Notwithstanding her prodigious fundraising abilities, Hillary Clinton has always — and I mean since the first round of post-Watergate options — publicly favored public financing of elections. Yesterday, on the one talk show I watched (who could watch more and remain sane?), she parried Tim Russert’s reasonable question about how it was that she took $800,000 from the on the lam Norman Hsu. At length she said, (to paraphrase) a) well, lots of people took money from him, b) we just missed the fact that he was a convicted criminal and c) the way to avoid this sort of thing is public (read: taxpayer) financed elections.
Just after the 1992 elections I had the dubious privilege of combing the prior decade’s worth of Clinton tax records. In addition to the very funny itemized charitable deductions for each piece of used clothing, including Bill’s vaunted briefs, was this notable fact: not once in the decade had Hillary bothered to check off the little box so that her dollar or two could go to election finance. Never. Just a little checkmark, from money she was already paying.
Not that anyone believes that she really wants taxpayer financed elections now, for herself, given the power of her virtual/marital incumbency to raise cash. But as students of human nature, isn’t it comforting to know that she has been consistent in her belief that the rules she promulgates for others don’t apply to her?