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If Hillary Clinton is smiling and the Wall Street banks are smiling upon her... The rest of us should be worried. (Photo: AP)

There's a Reason the Big Banks Aren't Mad with Hillary

 And Why Those Emails Matter

John Atcheson

The Banks are hopping mad at Elizabeth Warren.  So mad, they’re threatening to stop contributing money to the Democrats unless she stops being so … so … accurate in her criticisms.


Translated, this means they realize she can’t be bought.  Small wonder – Warren has been outspoken, plainspoken and passionate on where she stands on the economic issues of the day, which, to be specific, is on the side of the 99% who have been shut out of the recovery, and against those who have purchased government from the people, lock, stock and barrel.



Which brings us to Hillary.



With Hillary – well, what are her positions on the economic issues of the day? 


Or any issues for that matter?  Every time she’s asked a question, she responds with meaningless mush couched in Orwellian new-speak.



Republicans may be running as hypocrites and dissemblers, but she is – and always has – striven to be a cipher, so she can be all things to all people. 



Look at the record – she tried to pass herself off as one of the poor, claiming to be “dead broke” when she left the White House.  Dead Broke with a guaranteed 7 figure  book deal and a 7 figure line of credit from the Wall Street crowd she regularly speaks to and for.



Or take her statement about enduring sniper fire in Bosnia – a bogus claim made to add gravitas to her stint as First Lady when she thought it expedient.



Or when it became convenient to distance herself from the Obama Administration on the foreign policy she herself was in charge of, she did it, without any hesitancy.



Whatever you want to hear, whatever you want her to be, she’ll try to shoehorn her way into being it.



What this indicates is a complete lack of any real values – or at least it suggests her lust for power trumps them.  It’s a “say anything, do anything” approach to campaigning designed solely to get into office.



Right now in Hillary’s camp, they’re going through tortuous spin doctoring – with advisors like Larry “repeal Glass-Steagall” Summers exerting huge influence.  How and why this guy or anyone like him has any clout is a mystery – unless, of course, your real intentions are to continue to treat Wall Street as your patron.  And Hillary is doing everything she can to avoid answering that question. She consistently tries to keep us from knowing who she is and what she stands for.  She campaigns by “listening” and speaks only after developing a spinned up version of her “positions” designed primarily to give her flexibility to do whatever the hell she wants to do.



And the record on that is pretty abysmal.  She’s an economic conservative who’s supported job-killing trade agreements; a hawkish neocon who supported the Iraq invasion; and a Senator with a be-kind-to-Wall Street economic policy.



But the real trouble with Ms. Clinton’s cipher candidacy is that it is a reactive strategy that cedes the terms of the debate to conservatives. 



For 30 years now, that’s been the mainstream Democratic response to the increasingly strident right wing, and as a result, the country has been dragged further and further to the right.  Today, Nixon would be considered a liberal, and Saint Ronnie Reagan would be dismissed as a middle of the roader. 



The reason for this is that people like Hillary have decided that the only way to get to the Presidency  -- or any elected office -- is to appeal to the big funders and do their best not to let the electorate discover it.  And that means they’ve been putting their ambitions ahead of their principles – assuming they have any beyond a vision of themselves in power.



At the end of the day, that’s not only bad ethics and poor values, it’s stupid politics. 



It’s time for the Democrats to run someone who says what she means, even if they lose.  Because that’s the only way they can highlight the corrosive role of money in politics and to show how corporations and big donors trump the popular will on virtually every issue.  And having put a light on that, they could change the terms of the debate and start winning elections.



Preemptive capitulation as a political strategy has had its day.  It’s time for a real debate about real issues.  And that takes a candidate who is willing to put herself and her convictions out there, front and center, not someone who’s either hiding them, or who has none.



Hillary’s not that candidate. Using a private email system is just one more bit of evidence that she’s more interested in hiding her positions than espousing them.    And the fact that she’s willing to release those emails retroactively – after they’ve been thoroughly scrubbed for “personal” messages – doesn’t fix things.



 Wanting to hide them in the first instance is the problem.  She knew better.  Every year federal employees are told to avoid even the appearance of impropriety – including clear requirements to use official email – often by people in positions comparable to Hillary’s. 



Yes, she knew better.  This wasn’t about “convenience.”  It was about wanting to be able to be the cipher candidate; it was about not having the courage of her own convictions.



That’s the real problem with those emails.



So before you let her become the “inevitable” candidate, ask yourself: why aren’t the banks mad at Hillary?

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
John Atcheson

John Atcheson

John Atcheson, 1948-2020, was a long-time Common Dreams contributor, climate activist and author of, "A Being Darkly Wise, and a book on our fractured political landscape entitled, "WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track". Follow him on Twitter @john_atcheson. John was tragically killed in a California car accident in January 2020.

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