WILL THE REAL HILLARY CLINTON PLEASE STAND UP?
Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, you should be troubled by the fact that Hillary Clinton in each campaign has remade herself fundamentally, adopting a new persona each time in an effort to capture the changing electorate. True, all candidates hone their messages, but Hillary’s transformations are radical make-overs. Given the number of iterations of Hillary Clinton over the years, we really should ask: Will the real Hillary Clinton please stand up?
Since leaving the White House as First Lady, Hillary has amassed a very large fortune. Hillary’s world is far different from the typical American’s. That would not be a problem were she to own up to that fact, but she chooses to obscure that reality. Consider, by contrast, the Kennedys. Democrats Jack, Robert, and Ted never hid their family’s opulence and, instead, actually harbored intellectual values and ran for office predicated on well-defined liberal values. While I do not agree with the Kennedy’s political creed, I nevertheless respect them for having one that was intellectually developed and not bereft of foundational substance. The same cannot be said for Hillary. There is no well-developed intellectual foundation for each of Hillary’s positions, no explanation of her core beliefs and how her public service has been consistent in its advancement of those core beliefs.
Hillary is a liberal Democrat, but she has always avoided any clear articulation of her policy positions on a host of key issues. Her present run endeavors to make her out to be more of a centrist than she has been in the past. She has a very narrow group of elites advising her, but she is desperately trying to fashion herself as a populist, as every man, fully appreciative of what it is like to work a 9 to 5 job for a minimum wage. She feigns familiarity with the common struggles of those in the service industry, who work in fast food restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, hotels and shopping malls, but her lifestyle is that of a jet setter and her society is with national and international figures.
This duplicity is rather transparent, so one wonders why she thinks the public so fickle or ignorant that it will buy into her latest remake. There is in the latest remake a rather disturbing condescension. By not projecting an image of herself that is, well, herself, and by choosing instead to feign fraternity (sorority?) with the common man, Hillary is in fact preying upon what she perceives to be the ignorance of those who receive her. In other words, she thinks the average Joe and Josephine will accept her as a populist with intimate knowledge of their needs and interests and not view her as an elitist out of touch with their daily travails.
The fact is, however, virtually every Joe and Josephine knows Hillary is not at all like them. She comes from privilege, having been First Lady and having amassed a fortune since the old days in the Arkansas Governor’s mansion with Bill. There is nothing wrong with wealth in a capitalist society, of course, unless you think (as Hillary does) that capitalist society is itself evil and that government should divide the nation based on income, redistributing it from those who have to those who have not. The Robin Hood argument (take from the rich and give to the poor) has a rather hollow ring to it when you discover that Robin Hood is as wealthy as King Richard the Lionheart. Aware of that, Hillary tones down the jewelry, eats a burger and fries, and shops at J.C. Penny’s for campaign season.
Because her campaign aims to encourage Middle Class and poor Americans to think of her as one of them, her current remake aims to cast her as a soccer mom, a kind matron from the neighborhood, a person like you, and not a rich former First Lady whose shoe collection and wardrobe is worth more than your annual salary. If she were to represent herself as she truly is, and bring out the expensive jewelry, clothes, cars, and dining preferences, she fears that the average American would have a hard time accepting that she is sincere. So, she painfully leaves the private jet and travels about the country in a van. She abandons her favorite dining preferences and pops up with small groups of every day folks, rubbing elbows, eating rubbery chicken, and trying to engage in small talk. Why shouldn’t we be disgusted with a phoney? The Kennedy approach is far better. They never denied their wealth, never gave up the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port in favor of a one bedroom condo in Spanish Harlem, never eschewed Catholicism despite public attacks. They did the hard thing. They tried to convince people that they were right. Hillary is not of that stature. She tries to persuade you that her way of thinking is like ours, that she is one of us.
