Hillary Clinton's $12 million problem: Will focus on her wealth persist? (+video)(Read article summary)
Hillary Clinton has earned $12 million since leaving the State Department in early 2013, says a Bloomberg News report. Though GOP officials are gleefully sharing this story on social media, here's why the issue of her wealth is likely to fade.
Hillary Clintonâ€™s wealth problem isnâ€™t fading. It began in June when she said she and husband, Bill, were â€śdead brokeâ€ť when they left the White House â€“ a comment she later publicly labeled â€śinartful.â€ť It has continued through July as media reports document the Clintons' wealth and Republicans bash the former secretary of State as a closet 1 percenter.
The latest episode in this political soap opera is Mondayâ€™s Bloomberg News report that, since resigning as secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton has earned at least $12 million by giving speeches and selling books.
â€śHer earnings represent a fraction of the Clinton familyâ€™s total income and yet were large enough to rank her not only in the top 1 percent of the nationâ€™s earners but in the top one-hundredth of the 1 percent,â€ť writeÂ Bloombergâ€™s Lisa Lerer and Lauren Streib.
Republican Party officials have gleefully disseminated this story on social media. Theyâ€™re using it as a means to promote their latest anti-Hillary website, poorhillaryclinton.com.
â€śHow out of touch is Hillary? ... Weâ€™ve documented it,â€ť tweeted the Republican National Committee on Monday morning.
Will mocking Clinton for her â€śhard knock lifeâ€ť help the GOP in the long run? Maybe â€“ thatâ€™s the sort of political trend line itâ€™s impossible to precisely predict. Perhaps Republican strategists hope to simply increase vague negative feelings about Clinton in the months prior to her expected 2016 presidential run.
But there are some problems with the tactic of attacking Clinton for her cash, per se. Presumably Democratic voters are the ones most concerned with the issue of inequality and concentration of US wealth. However, they donâ€™t appear at all concerned about charges of Clinton buck-raking.
As we reported last week, polls show Clinton rolling full throttle toward the Democratic 2016 nomination, if she wants it. Sheâ€™s crushing all potential intraparty challengers. That stuff about a challenge from the left by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts? Basically itâ€™s bored journalists looking for ways to inject drama into a foreordained race.
Republican voters will be happy to tut-tut about Clintonâ€™s perceived hypocrisy on money. But thereâ€™s a twist: What will they feel about their own party attacking someone for making money? Kind of a role reversal, no?
Thatâ€™s what Politicoâ€™s Dylan Byers opines Monday in his post about Bloombergâ€™s new Clinton numbers.
â€śWouldnâ€™t it be rich if the same Republicans who complain about the demonization of wealth decided to turn this into a talking point? Oh wait,â€ť writes Byers.
Itâ€™s likely the focus on wealth will fade at some point. It has persisted partly because Clinton is an unusual presidential precandidate, writes Bloomberg View political pundit Jonathan Bernstein.
At this point in a campaign the media are generally busy filling in the life story and political background of potential candidates. But everybody knows Clinton, so instead theyâ€™re picking at holes in her story.
When she switches into a more overtly political mode, she will begin making policy proposals and speaking more directly about the national situation. Then the media focus will move from Clinton wealth gaffes and book sales to the newer, more substantive material.
â€śNone of the [current media] attention appears to be obstructing her path to the nomination, and it will be long forgotten by fall 2016. Except, perhaps, by those who arenâ€™t going to vote for her anyway,â€ť writes Mr. Bernstein.