Saturday, April 5, 2008

Working Class Hero

The word is finally out: Hillary, the working class hero, had a family income of $109 million in the last eight years. Evidently,the Clintons have figured out how to cash in like Cheneys and generations of Bushes. Now that the union’s inspiration runs through Hillary’s blood, maybe she’ll be moved to organize her comrades: Political Profiteers of America, Unite!

In addition, it turns out that Hillary, the feminist hero, got most of her loot through her loving husband’s efforts; though, to be fair, she did pick up a hefty batch of it on her own. But it’s Bill who has the Midas touch. Read all about it here. In part, he followed in the path of the Reagans and the Bushes: getting rich (or, in the case of the others, richer) off ghost-written memoirs and shady business deals with sleazy “donors.” But nearly half of his ill-gotten gains come from speaking fees! It seems that he charges $150K a pop, and sometimes much more. Wall Street has been especially eager to stuff his copious pockets.

Since a normal person would rather pay not to hear the Slickster than to listen to him, one has to wonder. To be rich enough to pay fees like Bill Clinton demands, a captain of High Finance or Industry (if there are any left) would have to be a little bit smart; if not, our economy is in even bigger trouble than we think. Maybe some of the money is payback; honor among thieves. But being in the thrall of the bottom line, the Clintons’ benefactors must also think that they’re getting their money’s worth. Could it just be that they’ve been betting on a dynastic succession and an ensuring Clintonite Restoration? Perhaps; but then how explain the corresponding enrichment of Reagan and Bush? In the early nineties, when Poppy Bush was raking it in big time, no one would have imagined that his simpleton son would ever become the Decider-in-Chief. And Reagan’s offspring are good for nothing -- except, in the case of one of the family’s several black sheep, punditry. Maybe some day some smart investigative journalist will ferret out the details.

Here’s the good news, though: in just a few weeks, workers (and others) in Pennsylvania can make it true that our titans of high finance f…ed up again – that they might as well have flushed the money they paid Bill Clinton down the toilet! It couldn’t happen to nicer people! But can Obama make Pennsylvanians see what they need to do to stick it to the Clintons’paymasters? It isn’t likely, given the extent to which they’re his paymasters too. But, for the next few weeks, we can take consolation in the thought that it’s still not too late to hope – “audaciously.”

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