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Posted by on Feb 24, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 3 comments

What is Hillary Clinton Hiding?

 

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I’ll begin my diatribe with the usual disclaimer.

New readers joining the fray might assume from my accusatory question masquerading as a blog headline that I’m one of those bug-eyed Hillary-bashing right-wing dick swingers who’s been poking along for any crack they can find in the formidable Clinton armor, sensing the scent of tainted blood to feed their inner vampires of hate.  I’m not.

Give Clinton credit.  A shitload of credit.  Her scandals by the dirty dozen and detractors by the militant millions haven’t managed to lay so much as limp-wristed glove on America’s pant-suited rendition of the Iron Lady.  The goons and gremlins have spent 25 mostly fruitless years hurling pointless investigations, frantic witch hunts, and fabricated jello fights mostly fueled by misogynistic lunatics who spend weekends burying gold coins out in the back yard and stockpiling canned food.  If anything, if nothing else, Clinton’s proven to be one tough-as-nails battle-ax who can take a punch with the best and then clinch her fist and fire two back with a set of brass knuckles.  She clearly brighter and has bigger balls than any Republican in the field.  In many ways, she’s almost an ideal presidential candidate.

However….

Hillary Clinton has one fundamental problem.  She has an Achilles heel the size of a club foot attached to the Elephant Man.  Her issue?  She’s not trustworthy.  That’t not my opinion, folks.  That’s the popular perception of millions of independent voters, those unbiased who will ultimately decide the outcome the presidential election to be held eight months from now.  If Clinton cannot appeal to (and win) independent voters, she’s not just burned toast.  She’s an incinerated chunk of charcoal destined for political ash.  Face the heat, fight the fire, and look at the facts.  Especially you — the Clinton people reading this.  You’re driving straight into a shit storm wearing blinders.

By all accounts and every national poll, Clinton’s personal negatives have soared a whopping 27 percent among independent voters within the last three months.  And those percentages are worsening.  A recent Washington Post article screamed “Independents like Hillary less than in 2008,” and she lost in 2008!  Sure, cynical conservatives, Republican loyalists, and women-bashers believe Hillary’s a She-Devil.  I’m not talking about that miserable group of misanthropists.  They’re misguided and frankly, not worth mulling over since they’d never support Clinton anyway, even if she were running against a wacko madman (which looks like it might happen).  What concerns me — and should frighten the Clinton Campaign more — are the average people out there who don’t align with either party, those pinballs bouncing off bumpers during the middle of an election cycle who make up their minds based on issues like character and likability (actual substance be damned) and ultimately swing the outcome just a few points, which tilts the key swing states and basically elects our presidents.  It’s not the hard-core activists which determine the winner because they tend to cancel each other out; rather, it’s those people in the middle.  De facto, they matter.  This critical group of voters doesn’t like Clinton very much and that reason is simple — they don’t trust her.

Now, I know most ginned-up scandals that have surfaced against both Clintons have pretty much been martinis laced with sour olives.  They’re soaked in lies and then spiked on innuendo.  In her defense, one of Clinton’s best personal moments occurred last year when she effectively muzzled and then paddle whipped a bunch of red-faced pricks during her congressional testimony on the Benghazi killings.  Americans recognized that so-called “investigation” for the partisan charade it was, exploding in the faces of Republicans — thus giving Clinton a rare chance to run up the scoreboard and spike the ball straight into their jockstraps.  Clinton politely and confidently displayed the conviction and grace that one expects from someone wanting to become the next president.  That could have (and should have) been a definitive moment.  Since then, however, she’s handled other incidents far less convincingly.

Clinton isn’t untrustworthy because of the Benghazi bullshit, and she might not even have done anything particularly egregious in the e-mail exchange matter, either.  Who knows?  That issue is still being investigated.  What’s far more troubling is her all-too cozy relationship with Wall Street, the big banks, and mega-corporations.  On one hand, she runs out in the daylight portraying herself as an FDR-style populist and pro-consumer reformer.  She’s even been stealing Bernie Sanders’ talking points and copying his Tweets, promising that she’s the real progressive in the race.  Yet, time and time again — her voting record while in the U.S. Senate reveals something totally different.

