The rollout for Hillary Clinton's book, "Hard Choices," was supposed to be the informal launch of her campaign for the White House ... but it blew up on the launchpad.
The chapter in her book on Benghazi is only 33 pages long, but it's the only really important part of her achievement-free tenure as secretary of state. It was immediately noticed that her book incorrectly claimed Marines were stationed in Tripoli, Libya, before the Sept. 11, 2012 attack. She writes as though it was Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens' idea to go to Benghazi, where he was killed, even though congressional testimony has linked Mrs. Clinton to the decision. She claimed she wasn't reading cables sent to her from Libya, which would be a lot easier to swallow if the cables were coming from just about anywhere other than Libya in 2012. That's not really the sort of "buzz" you want building around your book.
The real fun started when Mrs. Clinton talked to Diane Sawyer of ABC News about the book, and her incredibly difficult life after Bill Clinton left office. "We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," she claimed. "We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy."
Are you kidding me? The Clintons left the White House as millionaires. Mrs. Clinton signed an $8 million book deal before she left. Her Senate salary plus Bill's pension work out to a half-million dollars a year, and that's just a fraction of their income. Notice that she said she had trouble paying the mortgages, plural. That's because the Clintons owned two mansions, worth about $12 million put together. They bought the second one to establish a residence in New York so Hillary could run for the Senate.
Yes, they had a ton of legal debt to pay off. Does everyone remember why? Do the words "perjury," "adultery," and "impeachment" ring any bells? All their legal debts were settled within four years of Clinton leaving office.
Look, it's painful to have big bills piled on your back, even when you're worth millions. Rich people don't like seeing red ink in their ledgers, any more than working stiffs do. However, for Mrs. Clinton to portray herself as a struggling working mother who had trouble putting her daughter through school is outrageous and obscene. There are people losing their modest homes because they can't afford mortgage payments. That's a lot different than looking at a big stack of legal bills from one of your two lavish estates and thinking your husband needs to get busy making $200,000 speeches to clear them up.
The reason Mrs. Clinton talks this way is that she's trying to bully her critics into silence. Say a bad word about her, and you're attacking all the hard-working moms of America. Turn the Democrats' class-warfare rhetoric against her and point out her lavish lifestyle, and her supporters will say you hate strong, successful women and don't understand what she had to go through before she got rich.
It's called identity politics, and it's killing us. It intimidates people out of asking the tough questions that every politician — of every race and sex, from any part of America — should face.
If you decide you like Mrs. Clinton as a candidate because of her position on the issues, fine, but the two worst reasons in the world to vote for her — or anyone else — are because you feel sorry for her, or because you're afraid to criticize her.
For the first time and most likely not the last, Hillary Clinton, you are the Liberal Bully of the Week.
Rusty Humphries, a nationally syndicated talk-radio host, is a contributor to The Washington Times