I am very grateful, even at this late date, for such an admission because this particular fairy tale--that Hillary Clinton is the "working class" candidate--has grated my nerves more than any mass delusion since Saddam's link with 911:
When her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination slid into a ditch in Iowa, Clinton found her way out by moving left and now is delivering a full-throated populist message worthy of her vanquished rival, John Edwards.Let's also not forget her role in engineering the 2001 version of the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act. Both versions were lobbied by predatory lenders who undoubtedly saw the risks inherent in their adjustable rates.
But it’s a message that seems an awkward fit for the Clinton campaign. Many of the corporations and companies she rails against on the campaign trail today are primary sources of income for her top consultants in the off-election years.
A few examples:
• “We’ll take on the credit card companies so that you and your families aren’t drowning in debt,” Clinton vowed in Ohio.
And who might be defending those evil credit card companies during such a fight? Roy Spence, Clinton’s new advertising guru from Texas, who produced the now famous “3 a.m. phone call” commercial and whose firm also does work for MasterCard.
• “We’ll take on the insurance companies and tell them they can no longer discriminate against the sickest people who need care the most. They spend more than $50 billion a year trying to figure out how not to cover people,” she said in the same speech.Could this be the reason that she's so adamant about a mandate on individuals to purchase health insurance?
Among their Capitol Hill strategists is the Glover Park Group, which represents America’s Health Insurance Plans and also employs Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson.
• “And I’ll go after drug companies and insurance companies that are overcharging consumers and the government — it’s time to end their profiteering at our expense,” Clinton told Ohioans.Uh huh.
Meet Tony Podesta of The Podesta Group, who has parachuted into Pennsylvania to help the Clinton campaign take the last big state and stay in the primary hunt. In his day job, he represents pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, Merck Serono and Pfizer.
• “We’ll take on Wall Street and tell them: ‘You’re going to finally pay your fair share in taxes, because it’s outrageous that a teacher making $50,000 pays a higher tax rate than some Wall Street investment managers making $50 million,’” was another Clinton line that day.A teacher making 50K? Where? And after how many years of service?
But John A. Merrigan may take a different view. He’s a major fundraiser for Clinton and a partner in the global law giant DLA Piper, whose client list includes Goldman Sachs.
Now Clinton is honing her anti-corporate message in the Keystone State. And she’s vowing to take “back at least $55 billion per year from special interests, including the drug companies, oil companies and firms that ship jobs overseas.”"Dick Cheney in a pantsuit," even though uttered by Andrew Sullivan, was not that far off the mark.
It will be the job of Steve Elmendorf, who toiled away without pay to drum up Iowa caucus-goers for Clinton during the Christmas holiday, to help his client, Shell Oil, blunt those losses.
And Clinton is telling Keystone State voters that “after seven years of an energy policy written by and for the oil companies — with help from Dick Cheney — oil has now reached $107 a barrel, and gas prices in some areas are approaching $4 a gallon.”
For help in pushing those prices down, Clinton may want to turn to one of her campaign’s most senior advisers, Mark Penn, whose lobbying and public relations shop represents none other than oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
Clinton’s new populist theme also hits some static when reviewing her campaign contributions.Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Oregan, Montana, South Dakota, and Puerto Rico: Please lend an ear!
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan tracker of campaign money, Clinton had received $783,290 in donations from federally registered lobbyists through January.