So, Hillary Clinton is being asked to release the transcripts from some speeches she gave to companies such as Goldman Sachs, where she was paid a lot of money for them. Some allege that the money they offered was not for her wit and wisdom but was to get access to her and her husband. They suggest that if she really had nothing to hide, she would have no reason to not release the transcripts. So, they say, just release them already! What could possibly go wrong?
So, they claim, as soon as Hillary releases the transcripts of the speeches, all of the criticism will just stop, right? That plan has worked so well for Democrats before. It has been a winning strategy for the Clintons, or has it?
Back in the early 1990s, Bill and Hillary Clinton lived in the White House. People on the right were investigating their investments in the Whitewater Development Corporation. To address these issues, Hillary held a press conference that went on for more than an hour. It was dubbed the “pink pantsuit press conference” after what she was wearing that day. She answered all of the reporters’ questions on the subject in the hope that by being open and honest about the situation, the problem would go away. Sure enough, the press never mentioned it again. Oh, wait. It dogged both Clintons until he left the White House in 2001.
You can watch that press conference here:
But maybe there are other instances where critics of a politician or party ask for some information, they get it, and it shuts them up. Let’s see…
Oh, right. The right wing of this country came up with the idea that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. If only he would release his birth certificate, they would accept it and move on. So he released this:
This was the first birth certificate Obama released.
After Obama released this, the right wing shut up right?
No! Then we had “the Donald” rant and rave about the issue. He said he would stop talking about the issue of Obama’s birthplace if only the president would release the long form birth certificate. This prompted the White House to go ahead and release this:
Here’s the “long form” birth certificate. Finally, the “birthers” will shut the hell up.
So, Donald Trump got what he wanted, right?
No! This controversy just never wants to end.
With Hillary, some people think it is suspicious that she was paid so much money just to talk. Matt Terzi wrote this about the subject:
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.
Now, I have nothing but respect and admiration for Matt and many of the other people who are on the #FeeltheBern side of things but the argument that the only reason Hillary would not release her transcripts is that she is hiding something. I just do not agree with their reasoning nor does it match my recollection of the Clintons’ experience with the media and their political opponents.
One funny thing about the calls to release the transcripts of the speeches is they fail to mention that the only reason transcripts of these speeches exist at all is because Hillary herself required someone attend her events who would provide transcription services. This is not always the way things are done at events like the ones where she spoke. You can read about that here.
This all may be neither here nor there. I do not think the people who paid Hillary to speak got anything more than a speech. I think a bigger issue is that if someone thinks she did sell more than a speech when she took all that money, nothing contained in the transcripts is going to change that. The Clintons have been a kind of Rorschach test for the American public. You see in their actions what you want to see. If you like them, their actions can be at best good for the world and at worst they are forgivable. If you do not like them, you see nefarious intent and other evil doing behind everything they do. That is the reason we will probably never see these transcripts.
(Photo By United States Department of State (Official Photo at Department of State page) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)