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Tue Feb 16, 2016, 12:06 PM

Third-Rate Speeches

One of the most important issues in the 2016 Democratic primary is the relationship between Wall Street and politicians. This includes the large amount of money that large corporations and billionaires contribute to individual political campaigns, either directly or through “Super PACS.” When corporations and billionaires invest in, say, a Willard “Mitt” Romney campaign, we all agree that they are seeking to buy influence, should Romney win.

I will speculate that everyone in the DU community will agree that one of the major differences between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is that Hillary has a much closer relationship to Wall Street than does Bernie, and that her campaign and Super PAC has received significant donations from large corporations and billionaires. This puts Hillary in line with previous Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama. It is Bernie who is offering the public something different.

In a November debate, Hillary justified her close relationship with Wall Street, by pointing out that, as a Senator from New York State, she was simply trying to help people recover from 9/11. This did not go over particularly well with many people.

At a recent CNN candidates’ forum, when asked why she accepted such a massive fee for speaking to Goldman Sachs, Hillary responded, “Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered.” This, too, failed to address people’s concerns.

Last month, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton was asked if she would release the transcripts from her speeches to Goldman Sachs? At the time, Hillary laughed the question off, as if it were too ridiculous to simply ignore. But that did not quell the growing interest in the transcripts. Recently, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd relayed a viewer’s question -- again, would she release the transcripts? -- and was told by the candidate that she would look into it.

By the following day, it became clear that neither the candidate, nor her campaign, had any interest in releasing the transcripts. Joel Benenson, of the Clinton campaign, told reporters that, “I don’t think voters are interested in the transcripts of her speeches.” (NY Times; 2-5-16) Exactly what he bases this on is unclear. But what has become evident is that the Clinton campaign is not willing to release the transcripts.

Brian Fallon, also of the Clinton campaign, told reporters that, “Bernie Sanders, like Karl Rove before him, is trying to impugn Hillary Clinton’s integrity without any basis in fact.” (NYT; 2-5-16) This is curious, since it was grass roots citizens, and journalists, who have asked Hillary to release the transcripts. Sanders has simply -- and accurately -- pointed out that Ms. Clinton spoke to Goldman Sachs for enormous sums of money. Such fees, as well as campaign and Super Pac contributions, are most obviously attempts to influence any candidate who gets them.

Hillary Clinton, at her best, has asked for people to identify any one piece of legislation that she was influenced on by such gifts. Many intelligent people recognize that this influence isn’t going to be identified in one changed vote, but rather in her patterns of voting. More, if there’s absolutely no evidence of a close relationship to be found in those transcripts, why not simply release them now?

To be fair, this isn’t in league with Richard Nixon refusing to turn over the Watergate tapes. There is nothing illegal about making $600,000 by talking with Goldman Sachs. Rather, it appears more like Mitt Romney’s refusal to make his financial records public. Or VP Dick Cheney’s insisting on keeping his meeting with energy corporations secret.

I can appreciate that, if the Clinton campaign reviewed the transcripts and found nothing that suggests an all-too-cozy relationship between Hillary and Goldman Sachs, that they might conclude releasing the transcripts would only lead to the opposition -- including the republicans, should Clinton win the nomination -- to attempt to twist anything and everything else she said, to their advantage. For example, Hillary spoke about her impressions, from her time as Secretary of State, of the global community.

Yet, her experience as Secretary of State would seem to be something open to the public. These experiences were the subject of her 2014 book, “Hard Choices.” Having read that book, I can say that it went into great detail …..likely more detail than a speech could address. Hence, intelligent people are questioning what exactly do those transcripts reveal?

Obviously, if Hillary is our party’s nominee, the republicans will use her refusal to release the transcripts against her. The media will definitely highlight this. It will add to the republican talking point that Clinton is secretive, and untrustworthy. Her refusal, and her campaign’s attempts to gloss over the issue, are by definition “unforced errors.” They have already missed the opportunity to get out in front of a character issue.