Fact is, Clinton has given multiple speeches in private, making all kinds of promises to some pretty powerful and connected people behind closed doors.  In just the last three years, she’s earned more than $13 million from these speeches.  Together with Bill Clinton, the power couple has combined to earn a whopping $153 million, just from speeches!  Voters have every right to question what was said during her remarks to Wall Street power brokers.  What promises were made?  What assurances were given?  Typically, Clinton collected between $100,000-$250,000 per speech, for about 20 minutes of talking.  What could possibly be said that was that intriguing or entertaining to command what amounts to about $10,000 per minute?

A few days ago, a few transcripts of these meetings were leaked out to the press.  For Clinton, this revelation published at Politico wasn’t pretty.  Worse, she wasn’t the one who actually came clean and provided the information.  Most damning of all, according to one attendee who listened to the speech, “(Hillary Clinton) sounded like the Goldman Sachs managing director.”  Wow.  This is the candidate touting a pro-consumer message?  Read in full:  “What Clinton said in her paid speeches”

One excerpt:  “Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon dismissed the recollections as “pure trolling,” while the Clinton campaign declined to comment further on calls that she release the transcripts of the three paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs, for which she earned a total of $675,000.”

The question about what Clinton secretly promises Wall Street behind closed doors came up during one of the presidential debates, held a few weeks ago.  When asked about this issue point blank, Clinton responded with this:  “I will look into it. I don’t know the status, but I will certainly look into it.”  Well, that little diddy appeared to settle the matter quickly.  It seemed over.  We all know — transparency always works best in politics, especially for a candidate burdened with serious doubts about trustworthiness.  She said she would “look into it.”

Since then, the media has been waiting for the release of transcripts, either in part, or as a complete package or a statement from the Clinton Campaign about what was discovered when she agreed to “look into it.”  It never came.  Not a single page.  Nothing.  Nada.

Now, two debates later, Clinton still hasn’t released any of the transcripts, nor explained her position — until now.  Last night during a town hall exchange where Sanders had preceded her onstage, Clinton was cornered and reminded once again about the transcripts, her exorbitant speaking fees, and the release of information that should be available to voters.  The underlying tone of that question went straight to transparency and trust.  In her latest pitch, she stated that she would only release her transcripts providede the other candidates agreed to release theirs.   Hmm, now there are conditions.  Trouble is, no other candidates have such an extensive paper trail of speeches to big companies.  When confronted with the fact that her main rival Bernie Sanders had given zero speeches to any corporate insiders (collecting such fees would be illegal for a serving U.S. Senator), Clinton again tried to shift the goalposts, this time insisting that all the candidates had to release their transcripts before she would do the same.  Again, no one else has collected fees of any consequence from meetings held in secret.  She’s now resorted to shadow boxing.

What is Hillary Clinton hiding?

Here’s some advice:  Release the fucking transcripts.  She’s already vowed to look into the matter, then started wiggling with what amounts to a childish retort, “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.”  That’s not how presidential campaigns work.  When cornered by Sanders’ and his apparent chastity on matters of political ethics, Clinton has once again withered and bunkered herself into yet another political firewall that casts even more doubts as to her character than we had before.

If there’s nothing to hide, if nothing nefarious happened during those meetings, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of in her dealings with the same crowd that once crashed the American economy onto the rocks and nearly caused another global depression, then release the transcripts.  Apparently, Clinton has forgotten the seedy history of how hidden tapes and transcripts can ultimately sink a presidency.  They can sure as hell sink a presidential campaign, too.  Somewhere, President Nixon’s ghost is whispering.

Of course, none of this would be an issue except that Clinton has a big trust problem and she’s only making things worse by evading legitimate requests while hiding in the darkness.  Consider, if you will, the following five-minute clip from Bill Moyers which appeared on PBS several years ago, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren first blew the lid off of Clinton’s cozy insider dealings and promises made to big banks and corporations who wanted political favors at the expense of working people — particularly women, minorities, and students.  Bottom line:  She’s already thrown consumers under the bus once when Wall Street gave her a first-class ticket.  Listen to what happened here:

 

 

When guilt or innocence gets decided, justice is usually based on a preponderance of evidence, either on way or the other.  No single controversy proves that Clinton is untrustworthy or unethical.  But when added together, the evidence increasingly becomes damning.

