Hillary Clinton isn’t cool, but like Barack Obama before her, she’s not letting the Kleenex tucked up her sleeves and a few whiffs of Vicks Vap-O-Rub get in the way of constructing a “revolutionary” new image for her 2016 Presidential campaign out of whole cloth. Hillary, it seems, will get a makeover; gone are the scrunchies and high-waisted pantsuits of old and in their place is social media savvy, a team of communications experts, and a campaign HQ that’s within spitting distance of at least four aritsan gelato places.
But even though, by outward appearances, Hip Hillary is on the scene and embracing the organic, handcrafted vegan latte and handlebar mustache lifestyle of trendy Brooklyn, the person finacing her move to NYC’s outer limits is very familiar. He’s a mega-rich mega donor who has been enjoying the perks of being a close Clinton crony since the days of the Lincoln Bedroom.
Clinton’s not-yet-official campaign has reportedly signed a lease for a campaign office space in Brooklyn Heights (median household income: $115,000). Morgan Stanley has offices there, which makes sense given that employees of the investment firm have contributed more than $540,000 to Hillary’s political campaigns over the years. Morgan Stanley executive Tom Nides was initially expected to land a senior role in Clinton’s 2016 campaign, but ultimately declined because he was “enjoying his lucrative life” as a Morgan Stanley executive.
The building is owned by Forest City Ratner. The company’s executive chairman, Bruce Ratner, is a multi-millionaire real estate mogul and a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets. He’s also (obviously) a major Democratic donor. Ratner has donated more than $400,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since the early 1990s, and has enjoyed many of the perks that come with giving lots of money to Democrats. For example, Ratner was one of the loyal donors who stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom during the Clinton Administration, and he was invited to special coffee sessions at the White House. Ratner, who donated thousands of dollars to Bill Clinton, has not (yet) contributed any money to Hillary.
Now to those of us with a background in politics, this might seem like the Achille’s Heel of the Clinton image refurbishment, but there’s one catch: Hillary Clinton is hardly the first person aspiring to world domination living off someone else’s “investment capital” in the heart of a hipster hideaway. Honestly, it’s practically a Brooklyn tradition to use Daddy’s money to and your liberal arts education to stake your claim on a patch of land and build up a small empire providing something the world doesn’t need, whether that’s organic Penny Farthing brake wax or a nascent Presidential campaign. Say what you want about Clinton’s choice of digs, but she’s definitely fitting in with the neighborhood.
The good news is, at least that the Clinton campaign is a runner-up prize for Ratner, who narrowly missed getting the Democratic National Convention. Let’s just hope she doesn’t tank the property values.