All Democrats -- be they for Bernie, for Hillary, or undecided -- should want the Clinton campaign to release the transcripts. Now. Not later ….say, during the general election. If one is pro-Hillary, and wants to let the air out of the Sanders revolution, release the transcripts, to prove there is nothing questionable in them. If you are pro-Bernie, and want to do something revolutionary, start contacting the media -- be it letters-to-the-editor of your local newspaper, or e-mailing various shows on MSNBC -- and demand that the transcripts be made public.

I’ve noted several times on this forum that I support Bernie Sanders, though if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, I will campaign and vote for her. My ability to do so effectively will depend upon how the candidate and her campaign handle issues such as this. Thank you for reading this, and I will be interested in responses from people, no matter if they agree or disagree with me on this.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 12:19 PM

1. Eloquently expressed. I think she should release the transcripts now.

The voters deserve to know what her views are on the big banks, and what she said to them.

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Response to peacebird (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 01:36 PM

5. Thank you.

I would think that both the pro-Hillary and pro-Sanders members of the DU community would be in favor of releasing the transcripts. The issue is going to go away if the Clinton campaign merely ignores it, or attempts to downplay its significance.

I feel bad that the majority of pro-Clinton DUers ignore my OPs simply because they dislike me, and consider me to be an enemy. As I've noted, I will campaign and vote for our party's nominee. If it is indeed Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party would benefit from having progressives like myself, who are serious about supporting her, and will be in a far better position to convince other progressives to vote for her, than the vast majority of our pro-Hillary community members.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 12:28 PM

2. One gets a true sense from 6 figure "donations" to a non-official person.

 

Inevitable is not an official role.

And how would we know for sure...if she can hire people to change names on photos and such, I'm sure she can hire a speechwriter to come up with a fine one. Which of the donors would call her on it?

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 12:52 PM

3. It wasn't even a donation. It was a fee-for-service arrangement.

You hire a plumber to repair your sink. You pay him a fee for his service. The money goes into his bank account.

They hired Clinton to make speeches. She was paid a fee for this service. The money went into her bank account.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 12:56 PM

4. Indeed. Service in the future, in this case. I wonder if they'll be asking for refunds?

 

Or, if the "fees" will significantly change when she is still a non-official person after the GE?

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 02:30 PM

7. Precisely. n/t

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 04:35 PM

10. Interesting word,

plumbers, in the context of a response to post #2.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 04:32 PM

9. Interesting.

You raise a valid point. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 02:27 PM

6. She is in trouble either way..the question Todd relayed to her might be his single best

calculation to ask a candidate in his entirely lackluster career.

If the question had come from a Republican or the Sanders camp, her lack
of response to not provide them might be seen as almost reasonable. Yet that
did not happen and for her, I think she either said enough to damage herself
directly and or even if the transcripts sound completely benign....b/c it then begs the
question why would any group pay you that kind of money for information that
clearly would not be worth those sums.

I noticed at the last debate they decided not to ask her if she would
release them, I found that interesting. Instead they mention GOP
talking points.

As Bernie said that night, the American people are not dumb.

If she wins the nomination I support her in the sense she keeps the SCOTUS
safe, I trust that and will vote to keep that intact..she will do that.
I won't ever say I trust her ties to WS to anyone, that will not ever come
from me, it is simply not true.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 02:55 PM

8. I agree - she should release them and take any lumps that might follow...

Then it will be old news by the time she's the nominee.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 04:35 PM

11. I keep going back to this point:

If there were nothing incriminating/shocking in her speeches, Hillary would have released them already. She hasn't and apparently will never do so.

I still think they will get leaked one way or another; if not in the Primaries, then in the GE if she's the nominee.

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Response to enigmatic (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 04:53 PM

12. This right here is the reason why she should release them now.

If not now, then this issue would rear it's ugly head again in the General, so the GOP can campaign on it ad nauseum.

If she is avoiding it now, does she think it isn't worth revealing the content of the speeches if she isn't the nominee?

She is hoping we forgot about it.

Hahahahahahahahaha.


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2016, 10:03 PM

13. I'm glad you brought this up.

I've been watching the comments on this subject, yet didn't make the connection as to how important it is. Not to be in denial of how scary that is, I watched Bernie's rally tonight, and it was confidence inspiring to say the least. Killer Mike and Nina Turner, et al. But in the event that we find things take a turn, I'm motivated to make sure there's some pressure on this. Thanks.

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