By Marc Jampole
No wonder Republicans are so afraid of Hillary Clinton that they continue to hitch their wagon to the exploding death star known as Donald Trump.
The Clintons made $10 million last year, which definitely makes them one-percenters, just like all our presidents have been since Eisenhower, except her husband (who joined later) and Barack Obama (who is well on his way).
What makes Hillary Clinton so dangerous to the ultra-wealthy is her willingness to pay her fair share of taxes without engaging in the kind of complicated, if legal, tax avoidance schemes that we saw in Mitt Romney’s taxes and which past statements by Trump suggest are in his. The Clintons fulfilled their civic responsibility by paying their fair share of taxes, an idea that our plutocracy thinks is un-American and socialist.
The cynical will say that the Clintons avoided sophisticated tax avoidance schemes because they knew Hillary would be running for president and wanted to present clean books. But even if their tax strategies derived completely from political calculations, we must then contrast what Hillary thinks will fly with the American public with what Romney (and no doubt Trump) does. Romney was not afraid that taking legal deductions would make him look bad, even though it reduced his tax rate to 14%, lower than his secretary. In older tax returns from the 1970s, Trump paid no taxes because of the lush tax breaks afforded to real estate investment. By contrast, the “cynical” version of the Clintons decided that the American public really did want their leaders to pay their fair share—which in the case of the Clintons is almost 35% of their income.
Of course, perhaps the Clintons realized that they operate under two double standards—one for the Clintons and one for Hillary for being a woman—and understood that the mainstream news media and the GOP would hit them hard for standard tax shelters used by many one- and two-percenters.
The application of a double standard is implicated in virtually all of the complaints against Hillary Clinton. She, but no one else, remains unforgiven for her vote to support the potential invasion of Iraq, as if she were the only one who could see through the Bush-Cheney lies and deceptions and so is the only one blamed for falling victim to them. For some reason, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and everyone else who voted for the harsh and racially based prison terms in the 1990s get free passes, but Hillary who was not yet in the Senate, gets chided as the wife of the president who reluctantly signed these bad and now widely regretted pieces of legislation.
Why have there been no investigations of the other Secretaries of State like Condoleezza Rice who used private servers, except for the existence of a double standard?
Why has more money been spent on investigating the Benghazi tragedy than on investigating the Bush Administration for creating a worldwide torture gulag or instigating the Iraq War, except for the existence of a double standard?
The email scandal is perhaps the most egregious example of the double standard applied to Hillary Clinton. People who are making a big deal about possible conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary was running it have floated only one example of a potential conflict problem: a Clinton Foundation donor asked Foundation employees to hook him up with someone from the State Department. But as it turned out, the guy didn’t want any favors, business or special treatment. He wanted to give the State Department inside information he had about a crucial election in another country. He was not trying to use the Clinton connection for selfish ends, but to help the United States.
It’s interesting to note that just days after the Clintons released their latest tax returns, Maureen Dowd ran another screed in her decades-old campaign against the Clintons. Dowd spends an entire column trying to present Clinton as the perfect Republican candidate. She starts her latest flight of fancy by pointing out that the Clintons are one-percenters, ignoring that they have committed the cardinal sin for the ultra-wealthy, which is to leave money on the table for others. She creates Hillary the Republican from bits of facts and innuendos, starting with the wholly irrelevant fact that she supported Goldwater as a middle-schooler. Another double standard—others are allowed to change their views, but not Hillary. Not even the teenaged Hillary.
Most of the evidence that Hillary is really a Republican amounts to a whispering campaign. Dowd assumes that her “pals” John McCain and Lindsay Graham are rooting for her and that the endorsements from the Republican defense establishment has to do with her politics and not the fact that her opponent is an ignorant looney who lacks self-control. Dowd is also convinced that until recently, Hillary never stirred up any emotion among women and that the recent excitement about Hillary is limited to Republican women in the suburbs. (Dowd obviously has avoided Facebook and Twitter for the past two years, or else she would have seen the electrifyingly high level of excitement that Hillary has generated among women since she announced she was running for president.)
Nowhere does Dowd mention that Clinton explicitly states that she wants to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for massive investment in infrastructure and alternative energy technologies. Nowhere does Dowd mention that Hillary explicitly states that she wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 (although I suspect that if Dowd had brought up the minimum wage, she would have used it to call Hillary a flip-flopper, since before the primaries she wanted to start with $10.10 an hour). Nowhere do we read of Hillary’s many connections to labor unions and organizations working to improve the economic standing of minorities. Dowd also seems to forget that Clinton, unlike most Republicans, believes in a woman’s right to birth control and abortion and the right of all Americans to marry whomever they damn well please. Most Republicans want to build a wall along our border with Mexico. Most have a much more bellicose attitude about the Middle East than Hillary, despite what Dowd says. Most are against the Iran nuclear deal. Most want to lower taxes on the wealthy. So how is Hillary the ideal Republican candidate?
The Dowd column is a perfect hatchet job on Hillary’s liberal bona fides. Few facts, a lot of assumptions and a ridiculous conclusion.
The truth is quite the opposite from Dowd’s absurd assertion: Hillary Clinton stands in the great center-looking left tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. She is embracing what is perhaps the most left-wing platform for any political party in American history. Her plans are detailed and realistic. To call her the ideal GOP nominee is a slander that would not be legal if Donald Trump had his way.