Hillary: I’ll Show You My Wall Street Transcripts If You Show Me Yours
This is starting to get ridiculous, Hillary, and it’s starting to hurt your campaign, too. Will you please just release the damn Wall Street transcripts so we can get back to focusing on the issues?
For the past several months, Hillary Clinton’s progressive critics have been churning controversy over quasi-secret paid speeches Clinton previously delivered to huge Wall Street firms and banks like Goldman Sachs, UBS, Citigroup, Bank of America, and others.
Speculation over these speeches has reached a critical mass in the past few weeks, especially after it was revealed that Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have earned more than $153 million in speaking fees since 2001, a staggering amount of money that firmly plants them both in the upper 1% that Bernie Sanders so vehemently campaigns against.
The Clinton campaign has refused to release the transcripts of those speeches, fueling controversy and conspiracy theories as to what those transcripts might be withholding from voters. Is Hillary Clinton really the corporate shill her progressive political rivals paint her to be? Would her presidential administration be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wall Street and big banks?
On Sunday, Clinton teased those critics with an unrealistic proposition, saying she would release her Wall Street transcripts only if all of her campaign rivals did the same. But it was clearly an empty gesture: she knows full-well that the Republican candidates have no reason or desire to release that data, nor are they held to the same standards by GOP primary voters that we progressives hold our own political candidates to.
Just Release The Damn Wall Street Transcripts Already!
Hillary Clinton refusing to release her Wall Street transcripts, and then setting up ridiculous, arbitrary, unrealistic conditions for their release paints a picture that the Clinton campaign simply cannot afford right now, not with Bernie Sanders quickly closing in on her in national polling.
If the former Secretary of State has nothing to hide, then releasing the transcripts ends the ceaseless speculation and helps steer the debate back to matters of policy. But if she had nothing to hide, surely those transcripts would’ve been released already, right?
Unless, of course, Clinton is taking a play from President Obama’s 2008 campaign, when he refused to appease conspiracy theorists by releasing his long-form birth certificate (a conspiracy that was ironically created by supporters of Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid). But the conditions there are wholly different; Obama was born in Hawaii, and that fact had already been confirmed by every official and expert under the sun. He did eventually cave and release the long-form birth certificate, of course… right before announcing to the world that he’d just killed Osama Bin Laden. Talk about a mic-drop.
Clinton’s Wall Street transcripts are a whole other matter, however. Her refusal to release them indicates to many of her progressive critics that she might be attempting to cover up the contrast between her cozy relationship with those firms and her campaign’s recent attempts to adopt the more populist message that she’d “take on” or “fight” the abuses and crimes of Wall Street with the same passion and fervor as Elizabeth Warren or her primary competition, Bernie Sanders.
So how should Clinton go about shutting down this narrative once and for all? That’s simple: release the transcripts and end the speculation. If she has nothing to hide, great, that’s that. If she’s friendlier with those firms than the public would find acceptable, she can do what Hillary Clinton has done best in recent years: “evolve” on the issues at hand and prove her convictions for her newest adopted cause of Wall Street reform.
The one thing Clinton definitely should not continue doing? Keeping those Wall Street transcripts out of the hands of the American public. If the transcripts are bad, she can explain them and move on from them. If they’re good, she’ll shut down the conspiracies point-blank. But by keeping them secret, all she’s doing is fueling the fire… a fire that will soon become big enough that a vast majority of democratic primary voters will #FeelTheBern.