New York Times Asks Clinton To Show Voters Those Transcripts

Clinton Transcripts

While I bet that Hillary Clinton will claim that this is just part of the vast right wing conspiracy against her, The New York Times called on her to release the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, and debunked her excuses for failing to do so:

Mrs. Clinton, Show Voters Those Transcripts

“Everybody does it,” is an excuse expected from a mischievous child, not a presidential candidate. But that is Hillary Clinton’s latest defense for making closed-door, richly paid speeches to big banks, which many middle-class Americans still blame for their economic pain, and then refusing to release the transcripts.

A televised town hall on Tuesday was at least the fourth candidate forum in which Mrs. Clinton was asked about those speeches. Again, she gave a terrible answer, saying that she would release transcripts “if everybody does it, and that includes the Republicans.”

In November, she implied that her paid talks for the Wall Street firms were part of helping them rebuild after the 9/11 attacks, which “was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists.”

In a debate with Bernie Sanders on Feb. 4, Mrs. Clinton was asked if she would release transcripts, and she said she would “look into it.” Later in February, asked in a CNN town hall forum why she accepted $675,000 for speeches to Goldman Sachs, she got annoyed, shrugged, and said, “That’s what they offered,” adding that “every secretary of state that I know has done that.”

At another town hall, on Feb. 18, a man in the audience pleaded, “Please, just release those transcripts so that we know exactly where you stand.” Mrs. Clinton had told him, “I am happy to release anything I have when everybody else does the same, because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups.”

On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton further complained, “Why is there one standard for me, and not for everybody else?”

The only different standard here is the one Mrs. Clinton set for herself, by personally earning $11 million in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 for 51 speeches to banks and other groups and industries.

Voters have every right to know what Mrs. Clinton told these groups. In July, her spokesman Nick Merrill said that though most speeches were private, the Clinton operation “always opened speeches when asked to.” Transcripts of speeches that have been leaked have been pretty innocuous. By refusing to release them all, especially the bank speeches, Mrs. Clinton fuels speculation about why she’s stonewalling.

Her conditioning her releases on what the Republicans might or might not do is mystifying. Republicans make no bones about their commitment to Wall Street deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Mrs. Clinton is laboring to convince struggling Americans that she will rein in big banks, despite taking their money.

Besides, Mrs. Clinton is not running against a Republican in the Democratic primaries. She is running against Bernie Sanders, a decades-long critic of Wall Street excess who is hardly a hot ticket on the industry speaking circuit. The Sanders campaign, asked if Mr. Sanders also received fees for closed-door speeches, came up with two from two decades ago that were not transcribed: one to a hospital trade association, and one to a college, each for less than $1,000. Royalties from a book called “The Speech,” Mr. Sanders’s eight-hour Senate floor diatribe against President Obama’s continuation of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, were donated to the nonprofit Addison County Parent/Child Center in Vermont.

The hazards of Mrs. Clinton, a presidential hopeful, earning more than $200,000 each for dozens of speeches to industry groups were clear from the start. Mrs. Clinton was making paid speeches when she hired consultants to vet her own background in preparation for a run. If they didn’t flag this, they weren’t doing their jobs.

Public interest in these speeches is legitimate, and it is the public — not the candidate — who decides how much disclosure is enough. By stonewalling on these transcripts Mrs. Clinton plays into the hands of those who say she’s not trustworthy and makes her own rules. Most important, she is damaging her credibility among Democrats who are begging her to show them that she’d run an accountable and transparent White House.

It is a repeat of Clinton’s refusal to release her email as Secretary of State until she had no choice (minus the over fifty percent which she destroyed).

Anecdotal reports from those who have been at her speeches in various news reports suggest that she did express a level of support for the big banks which would be very embarrassing if they came out during her primary battle with Bernie Sanders, amplifying the differences between the two. We an only imagine the specifics. Counterpunch has posted the transcript of  a “leaked” speech (actually satire). Here are some excerpts:

Previous generations of Americans built this economy and a middle class on a collective illusion: that they do productive work, this creates wealth, and that this builds the economy. We all know how misguided that is. We know that it’s really due to your investing, credit, and economic stewardship, that they have been able to work at all, that they are able to put food on their tables. It’s due to you and other banking, trading, investment houses that we have an economy that works at all. You are why we are a truly 21st century economic power.

… I—contrary to populist, hysterical demonizing–firmly believe that what you do is essential and critical: you help allocate our investment, direct our economic development, hedge risks, and create power, policies, and alliances in ways that make our country stronger, richer, more powerful, more innovative, competitive, and yes, more “democratic”. You underwrite our elections and our political process—taking on the huge cost of enabling democratic dialogue at its biggest, broadest capacity. Your tireless work adds true value, and without you, we would still be struggling helplessly against industrial powerhouses in Asia and across the world trying to compete with them on the level of industry, technology, innovation, and hard work, at which they would beat us hands down. It’s your financial innovation, your speculative tools, which allow us new ways of creating value without sweat or struggle, that gives us the competitive advantage. It’s this vision, this technological innovation, this financial wizardry, this is what makes America great and powerful.

We must lower incomes for low-value working schmucks, so they give up on any notions of a middle-class life. But more than that, we must reduce the slick, unsustainable bigotry of expectation: the profit-sucking cage of entitlement, expectation, and imagination. We must drive income down steadily and siphon that surplus wealth to you, the captains of finance, so that we can build a strong economy that is innovative, powerful, that acknowledges and rewards your acumen…

And that will be my mission, from the first day I am president to the last. I…

I will get up every day thinking about you, the hard-working Wizards of Finance, Lords of Capital, Economic Giants of Innovation, Noble Titans that make us strong and powerful!

..Government has to be smarter, smaller, more focused on supporting speculative investments than the convenient politics of justice, and be a better servant of the private sector. Washington has to be a better steward—servant–of your power!  The media has to respect you! Please, let’s get back to making decisions that pay due deference to power and money!

That’s what I’ll do as president. I will seek out and welcome any good idea that is accompanied by a large check!

We can be certain that Clinton did not use these exact words in her actual speeches, but it might capture what she was thinking. We will not know what she actually said unless she releases the transcripts.

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