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Sunday, April 17, 2016
Release of Clinton's Wall Street Speeches Could End Her Candidacy for President
Hillary Clinton, pictured with Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein in 2014, has recently been on the defensive about the speaking fees she and her husband have collected. (Photo: Stephen Chernin/AFP/Getty Images)
The reason you and I will never see the transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street fat-cats — and the reason she’s established a nonsensical condition for their release, that being an agreement by members of another party, involved in a separate primary, to do the same — is that if she were ever to release those transcripts, it could end her candidacy for president.
Nor do we even need to take Clinton’s word for it — as we could certainly argue that her insistence that none of these transcripts ever be seen by the public is itself a confession that her words would cause significant trauma to her presidential bid.
In fact, it appears they’d cause enough trauma that Clinton would rather publicly stonewall — to the point of being conspicuously, uncomfortably evasive — in public debate after public debate, to endure damning editorial after damning editorial, and to leave thousands and thousands of votersfurther doubting her honesty and integrity, all to ensure that no one outside Goldman Sachs, and certainly no voter who wasn’t privy to those closed-door speeches, ever hears a word of what she said in them.
Nor should we do here what Senator Sanders kindly declined to do at the Democratic debate last night, which is mention any of the proof — voluminous as it is, as Sanders conceded in a post-debate interview that cited Elizabeth Warren’s criticisms of Clinton — that during the housing crisis Clinton acted precisely like a politician who’d been bought off by Wall Street.
As Politico hasnoted, “During 2007 and 2008, when the housing market collapsed and while [Clinton] was also running for president, the Democrats controlled the Senate. Of the 140 bills Clinton introduced during that period, five [3.5%] were related to housing finance or foreclosures, according to congressional records, including one aimed at making it easier for homeowners facing foreclosure to get their loans modified. Only one of the five secured any co-sponsors — New York Senator Charles Schumer signed onto a bill that would have helped veterans refinance their mortgages.”
Two years. One legitimate bill. And even then, only one co-sponsor — a same-state Senator.
When a Congressional bill gets no co-sponsors, either it’s an unserious bill or it’s a bill whose sponsor did nothing to push it. Neither possibility is in Clinton’s favor.
But enough of that.
The real experts on this topic are the friends and acquaintances of Hillary’s who, for whatever reason, have chosen to be candid about what they believe is in those speeches. And it’s only that candor that helps explain the longest-running mystery of the Democratic primary — a mystery that’s been ongoing for over seventy days — which is this: why would anyone pay $225,000 for an hour-long speech by a private citizen who (at the time) claimed to have no interest in returning to politics?
Mr. Sanders has implied that there are only two possible answers: (a) the money wasn’t for the speeches themselves, but for the influence major institutional players on Wall Street thought that money could buy them if and when Clinton ran for President; or (b) the speeches laid out a defense of Wall Street greed so passionate and total that hearing it uttered by a person of power and influence was worth every penny.
Per Clinton surrogates and attendees at these speeches, the answer appears to be both (a) and (b).