January 2, 2014. Manhattan. When Goldman Sachs invites you to a party, you go, especially if you have your sights set on a Presidential run in 2016. And that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton did two weeks ago. Speaking to the exclusive crowd of millionaires and billionaires, the former Secretary of State let them know in no uncertain terms that another Clinton White House would once again be on Wall Street’s side in America’s culture war.
There is an old saying in Washington that in life, you can judge a person by the company they keep. In politics, you judge a candidate by the money the seek. If there is any truth to this statement, God save the Democrats from Hillary Clinton.
It would seem that since losing the Democratic nomination in 2008, Hillary, without the benefit of any primary has somehow been anointed as the heir apparent to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course, this is hardly the first time that Hillary has been spoken of as the inevitable Democratic nominee, and we all remember how that turned out.
But now it’s 2016 (well, close enough), and while Hillary has been conspicuously mute on her intentions to run, already she is the benefactor of a well organized and well financed political machine. And for those holding their breath for a Clinton announcement, don’t expect one until after this years midterm elections, and in all likelyhood, until sometime early next year. When Hillary does finally get around to making her announcement (I’m hoping for another trite internet video just show she’s down with new media) you can bet there will much fanfare among the Democratic base.
To be honest, I’ve never entirely understood this love affair so many liberal Democrats have for Hillary Clinton.
Don’t get me wrong, I was really excited when Bill Clinton won in 1992 (a fact that is entirely owed to my parents own enthusiasm for Bill). And yes, the Clinton years were strong economic times. But let’s be honest, much of that economic strength can be attributed to what we now know was simply the beginning of an unsustainable bubble. Indeed, be every economic principle which progressive’s hold dear, Clinton did the exact opposite (NAFTA, free-trade, deregulation of financial markets, revoking of Glass-Steagall). And all of this is important when consider the potential of a Hillary White House, as time-and-again, Hillary has invoked the memory of her husband’s supposed “management” of the economy whenever it has been politically expedient to do so. Moreover, at no point has Hillary ever tried to truly distance herself from the neoliberal policies so aggressively pursued by Bill (the same policies I might add that has been the source of considerable economic injustice today).
Of even greater concern for progressives is the clear disdain Hillary has shown with respect to economic fairness and financial accountability. While speaking to several of her friends at Goldman Sachs (for which Hillary was handsomely compensated to the tune of $400,000), Hillary decided to take to task those criticizing Wall Street and the ultra-rich. As the Daily Mail reports:
“Ordinarily these masters of the universe might have groaned at the idea of a politician taking the microphone…Like many on the left, I was disheartened when Elizabeth Warren (the only individual Hillary truly fears in a primary race) seeming took her name out of contention for 2016. But that was then, and just this past week, Warren has been more coy about whether or not she will run in 2016 (the fact that she is no longer saying she won’t is a very promising sign).
“But Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish.
“Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy—it needs to stop.”
At a time when economic inequality is the second most important issue facing the United States (second only to climate change), we need a visionary leader who truly understands how economies work, finance operates, depressions start, jobs created, and how capital can flow to the benefit of all economic participants. Our nation desperately needs Elizabeth Warren (or Bernie Sanders...but I’m realistic here). We need a leader unafraid to advance the cause of the working class, one who makes corrupt bankers tremble with fear (not one who takes their money and enjoys a lavish meal with them), we need a leader who will protect the needs of the less fortunate, while thinking about the actions taken today will affect outcomes tomorrow. Hillary Clinton checks none of these boxes; Elizabeth Warren does.
In Hillary Clinton, America has but another self-serving, self-interested politician. In Elizabeth Warren, America has a champion of the working class. With Warren, America has a fighting chance—and that’s all this country has ever needed.