08 October 2016

She Should Have Released the Transcripts in July

It appears that someone hacked some of Clinton's emails, and included in these documents were excerpts of her obscenely remunerated speeches to Wall Street:
In lucrative paid speeches that Hillary Clinton delivered to elite financial firms but refused to disclose to the public, she displayed an easy comfort with titans of business, embraced unfettered international trade and praised a budget-balancing plan that would have required cuts to Social Security, according to documents posted online Friday by WikiLeaks.

The tone and language of the excerpts clash with the fiery liberal approach she used later in her bitter primary battle with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and could have undermined her candidacy had they become public.

Mrs. Clinton comes across less as a firebrand than as a technocrat at home with her powerful audience, willing to be critical of large financial institutions but more inclined to view them as partners in restoring the country’s economic health.

In the excerpts from her paid speeches to financial institutions and corporate audiences, Mrs. Clinton said she dreamed of “open trade and open borders” throughout the Western Hemisphere. Citing the back-room deal-making and arm-twisting used by Abraham Lincoln, she mused on the necessity of having “both a public and a private position” on politically contentious issues. Reflecting in 2014 on the rage against political and economic elites that swept the country after the 2008 financial crash, Mrs. Clinton acknowledged that her family’s rising wealth had made her “kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class.

The passages were contained in an internal review of Mrs. Clinton’s paid speeches undertaken by her campaign, which was identifying potential land mines should the speeches become public. They offer a glimpse at one of the most sought-after troves of information in the 2016 presidential race — and an explanation, perhaps, for why Mrs. Clinton has steadfastly refused demands by Mr. Sanders and Donald J. Trump, her Republican rival, to release them.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign would not confirm the authenticity of the documents. They were released on Friday night by WikiLeaks, the hacker collective founded by the activist Julian Assange, saying that they had come from the email account of John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman.


But Clinton officials did not deny that the email containing the excerpts was real.

The leaked email, dated Jan. 25, does not contain Mrs. Clinton’s full speeches to the financial firms, leaving it unclear what her overall message was to these audiences.

But in the excerpts, Ms. Clinton demonstrates her long and warm ties to some of Wall Street’s most powerful figures. In a discussion in the fall of 2013 with Lloyd Blankfein, a friend who is the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Mrs. Clinton said that the political climate had made it overly difficult for wealthy people to serve in government.

“There is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives,” Mrs. Clinton said. The pressure on officials to sell or divest assets in order to serve, she added, had become “very onerous and unnecessary.”
We know the content of Hillary's speeches to Wall Street.

We know her history, we know her associates, we know what sort of support she has received from Wall Street, and we know that if she had actually talked tough to Wall Street, she would have released the speech transcripts at the beginning of the campaign, so the general shape of the contents of her speeches are known.

The contents are not a surprise, and so are not a hugely significant bit of news.

What is significant is that Clinton has had more than 2 months since the end of Democratic National Convention to release the contents on her own terms in a way that would minimize the impact on the campaign.

That she chose to continue sitting on this information IS significant though, because this sort of behavior amplifies the damage caused by the inevitable missteps that are an inevitable part of being a public figure.

While the recent Trump revelations might mitigate the impact of this particular incident, or any further outbreaks during the campaign, the furtive paranoia that characterizes Clinton's public life might very well prove disastrous as President.

As Richard Nixon proved, "It ain't the crime, it's the cover-up."


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