Thursday, April 14, 2016
Somewhere, in the transcripts of Hillary's speeches, is a line so damning, so deplorable, that it would immediately sink her candidacy for President. What could this line be? Did she swear on a stack of Bibles to give the execs at Goldman Sachs their own suite in the West Wing? Did she express her genuine desire to give tax breaks to CEOs and pardon white collar criminals? Perhaps she even said something like, "I hate poor people, if only we can wipe them out." Now that, that would be devastating!
Except... all this is imaginary. It's what Bernie Sanders wants you to think when he hits Hillary, time and time again, with the same repeated lines. Hillary gave speeches to Wall Street. They gave her money. Therefore, she must intend to screw the poor, feed the rich, and ride off into the sunset with her pockets full of gold.
All this is insinuation. Bernie loves when you ask the question, "If she has nothing to hide, why won't she release her speeches?" Because the question is all he's really after. If there was truly a smoking gun, something so horrible, it's unfathomable that all the reporters covering the campaign, all the people who attended her speeches, the Democratic party leaders, etc. etc. wouldn't have unearthed it yet. Of course, Bernie and his supporters would have you believe that the fix is in--that hundreds of unrelated people--including those who would just love to make their careers on such a scoop--have conspired to keep whatever it is under wraps.
So... why doesn't Hillary release those emails... I mean speeches?
Hmm. See what I did there? I mixed up emails and speeches. Because, well, Hillary was through this whole mishegoss once before. You see, the Republicans were sure--positive--that Hillary's emails had broken confidentiality laws. Or maybe not, but surely there was something in them that revealed she was actually working for the devil. Maybe she even caused Benghazi! Ok, so there wasn't anything there, but... that's just because she didn't release them all. What about those missing emails? Oh, she released even more? Nothing in those? Well there were some missing. Certainly. And how about those ones she released. That liberal commie reporter--Sid something. Was he advising Hillary on policy? Did she reveal something to him? Yeah there's nothing there, but there might be...
This shit went on for a year. More than a year. And the friggin FBI was combing through that shit.
All that came out of it was a steady drumbeat of nothing that slowly eroded her poll numbers. No criminal actions, no questionable ethics. Just more insinuations. More guilt-by-association tactics. More articles where people just skimmed the headlines and said, "Hmm, they're paying so much attention to this, maybe she is up to something." In the end, that release of emails was nothing--except a gift to her opponents, a way to extend the news cycle of articles "investigating" her communications.
This is the same goddamn thing. No... actually, I take that back. At least you could argue that maybe... just maybe... a law was broken with the emails. Which is why Hillary was compelled to release them. But in giving speeches, no laws are being broken, unless the transcripts reveal she was doing lines of coke with Lloyd Blankfein on stage. There's nothing to hide, except what is probably a business-friendly speech. Which isn't in dispute. I think we all know Hillary wasn't reading the Wall Street execs the riot act about their irrational gambling habits. We're smart enough to know that Hillary was probably lavishing some praise on these "wealth creators," and thanking them for helping rebuild the economy after 9/11, etc. etc. It was most likely the boringest shit you can imagine.
But if Hillary released those transcripts, you can bet that every phrase, every word will be parsed by the media, the Sanders campaign, and the Republicans. It won't matter that no promises were made, no illegal actions were revealed. They'll comb through looking for anything that could possibly be used to portray Hillary as a hypocrite. "See!" the Bernie supporters will cry to the heavens, "She is in bed with Wall Street!" As if all anyone needed as "proof" were a few meaningless lines from a speech to a firm that had paid her to be there. "Wall Street is the backbone of America," you can easily imagine Hillary saying. The same way every single politician ever has said, "Farmers are the backbone of America," or "Autoworkers are the backbone of America," or "The American Association of Chiropractors is the backbone of America." But you know Sanders will highlight that line and say, "Hillary says Wall Street is the backbone of America... well I say Main Street is the backbone of America!" And his supporters will cheer and yell "Fuck Hillary" and whatever they were chanting last night, and instead of focusing on the issues that face America and the policies needed to fix them, Hillary is spending her time defending herself over each new line that her opponents choose to trot out.
Why would anyone give their opponent more attack lines? It's not being honest and open, it's being stupid. I don't want a President who bows to pressure and releases something that can be used to stir up anti-American propaganda. And that's all this is--Hillary refusing to give her opponents material they want to use in attack ads. That is all.
Meanwhile, Bernie has been incredibly reluctant to release his tax returns. Unlike Hillary's speeches, tax returns can reveal illegal activity. They may show that Sanders, who claims to be the poorest man in Congress, actually has Wall Street money himself. Now that would be devastating. It's also in the public interest to see his tax returns. What matters more--what someone said, or what someone did? Tax returns can reveal Sanders didn't give a cent to charity. It can reveal that he's heavily invested with a Wall Street firm. It can reveal contributions he's received before his candidacy, which may have come from the very people he's condemning now. Maybe he even owns some flophouse rental properties that squeeze tenants for money. This is all speculation of course... but unlike the speculation surrounding Hillary's speeches, the release of Bernie's tax returns will show concrete actions, not vague verbal assurances.
If you're going to question, "Why doesn't Hillary release her transcripts?" you must, in good faith, also question why it's taking Bernie so long to reveal his taxes. Why is he on the same side as Donald Trump on this issue? What is he hiding?
I assure you, if he's hiding anything, he's not hiding words.
Honestly, it's all counterproductive for the Democrats when they stop discussing real issues and adopt the Republican strategy of slinging mud. It doesn't help anyone. Certainly not anyone who wants to make sure we don't end up with Trump or Cruz as President of the United States.
So Bernie Bros, enough about Hillary's damn speeches.
TL;DR: Hillary won't release her speeches because all it will do is provide quotes for attack ads. Bernie won't release his tax records for a similar, but potentially more damaging reason.