The author lauds the idea that “hard work and personal rectitude are the decisive factors in…
Rick Fischer

I’m not personally a huge fan of Clinton, but given the constraints of the two-party system, I think she’s a better candidate. I agree that she is obscenely rich, as you point out in your other comment, in no small part because there are people and entities in this world willing to give outsized rewards for possible access to her influence. I also agree that for her to earn the quantities of money she has for giving speeches to the folks who have paid her to give those speeches strongly suggests (in my mind, confirms) that she is compromised when it comes to policy affecting those folks (Wall Street firms, &c.).

But if you look at her history, especially her life prior to being First Lady, I think it’s fair to say that she started in far more modest circumstances than Trump (although not penurious) and achieved much more on the strength of her actual efforts. That doesn’t absolve her of subsequent moral (if not legal) corruption, by any means, it’s just a separate question.

The reason I think this distinction between Clinton and Trump — in terms of background and style — cuts against Trump is that Trump’s main selling point, according to Trump, is that he is a person who is extraordinarily successful because of a certain set of attributes: bluntness, pugnacity, and business acumen, in particular. And I think that is, essentially, a lie. He is where he is in life mostly because he was born to it. Clinton, by contrast, holds herself out mostly as a smart, competent person with certain policy positions.

We can disagree with her policy positions and — as you do — we can assail her integrity by examining those policy positions for ideological inconsistencies. We can also say that anyone who intends to seek office and hold herself out as a champion of common people ought not earn her living as Clinton did with those speeches. But that’s how it’s supposed to work: a person puts her record out for examination and says that it is good enough to get the job. What Trump is doing seems to me more deceptive.

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