Never mind that we’ve been down this road before.  Numerous times.  Never mind that Clinton made a small fortune on cattle futures, or that she allowed herself to get deeply involved in the shady dealings of Whitewater, or that she shilled for her horny husband while he was repeatedly lying through his teeth.  Also, never mind that Clinton was foolish enough to get hoodwinked by two catastrophic wars for which she was a cheerleader, or that she voted for the Patriot Act which curtails civil liberties and individual rights to privacy.  Furthermore, never mind that Clinton made some bumbling errors of judgement with her private e-mails, or that she engaged in ugly push polling techniques against then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008 and is now doing the same against Bernie Sanders in 2016.  Forget all that.

Let’s just focus on just one thing:  What did Hillary Clinton say in private to the wealthiest and most powerful leaders of this country behind closed doors?  American voters have a right to know what promises were made and what she really intends to deliver, if she’s elected in 2016.  How the next president intends to deal with Wall Street and economic issues is arguably the most important issue of those election.  For any candidate — especially with her questionable track record — to boast about being pro-consumer and on the side of average working people and while collecting millions in speaking fees from many of the same companies that are squeezing the lower and middle class and then hiding the records of those meetings is SCANDALOUS.

Unless Hillary Clinton releases the full transcripts and comes clean with her associations with big banks and giant corporations, increasingly voters will continue to mistrust her.  That’s not a threat.  That’s a fact.

And then, lacking the support of independent voters, their trust shattered, she will lose the election.  Deservedly so.  Getting ahead of myself?  I don’t think so.

This issue of transcripts could not be of any higher importance.  Release the records.  Right now.  Come clean.  Unless, of course, there’s something to hide.  Given that Donald Trump might be her next opponent and could get elected, then we’re potentially all fucked.  And the major reason for that horror will be Hillary Clinton’s inherent and undeniable dishonesty.

 

Update:  This text has been edited slightly from the original.  In the first version of this article, I claimed that Clinton has promised to divulge the contents of the transcripts in the first presidential debate when the issue surfaced.  That was not exactly the case.  The version above more accurately relays the course of events and her comments. 

3 Comments

  1. Brilliant!

  2. Right on the Money!

  3. I posted this on Facebook but will do so here as well. I’m not happy with this column. Here’s why:
    I’ll try to keep this short but there are well-known principles in cognitive and social psychology that explain this vague feeling that she lacks trustworthiness. First, as Nolan pointed out, virtually nothing has stuck. No attack, no charge, no accusation has been substantiated. Yet, the cumulative effect of them all has. Let’s begin with Tiger’s comment that he was suspicious when she first appeared with Bubba over the Flowers’ affair. That’s pretty much when it started. Then they went after her for not being the good wife and a proper First Lady (Eleanor got the shit in the ’30s) and sticking her nose into policy (the Clinton’s effort at health care reform). This was followed in rapid succession by claims she murdered Vince Foster, failed to give her husband a blow job so he to get it from Monica, that she was a carpetbagger into New York, that she stole the election there, that she ran a fucked up campaign in ’08, was a horrible Secretary of State, then, drum rooolll, Benghazi and now the emails, the Wall St speeches, the Clinton Foundation. So what we have is a constant barrage of accusations and there’s only one basic, human way of looking at this: We’re almost forced to lean back and say, “Holy shit, maybe SOMETHING’s going on here, somewhere. It’s the old kid in the stable filled with horseshit thing. So people get squirrelly and do what you’ve just done Nolan, written another article that suggests that something MUST be wrong here, that there’s something in those speeches, that she made too much money (really? here? in America?). And you’ve just added to that vague feeling that she can’t be trusted — despite the fact that everything we know about her is that she not only can be trusted, we trusted her with the job that most requires trustworthiness, the Secretary of State! And, you will recall, when she stepped down she was showered with praise from all quarters for the job she did (well, not the GOP). Okay, done now…

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