The $109 Million Dollar Question: Is Clinton Really A Populist?

05/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Dan Treul Dan Treul is a communications specialist living in Grand Rapids, MI.

With Clinton's victory over Obama in Pennsylvania, all the buzz seemed to be about the New York senator's ability to connect with small-town, blue collar voters. In the days that followed, the mainstream media couldn't seem to get enough of her "ordinary folks" credentials. This weekend, as Clinton defended her gas tax proposal against what she described as the "elite opinion" of professional economists, I, like so many others, had to ask the obvious question:

Since when does a Clinton get off as such a populist?

Of course there's much to be said of former President Clinton's backyard barbecues and even his wife's ill-fated attempt to reform a nation's crippled health care system. And of their ability to gloss and sugarcoat, there is no doubt (think the smooth jazz of the famous "is" line, or the senator's sleep-inducing defense of her war vote).

But as a lifelong resident of Michigan (a state that, it could reasonably be argued, defined blue collar with Henry Ford's introduction of the assembly line in the early 20th century), I find it absurd that Senator Clinton, a member already of one of the greatest political dynasties in American history, could even suggest that, in essence, "the elitists are out to get me."

I'm sorry, Senator, but your own tax returns beg to differ.

The fact of the matter is that Clinton's experts-as-enemies defense of her inept gas tax proposal is reinforcing of an increasingly worrisome spate of cowboy swagger:

America stands armed and ready to "totally obliterate" Iran.

"They would face massive retaliation."

You're either with us, or against us.

Not only is Clinton refusing to listen to the voices of reason in calling for her to end a campaign that (with respect to her own senior supporters) is functioning as little more than an oxygen tank - a temporary distraction from an impending defeat; but she is also consciously ignoring the voices of the voters - "elitist" economists and working class "ordinary folks" alike.

At an Indiana town-hall meeting Sunday morning with George Stephanopolous on ABC, Clinton failed to name even one economist that supported her proposed gas tax holiday.

As TPM reported, a woman on the show who claimed to make less than $25,000 a year had this to say:

"I do feel pandered to when you talk about suspending the gas tax. Call me crazy but I actually listen to economists because I think they know what they've studied."

How 'bout them ordinary folks, senator?