The Campaign Spot

No, Hillary Clinton Will Not Reform Washington.

National Journal’s Ron Fournier talks to Hillary Clinton’s friends and supporters and writes a “memo” of advice to her, based upon their thoughts. His conclusion:

Pope Francis has reminded us of the power of small gestures. Without changing the Vatican’s ideology one iota, he has transformed the way people think about the Catholic Church, one symbolic act at a time. And consider the parallels between your job and that of the pope — an old man running an ancient institution marred by scandal and incompetence. You can be just as transformative. Actually, if you run for president, you must be. That’s what a few of us think.

Stop. Just stop.

Hillary Clinton is more inside Washington than the District of Columbia Sewer and Water Authority. She’s lived and worked there since January 1993 — please, no more implausible spin that her heart is really in Chappaqua and that she’s always been a Yankee fan. As first lady, then senator, then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has probably ranked among the five most influential figures in Washington every year for the past two decades. Even during the Bush years, there were few figures in D.C. or the world that she couldn’t get a meeting with and offer her views. She’s never been shut out of the policy-making process. During most of her Senate years, particularly post-9/11, most Republicans respected her. Since then, she and her husband have turned the Clinton Foundation into an unparalleled institution for hobnobbing with the world’s elites and the Davos set, with more than a few serious allegations of influence-peddling and favor-trading. “This Town” and its methods and culture have her fingerprints all over them. Since the moment her husband was sworn in, she has been at the top of Washington’s food chain, with everyone beneath her flattering her, sucking up, hoping to win her favor and have a future friend in the Oval Office. (“Clinton has racked up at least 15 awards in the nine months since she left the State Department.”)

Nothing in Hillary Clinton’s past suggests she’s ever been that dissatisfied with the way Washington and/or the country works. For pete’s sake, while secretary of state, she had Huma Abedin under a “special contract” that allowed her to be a consultant for private clients while keeping her $135,000-per-year State Department job.

The status quo has been very, very, very good for the Clintons. They have a net worth estimated at $55 million; Hillary Clinton’s speaking fee begins at $200,000, with Wall Street banks and private-equity firms most frequently picking up the tab: Goldman Sachs, KKR, the Caryle Group. Far from an impassioned reformer, eager to overhaul a system of crony capitalism and back-scratching, Hillary Clinton is our& political and economic status quo in human form.

Expecting Hillary Clinton to be a transformative reformer of Washington is like expecting Donald Trump to become a Bolshevik, Kim Jong Un to renounce power and become a monk, or the New York Yankees to push for the end of free agency in baseball. Powerful people rarely if ever decide to completely overhaul the system that made them powerful.


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