She does not appreciate the dangers associated with duplicity in politics because, so far, she has gotten away with it. But for a few embarrassing moments, she has found redefinition far easier than resolute defense of core beliefs. That is not especially difficult for her, because, truth be told, she really does not think there are any immutable truths or core beliefs incapable of being modified or tweeked for political advantage.
Her willingness to remake herself again and again presents a major problem in the general election. Her campaign is likely to be one of pronounced contrasts, not with others per se but with herself. I can see opponents running split screen images of her in campaign ads, wherein on one side of the screen she makes pronouncements from moments in her long political career that conflict with her pronouncements today. The contrasts between the Hillary of yesterday and the Hillary of today will likely be numerous and profound. She cannot today praise unreservedly the politically unpopular Obamacare but she did so in the past and, indeed, she advocated an even more intrusive and oppressive version of it in the form of a single payer socialized government health care system. She cannot be the champion of Obama’s foreign policy which she as Secretary of State helped create, a foreign policy that is largely incomprehensible, because a clear majority of the American people reject that foreign policy as weak, fickle, and harmful to American interests around the world. She cannot advocate transparency in government today when she herself has kept from congressional inquiry key facts and circumstances surrounding the Benghazi tragedy and her own private/public emails. She cannot portray herself as truly compassionate, one whose every effort is that of humanitarianism, given the cavalier manner in which she rejected pleas for help from the U.S. embassy in Benghazi or the horrible mistreatment she caused the poor folks in the White House Travel Office to suffer (whom she helped vilify and falsely accuse of embezzlement to rid them) in favor of Clinton cronies who wanted the travel office job.
We have a right to demand to know precisely what Hillary believes, even if the true answer to that question is nothing in particular. Her series of political remakes over the years combined with her present remake as a populist centrist justify a demand from the electorate to know whether she has any deep ideological beliefs, grounded in collectivist philosophy, that define her view of law and government. Is there any limit to the power she thinks she can wield as President? Does she agree with Obama’s reliance on his pen and phone as an alternative to compliance with the Constitution’s separation of powers? Is there anything that Obama has done as President that she regards as unconstitutional? Is there anything Obama has done in foreign policy with which she disagrees fundamentally? Does she think that compelling every American who does not have health insurance to buy it a constitutional power of government? If so, to serve a public health objective, is there any constitutional limit on what government may demand we do with our own resources to serve a public interest defined by those in power?
The media has thus far treated Hillary with kid gloves. She has never been forced to explain the intellectual foundations of her political creed. In point of fact, she is not deep in that regard.
She has broadly liberal values but no deep understanding, appreciation, or desire of rights theory, separation of powers, or limited government in the American tradition. It is precisely because she has no rights or limited power foundation that she can dispense with individual liberty and freedom of choice in, for example, the Obamacare context, without a second thought. She is, in that regard, essentially indistinguishable from Barack Obama. The election of Hillary Clinton will necessarily be an extension of Obama, leaving in place all of the economically deleterious and freedom depriving burdens of government he has put in place and adding to them.
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© 2015 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved
Jonathan W. Emord is an attorney who practices constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies. Ron Paul calls Jonathan “a hero of the health freedom revolution” and says “all freedom-loving Americans are in [his] debt . . . for his courtroom [victories] on behalf of health freedom.” He has defeated the FDA in federal court a remarkable eight times, seven on First Amendment grounds, and is the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Rise of Tyranny, Global Censorship of Health Information, and Restore the Republic. He is the American Justice columnist for U.S.A. Today Magazine and joins Robert Scott Bell weekly for “Jonathan Emord’s Sacred Fire of Liberty,” an hour long radio program on government threats to individual liberty. For more info visit Emord.com, join the Emord FDA/FTC Law Group on Linkedin, and follow Jonathan on twitter (@jonathanwemord).
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you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, you should be troubled
by the fact that Hillary Clinton in each campaign has remade herself
fundamentally, adopting a new persona each time in an effort to capture
the changing electorate.