October 20, 2007

How is she doing it?

How is it that Hillary Clinton, long demonized on the right (and the left) is doing so well? How did she win over even ME? This Judith Warner Op-Ed in the NYT helps explain...


The “we” world of Tucker Carlson knew what they knew about Hillary Clinton — right up until about this week, I think — because they spend an awful lot of time talking to, socializing with and interviewing one another.

What they don’t do all that much is venture outside of a certain set of zip codes to get a feel for the way most people are actually living. They don’t sign up for adjustable rate mortgages, visit emergency rooms to get their primary health care, leave their children in unlicensed day care or lose their jobs because they have to drive their mothers home from the hospital after hip replacement surgery.

Hillary Clinton’s supporters, it turns out, do.


More and more people are being priced out of a middle class existence. Because of housing prices, because of health care costs, because of tax policy, because of the cost of child care, The Good Life – a life of relative comfort and financial security – is now, in many parts of the country, an upper-middle-class luxury.

Given all this, you would think that Clinton’s big policy announcement this week on improving life for working families would have been big news.


The American middle class, it seems to me, is looking to politicians now to satisfy a pretty basic – and urgent – level of need. Yet people in the upper middle class — with their excellent health benefits, schools, salaries, retirement plans, nannies and private afterschool programs — have journeyed so far from that level of need that, it often seems to me, they literally cannot hear what resonates with the middle class. That creates a problematic blind spot for those who write, edit or produce what comes to be known about our politicians and their policies.

Last night Sheila Jackson Lee was on Real Time with Bill Maher. Sheila Jackson Lee. She of the lone vote against going into Afghanistan. She who has opposed the Iraq War/Occupation from the start. Sheila Jackson Lee is supporting Hillary. As Lee put it last night, as my sweetie sighed and squirmed in his seat and I nodded in recognition and agreement, is that Hillary connects with people, and especially with women. And while part of it is that she is a woman, they get that Hillary gets it. She gets our lives. She sees what we and our families need, and she is coming out with solid proposals for every leg of the middle-class stool. Jobs, health care, retirement, education, energy, etc. And they believe she has the experience and ability to get the job done.

On a related note, John Edwards was a guest on Bill Maher last night as well, and for a presidential candidate, he spent an awful lot of time talking about Hillary instead of himself , but I digress. My biggest bone of contention was how he mischaracterized her health care plan and implied that the only people she had brought to the table when formulating her plan were the private health insurers and corporate lobbyists. And that's just not true. She brought ALL parties to the table to help craft her health care plan, because, like it or not, this country is not going to convert to single-payer overnight. Even John Edwards' plan acknowledges that and includes (gasp!) private insurers. So for him to imply that Hillary is solely in the pocket of the private health insurers is disingenuous at best.

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