Hillary Clinton has a way of dissing not just her political opponents but their supporters as well. She seems to take it their opposition personally; to dismiss the notion of good faith opposition as a fiction. Talking recently to some supporters about the young people who had backed Bernie Sanders, her opponent in presidential primaries, Ms. Clinton said:
“Some are new to politics completely. They’re children of the Great Recession. And they are living in their parents’ basement. They feel they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don’t see much of a future.”
She then went on to say:
“if you’re feeling like you’re consigned to, you know, being a barista… then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing.”
When the remarks were made public, Ms. Clinton’s campaign mouthpiece insisted that
“She was talking about young people that she’d met who were frustrated that they graduated from college and went into an economy where they couldn’t find the job they wanted.”
Maybe so. Bernie Sanders, himself, said that it’s true many of the young people who had supported him are living in their parents’ basements. And a real, flesh and blood millennial wrote in the Los Angeles Times that,
As a millennial listening to Clinton’s talk, I didn’t feel derided. Many of my friends are baristas, or underemployed, or struggling to find meaningful work…
Perhaps Ms. Clinton was not condescending or patronizing in those remarks but if so, she would be playing against type. When she talks about people playing for the other team, she falls back on sarcasm which she mistakes for wit. As for instance the “basket of deplorables.”
On the evidence, Ms. Clinton is one of those politicians who really does take it personally. Who can’t laugh and say, “Well, that’s just politics.” When you oppose her, you have crossed her and that speaks to your worthiness. You are an enemy or just too small for her to be bothered, as when, all those years ago as she was putting together her magisterial new health care plan and dismissed the concerns of small business people who worried the plan might break them.
“I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America,” she said. She neglected to add that they could eat cake.
Her husband, on the other hand, gets it. Just a couple of days ago, when talking about Obamacare, he said:
“The people who are getting killed in this deal are small business people and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these subsidies… people are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”
Next time he sees his wife, he’s going to have some explaining to do.