Do not mistake me. I am just as against pay-for-play, monetizing public service for personal gain as you or anyone else. I continue to be critical of the way Clinton ran her campaign, the decisions she made, and her general lack of transparency. But I tend to run across a question I simply cannot answer without agreeing that the questioner has a legitimate point.
Everyone has done it. For generations, we’ve elected and re-elected public officials who have monetized their public service for their own material gain. And while we’ve made note of it before, and suggested it was wrong, and questioned the motives of the candidates in the past, it hasn’t been disqualifying, ever before. Never did we give this subject this much attention and this high a priority.
Scores of politicians have hit the speaking circuit and taken tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from each wealthy industry who has engaged them, and it hardly ever comes up when they run for re-election. Virtually every politician who has successfully run for national office in the past 40 years has taken millions in donations from the very sources listed in your screenshots, and we elected them anyway, sometimes enthusiastically.
And the question then becomes, “Why, I wonder, is this one different? Why is this candidate a bridge too far?”
And in response, I must allow that some of it — maybe a lot of it — is rampant misogyny. Bill could do it and get away with it and get elected, but not Hillary. No one has a problem with George Bush or Dick Cheney or Larry Summers or Tim Geithner or Al Gore or David Plouffe or Arnold Schwarzenegger getting 6-figure payouts for each speech they give (which only needs to be written once and tweaked for each audience). But Hillary did it, and it’s blatant corruption.
Maybe it’s because she did it before she ran for President. Most politicians cash in after their political aspirations are over. But Obama is getting $400k for each speaking engagement. Are you saying, given the current state of things, you wouldn’t have him back right now? That the $400k he just got from Cantor Fitzgerald is disqualifying? Given the choice, I think I might help him move.
Maybe we just got to the point that, it’s enough already; that the public finally had enough of all this wealth grabbing from supposed public servants, and Hillary just happened to be the final straw. Maybe her avarice was highlighted by running in a primary against maybe the only public servant in recent memory that hadn’t monetized his service, and the contrast was just to great to ignore. And maybe it’s not just the speaking fees and the donations, but that, combined with the constant shape-shifting, the attempts to be on all sides of an issue at once, that lead to this rejection of her as a candidate.
But maybe it’s also because women don’t get to be the same greedy, grasping, self indulgent gluttons for wealth that we accept without thought from men.
I’m eager to get on with the retrospective of the mistakes that ultimately led to Trump falling backward into the Presidency. I’d like that retrospective to be conducted without interference from the person who was captaining the ship at the time it hit the orange iceberg. But as the people helping to conduct the investigation, I think it would be a mistake to fail to recognize our own prejudices, and how they may have led us to judge this candidate more harshly than we might have judged a similar male candidate in the same position.
I mean, after all, Obama took gobs of money from finance, insurance and pharma, and no one beat him over the head for that. He’s still liked. Still respected.
Something to think about.