Hillary: I Was Once Poor Like You


Hillary Clinton graced Chicago this week on her Planet Hillary Global Domination Tour as she seeks the presidency.

And she proved something the other day. She proved that she finally stands for something.

John Kass2

Hillary stands for people who are “dead broke” but also have multiple homes.

She bragged about it to a purring Diane Sawyer of ABC News, saying she really knows what it’s like to struggle. It happened when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, left the White House.

Will someone have the decency to please cue the sad violin as Hillary recounts the ordeal of the multiple homes?

“We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” she said. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education.

“You know, it was not easy.”

What’s frightening is that she could talk like that without even blushing. The woman has all the shame of a tree.

And I guess you could say that wealthy Democrats who declare class warfare are different from you and me.

They’re worth millions upon millions of dollars. They didn’t do anything for the money except talk and play politics. That’s the Clintons’ special talent. They talk and talk and millions come to them and they feel our pain. And they don’t blush.

Listening to Hillary tell the sob story of the multiple homes, you could almost hear a stressed woman whose husband lost his job — a woman, say, who works as a cashier at some all-night supermarket and comes home to put her swollen feet in a pan of warm water.

Or the man working two or three part-time jobs, praying to God he has steady work to feed the kids macaroni and potatoes and keep a roof over his family’s head.

I know people like that. I’m sure you do as well. They’re not worried about their multiple homes or tuition at the nation’s top private universities.

But that’s Hillary. When she talked to Sawyer, you almost could hear Hillary’s swollen feet sliding into that pan of warm water and salts.

Hers is the true politician’s gift, to use a voice and get your vote. Of course, she has to feel your pain, too.

Except, what pain, exactly, Hillary, did you feel?

When the Clintons left the White House, there were millions upon millions of dollars waiting for them. Yes, there were legal bills from all the times Bill put his hands on women and lied about it, and when they were investigated for lying about the lies.

But their so-called friends raised millions and millions in legal defense funds.

The woman standing on her feet at the checkout counter, or rushing out to try to sell real estate part time after the kids have been fed, or the woman working as a teacher’s aide doesn’t have such friends.

How tough a life Hillary must have had, starting with that $1,000 cattle futures investment that grew to $100,000 as if by magic years ago.

And when she left the White House, there was an $8 million book advance waiting for her. Bill had an even larger advance. It’s been estimated he’s made more than $100 million in speeches since they left their co-presidency in 2001.

She’s made dozens and dozens of speeches herself, some for as much as $200,000.

Are they paying her for her brilliance and that honest laugh? Or are they paying for another kind of future, one in which she’s president and they get their phone calls returned the Chicago Way?

On Tuesday, Hillary talked to the national produce boys in Chicago and got paid for that one, too.

I pass the produce houses as I drive in to work in the early mornings — the guys driving trucks, pushing pallets, men who wear back braces and don’t dare miss a day’s work. Their families aren’t dealing with the stress of multiple homes.

Hillary’s quote about debt isn’t some political gaffe. This is the Clintons once again revealing their true selves to America.

And that shamelessness will define this phase of her 2016 campaign as clearly as her dismissal of questions about those four Americans left to die in Benghazi when she was secretary of state.

For all the Clintonistas cringing out there about what she said, please understand that it could have been worse. She could have used one of her various accents.

She’s used a black Southern accent, reciting the words of an old gospel hymn during her 2008 campaign for president. She relied on her native Chicago accent while campaigning for the U.S. Senate in New York, about the time she explained she was a lifelong Yankees fan from Park Ridge.

But my favorite accent of Hillary’s is that hard nasal Arkansas twang. The one she used to stand by her man against all those women who lured her Bill.

In this voice, Hillary Clinton reminds me of Peach, a character from Larry McMurtry’s great novel, “Lonesome Dove.”

Peach didn’t suffer fools. And once, while standing in the street, talking to a milquetoast sheriff in Arkansas, Peach had something in her arm.

A live rooster.

Unfortunately for the rooster, it did a dumb thing. It pecked her. So Peach twisted his neck so quickly that the head came off.

“That’ll teach him to peck me,” Peach said. “At least I’ll get to eat him instead of a skunk having the pleasure.”

The Planet Hillary tour has months and months to go. And I wonder which voice she’ll use next.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who also hosts a radio show on WLS-AM. His e-mail address is [email protected], and his Twitter handle is @john_kass.

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