BY TAYLOR MARSH
from Washington, D.C.
It’s the chance Democrats haven’t had in decades. Inspiring working-class people,
lunch bucket Democrats and former Reagan Democrats to vote their economic interests. To bring them home. Nobody understands how Hillary did it. Nobody remembers when it happened. But
it’s real. It’s these people who are coming back to the Democratic party and they’re doing it because of Hillary.
All over North Carolina and Indiana, crowds of teachers and truckers, salespeople
and small business owners, have been hailing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
as one of their own.
…Whatever the results of the primaries on Tuesday in Indiana and North
Carolina, Mrs. Clinton has accomplished the seemingly impossible in those
states. Somehow, a woman who has not regularly filled her own gasoline tank
in well over a decade, who with her husband made $109 million in the last
eight years and who vacations with Oscar de la Renta, has transformed herself
into a working-class hero. … ..
It doesn’t matter that the Clintons have made it and are now millionaires themselves.
They built their political lives up in Arkansas. Bill grew up there. Against
the feelings of her feminist friends, Hillary gave up everything to build a
life with him there.
But the door that allowed working-class Hillary to emerge in the primary season was opened by Barack
Obama. It wasn’t the moment we all found out he sucks at bowling. It was when he opened his
mouth and choked on a San Francisco size gaffe that unlocked “bittergate.”
The gax tax holiday is the outcome, with Hillary willing to get down into it with people who want to be heard, and Obama refusing to let his heart be his guide. It represents a line
in the sand between Hillary and Obama.
To many people it’s not the gas tax
holiday that’s the issue. It’s a politician who understands that people are
getting nickel and dimed to death and they want someone to stand up and acknowledge that they’ve been heard. It’s also an opening.
At Indiana Tech College in Fort Wayne on Sunday, she repeated a favored anecdote,
about watching a young commuter paying $63 for a half-tank of gasoline.
“Ninety-five dollars!” cried an audience member, offering his
“One hundred and two dollars!” another called.
Exuding empathy, Mrs. Clinton bellows accusations at the villains of her
speeches Ã¢â‚¬” oil companies, the Chinese government and George W. Bush
Ã¢â‚¬” and returns to a plaintive voice to plead the case of hard-working
Hoosiers or Tar Heels. She raises eyebrows and arms in exaggerated indignation.
Students who take jobs they do not particularly want after graduation just
to repay loans are “indentured servants,” while Americans who
took out mortgages they could not afford are victims of manipulation.
She never quite says, “I feel your pain,” Bill Clinton’s
most famous line of the 1992 presidential election, but she comes close.
We’ll see today if it’s the game changer.