Bloomberg reports: “Bill and Hillary Clinton have long supported an estate tax to prevent the U.S. from being dominated by inherited wealth. That doesn’t mean they want to pay it. To reduce the tax pinch, the Clintons are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of U.S. households in wealth. These moves, common among multimillionaires, will help shield some of their estate from the tax that now tops out at 40 percent of assets upon death.” Wait a second. The implication here is that Hillary Clinton is being a hypocrite. Poppycock. She wants to change the law — in a way that will adversely affect herself — and in the meantime will follow existing law. There is nothing unusual about that, nor does she have any moral obligation to pay more than is owed under existing law. The media played this game with Mitt Romney, questioning each tax deduction and exclusion. The press likes to call these “loopholes,” but in fact this is the law. It may be a great argument for tax reform to make a simpler code but it’s not necessary for politicians to overpay on taxes.
The Clinton figures do however raise two questions. First, “broke” is she? “At the end of 2012, the Clintons were worth $5.2 million to $25.5 million, according to financial disclosures that Hillary Clinton filed in 2013 as she was leaving her position as secretary of state. That total excludes the value of their homes in Washington and in Chappaqua, New York, any savings since 2012 and gifts already made to their daughter, Chelsea, who is expecting their first grandchild later this year.” With all that money, why then did Clinton feel compelled to keep scrounging up speaking gigs at $200,000 a pop? (“Since she left the government last year, Hillary Clinton, 66, has been giving speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars each.”) Did she feel deprived? Did she want to stay in the loop with her rich potential donors? She should give a straight answer.
Really, how was this benefiting the lives of women and girls (other than Hillary and Chelsea)? That is how she has described herself, a defender of women and girls. Think of the money she could have raised or the awareness she could have generated had she, like, say, Audrey Hepburn, become a worldwide ambassador for the downtrodden and oppressed.
The second issue is the Clintons’ charitable giving. Was it more or less than the 29.4 percent the Romneys gave away in 2011? If it is, her money chasing might be understandable. If not, then it sure seems like greed. I’d be curious, again, to see how much she gave to the women and girls.
The Clintons have a problem getting tripped up by their own sanctimony. The great feminist, we know from a recording of her talking about her victory in a case representing a child rapist, cackled over pulling a fast one on the prosecution. The Post’s Melinda Henneberger observes, “Even rapists deserve adequate legal representation, of course; that’s how our justice system works, no matter how reprehensible the crime. . . . In an interview in the mid-1980s for an Esquire magazine piece that never ran, Clinton’s glee is audible about the prosecution’s big mistake in the case, when it accidentally discarded key evidence. Some are writing off the remarks, as one fellow journalist put it on social media, as ‘typical gonzo defense lawyer talk.’ It is not, however, typical talk for a lifelong defender of women and children.” Nor is it “typical” (decent? acceptable?) for the feminist icon to make the claim that the 12-year-old was the sexually promiscuous.
And that in turn brings back another problem for the feminist heroine: Henneberger reminds us: “The ‘little bit nutty, little bit slutty’ defense has a long, ugly history. It’s jarring to see it trotted out against a kid by a future feminist icon. The argument also bears an uncomfortable similarity to Clinton White House descriptions of Monica Lewinsky, who without that semen stain on her little blue dress would have been dismissed as a stalker who had fantasized that she had a relationship with President Bill Clinton.”
To sum up, it’s not the trust or the legal representation of a rapist that matters; it is that her greed and ambition consistently get the better of her, to the detriment of those women and girls she claims to be helping. They never seem to be at the top of her priority list. And that was certainly the case during her tenure at the State Department. What did she do for the women of the Arab Spring, China, Iran and Russia? She gave some speeches (no separate fees back then) and had some meetings, but the heavy lifting (e.g. the Magnitsky Act) was done by Congress often over State’s objections. She was about engaging the regimes that oppressed women and girls.
Clinton deserve to be judged by the same standard we hold other candidates, but she also deserves to be sized up against her self-proclaimed virtues. When it comes to the women and girls, she doesn’t live up to her billing.