Asked to define the middle class, Hillary fails - drifts into miserable, meaningless, word salad

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Friday September 30th, 2016


Hillary Clinton has vowed, many, many, times, not to "raise taxes on the middle class."  The middle class, she'll argue, must be protected, encouraged, nurtured, and grown. That's super, but if you ask her to define the middle class, things tend not to go so well. In fact, it appears she doesn't really know what she thinks the middle class actually is.

Take a look at what happened when a reporter asked her for a concrete definition of Hillary's favorite voting bloc:

In case you can't hear her, the big three bullet points are the "“middle class is a hard-to-define economic target,” it's “a reflection of the success of the United States from the very beginning,” and “the middle class is both real and aspirational.”

What that means is anyone's guess.

Previously, she's vowed not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.  That might be what she thinks the middle class is, or it might not.  ...And the $250K figure isn't really set in stone anyway. As ATR points out, it's more of a guideline than a pledge:

During a July 31 CBS 60 Minutes interview, correspondent Scott Pelley asked Clinton about her tax pledge: 

Scott Pelley: “Who gets a tax increase? Who gets a tax cut?”

Hillary Clinton: “The middle class will not get a tax increase. That has been my pledge.”

Scott Pelley: “What does middle class mean?”

Hillary Clinton: “Well, we say below $250,000”

But when pressed on the issue on ABC’s This Week in Dec. 2015, Clinton balked and said her pledge was actually just a “goal”:

George Stephanopoulos: “You are also saying no tax increases at all on anyone earning $250,000. Is that a rock solid read-my-lips promise?”

Clinton: “Well, it certainly is my goal. And I’ve laid it out in this campaign. And it’s something that President Obama promised. It’s something my husband certainly tried to achieve. Because I want Americans to know that I get it.”

So, Clinton’s “pledge” is not real. She admitted as much.

The reality here is that Hillary probably could give you a concrete definition regarding what she feels "middle class" means.  She just doesn't want to.  If she sets a specific bracket in stone, she'll get roasted when - not if - she raises taxes on it.  On the other hand, if she keeps the definition nebulous, she can always claim "you're not what I consider middle class" when you get hit with your hike.

This kind of semantic number-shifting is cowardly, but it's been a staple of the Clinton playbook since Bill was in office.

If they don't give you an example to live up to, you can't get angry when they fail to live up to it.

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