Streetcar Line

Flatbed Hillary

Her use for poor white workers will end the minute the campaign is over.

By 5.1.08

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One of the more bizarre developments of this campaign season has been to see Hillary Clinton, of all people, turned into an electoral favorite of blue-collar white voters. The reality is that very few people in politics have more contempt for white workers than does this product of Park Ridge, Wellesley, the Senate Watergate Committee, and the super powered Rose Law Firm.

This is the woman who, according to three, independent, respected, credible witnesses, at least one of them a strong Clinton supporter, responded to Southern whites workers voting Republican in 1994 by telling her husband: "Screw 'em. You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."

This is the woman who last year insulted the whole state of Mississippi in an interview with Iowa's famous columnist David Yepsen, noting the lack of elected women in both states: "How can Iowa be ranked with Mississippi?" she asked. "That's not what I see. That's not the quality. That's not the communitarianism, that's not the openness I see in Iowa."

This is the woman whose mentor and philosophical guiding light, Saul Alinsky, wrote that the white working classes were always "[s]eeking some meaning in life, [so] they turn to an extreme chauvinism and become defenders of the 'American' faith. Now they even develop rationalizations for a life of futility and frustration."

This is the woman who tried to foist a massively bureaucratic health care plan onto the American people in 1993 and 1994, but when told that her plan would be devastating to the small mom-and-pop shops that provide most jobs in America, dismissed those concerns with these words: "I can't be responsible for every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America."

(This was the same government-knows-best health plan of which Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that "anyone who thinks [it] can work in the real world as presently written isn't living in it.")

IN TERMS OF POLICIES, her actions and positions have been directly opposed to the interests of blue-collar workers who pay taxes. Take welfare reform, for instance. Perhaps the single most successful programmatic reform in the past 30 years, it saved taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, gave people incentives to find jobs, and quite arguably played a big role in a decade of improving statistics in areas ranging from drops in crime to drops in the teen birth rate and the divorce rate. (The old welfare system encouraged divorce by making it in many cases more lucrative to be a single mom.)

Yet her husband Bill not only vetoed welfare reform twice, but did so in accord with Hillary's fierce advice against reform. (He signed it at the third opportunity only to take the issue off the table in his 1996 re-election campaign.)

This is also the woman who has spent an entire career supporting legal positions (and judges) that are contrary to the deeply held views of most white workers. Strong support for racial preferences? Check. Support for partial birth abortion? Check. Judges who rule against basic Christmas displays in the public square? Check. Letting the government take working class homes in order to use the land for big corporate developments? Yes again.

Her Whitewater-related shenanigans left taxpayers on the hook for tens of millions of dollars, while old folks expecting retirement housing were left high and dry. Her treatment of White House career employees was notoriously nasty. Her profiteering in the cattle-futures market, and her money-grubbing in cases too numerous to mention, gave evidence of a sense of public entitlement completely at odds with the values and the daily concerns of laborers. And her opposition even to the middle-class-heavy Bush tax cuts of 2001, if it had carried the day, would have cost most workers well over $10,000 in the seven years since.

Yet now Hillary Clinton is depending on white, working-class voters to power her attempted primary-season comeback. They ought to remember that she and her husband Bill once fancied themselves such racial conciliators that Bill welcomed the sobriquet of being "the first black president." Yet in this campaign season we have seen just how quickly the Clintons have fanned racial animus in an attempt to cause a white backlash against Barack Obama.

Lesson: The Clintons are for the Clintons, and only for the Clintons. They will abandon any voter group the moment such abandonment can gain them an advantage. The Hillary Clinton who is suddenly the champion of white laborers today can just as easily be saying "screw 'em" again tomorrow.

Their votes for her are votes against their own interests and values.

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About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer.