Face it, some people just aren’t good with money. And then there are the Clintons.
The thing is (as with many things about the Clintons), they put their own twist on that old truism: They’re actually really good with money; they’re just really bad when it comes to talking about money.
First came Hillary Clinton’s tone-deaf remark to ABC’s Diane Sawyer that, when the couple exited the White House, they were “not only dead broke but in debt.”
Now, I’ve seen “dead broke” up close and personal, as in “Hey, Dad, are those repo men towing our car away?” That’s broke. Broke isn’t this: “Oh Lord, we don’t have any money until the multimillion-dollar book advance checks come and the speaking fees start rolling in.”
I mean, what’s next? Is Bill Clinton gonna tell us that the real reason he and Monica broke up was he couldn’t afford the cigars?
But wait, there’s more!
A story in Britain’s Guardian newspaper published Sunday on Hillary Clinton contained this nugget:
“America’s glaring income inequality is certain to be a central bone of contention in the 2016 presidential election. But with her huge personal wealth, how could Clinton possibly hope to be credible on this issue when people see her as part of the problem, not its solution?
“‘But they don’t see me as part of the problem,’ she protests, ‘because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.’”
Which, of course, set of howls from Republicans, still smarting from the nasty whipping Mitt Romney took in 2012 over his wealth and his apparent lack of empathy with us regular folk. (Turns out you can shop at Costco all you want, but when you have a fortune socked away in offshore accounts, no amount of spin is gonna make Joe Six-Pack think you’re buying that case of cheese puffs for yourself.)
But wait, there still more!
On Monday, an old interview with daughter Chelsea Clinton was resurrected (a shout-out to Politico for untangling the history of this piece.)
In May, Danielle Sacks, a senior writer for the American magazine Fast Company, interviewed Chelsea, and — proving that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — she had this to say about money: “I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents. I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t. That wasn’t the metric of success I wanted in my life.”
Uh, excuse me, are you the Chelsea Clinton of the $600,000-a-year job at NBC? And the $10.5 million Gramercy Park apartment? Thought so.
Look, like most people at the highest levels of American politics, the Clintons are rich. They know it; we voters know it. That fact alone probably won’t sink a Hillary Clinton presidential bid. After all, she’d just be running against another rich guy (or woman).
The rap on Romney was that he was an elitist, and he couldn’t overcome that. But the rap on the Clintons is that they are — what’s the word? — OK, duplicitous. And all this dodging and weaving about wealth fuels that fire.
So, because we’re dealing with wealth, let’s get to the bottom line: When it comes to talking about money, the Clintons should just can it.
Follow Paul Whitefield on Twitter @PaulWhitefield1.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times