U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ajusts headphones at Echo Moskvy radio station Wednesday morning, Oct. 14, 2009. Clinton is wrapping up a five-day tour of Europe on Wednesday with a series of informal meetings in Moscow and the Russian republic of Tatarstan aimed at helping redefine U.S.-Russian relations. (AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Okay, let’s assume that she said what she meant to say as eloquently as possible. Let’s give her a pass on the gaffes of Women and 9/11, because while it’s entertaining from a media buzz perspective it’s not what ought to really scare you.

What’s scary is that if you take those two things out, you still have a scenario where her answer to the question of why she continues to take advantage of a tool that denigrates the very foundation of our democracy is “Well, I deserve it.”

See, deep down, Hillary Clinton knows its wrong. She’s said as much in her albeit half-hearted attacks on the Citizens United ruling. So Bernie asked her why not lead by example? Why not show the American people that democrats can win without contorting the definition of democracy? Why should liberal voters even take the risk of supporting a candidate who’s getting paid overwhelming amounts of cash by the very people who want to shut down these necessary financial reforms?

And her answer, best-case scenario, if you take out her nonsense about women and 9/11, is the height of entitlement. The most generous translation of what she meant to say at the debate is:

“I’m receiving this money for the good job I’ve done, and I deserve to keep it. And I expect you to believe that I’ve actually done such a good job, that despite knowing I’ll be working directly against their financial interest, rich people are actually willing to donate massive amounts of money to my campaign. I did such a good job that Wall Street gives it gladly, without expecting anything in return. I did such a good a job that it would almost be unfair to me if I had to just settle for the legal maximum contribution. Why should I have to leave this money sitting on the table, just because I claim to be against the very law that allows it? But don’t worry, I’ll make sure this will be the last campaign where this is allowed. Trust me.”

Does anyone believe a word of this? That the money isn’t there to influence her decisions? That the millions in her Super Pac don’t signal where her loyalties lie? Does anyone truly believe that even half of her Super Pac money comes from people with no special interests, who just have feel-good memories of her decent tenure as senator? Does anyone truly believe that even half of it has anything to do with her time in New York, 9/11 or otherwise?

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