist platform. Considering the way we elect the president, it probably won’t be the last. And when you really get down to it, it shouldn’t matter. It takes money to make a successful bid for the White House, and a candidate should be able to address the problems of lower-income Americans without actually being one of them.
The problem with Clinton isn’t her bank account, it is that her proposed policies are the same old liberal spiel we’ve been hearing for years. These are the policies that actually trap low-income Americans, preventing them from breaking out of the pack. These policies encourage government dependency, strengthen job-killing regulations, and kill big business.
If Republicans want to take Hillary down, they’ll do well to focus more on those policies and less on her personal wealth. Americans are accustomed to rich politicians. What they need to know is that the kind of help Hillary and the Democrats is contrary to their own best interests. They need to hammer conservative ideals that will make a real difference in the middle class. Let’s leave the backwards social policies behind.