Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Giving Populism a Bad Name

Hillary Tonya Harding Clinton's latest incarnation casts her as a she-Spartacus, leading a revolt against the slaveholders of OPEC and the tyranny of an 18-cent tax on every $4 gallon of gas:

"We’re going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months in some conference room in some plush place in the world, they decide how much oil they’re going to produce and what price they’re going to put it at," she told a crowd at a firehouse in Merrillville, IN.

"That’s not a market. That’s a monopoly," she said, saying she'd use anti-trust law and the World Trade Organization to take on OPEC.

Clinton has cast herself as a warrior for working people against the oil industry and malicious "speculators," and made that -- along with her push for a gas tax holiday -- central to her closing message in Indiana.
It's hard to add to something that falls so close to parody, but I'll try. OPEC is a cartel and behaves like one -- yesterday, today, and tomorrow -- and if Clinton's bluster promises what similar bluster from similar fake populists has delivered in the past, it will amount to our collective bending over and a call of "Please, sir, may I have another! My gigantic SUV seems to be out of gas again, and I need to drive to the mall for some cargo pants."

Which is to say: I have no idea what Tonya Harding means when she says she will go right at OPEC, unless that's an Arkansas colloquialism for genuflect meekly before OPEC.

She certainly isn't going to suggest closing the obscene legal loophole whereby fuel economy standards don't apply to gigantic SUVs, not in automobile-manufacturing Indiana she isn't, not unless she can somehow work that scary "reverend" or her fake reverence for guns into the conversation.

Last but not least, should Hillary Tonya Harding She-Spartacus Clinton somehow contrive to win the Democratic nomination, we will look back at moments like these as the first, last, and only instances in which overt critiques of elites emerged from her pie-hole.

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