Many Democrats these days are ready to anoint Hillary Clinton as the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, although that election is more than two years away. And many of her closest supporters want everyone to think she is inevitable. But if Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic candidate, shouldn’t she be telling us what she thinks about important issues? If she is going to claim the mantle of leadership, shouldn’t she be showing some leadership on vital issues?
Clinton has been speaking to Wall Street and apparently providing it with assurances that she won’t rock the boat. She has given two speeches to Goldman Sachs, one to private equity firm KK&R and another to the Carlyle Group. She was paid $200,000 for each of her Goldman Sachs speeches; it is unknown what she was paid by KK&R and the Carlyle.
According to Politico:
“Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the bankerbashing 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 say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate.”
While Hillary has been reassuring Wall Street, has she told any of us what her positions on financial regulation are? Where does she stand on Glass Steagall legislation, which deregulated banks during the Clinton administration and contributed to the 2007-‘08 financial meltdown; NAFTA, which has caused a million jobs to move offshore; the trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street; the lack of accountability for Wall Street; CEO wage inflation; widening disparities of income and wealth; and the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, which has been described as “NAFTA on steroids”? Do we have any reason to believe that, if elected, she wouldn’t bring back the Bob Rubin/Larry Summers economic team, or Rubin/Summers clones, who deregulated Wall Street, contributing to the meltdown of Wall Street and the American people’s loss of $13 trillion in wealth?
Do we know what her position is on the Keystone Pipeline or what she would do about impending climate change? As former Secretary of State charged with the task of reviewing the Keystone Pipeline application, she should be highly knowledgeable and informed about the environmental issues presented by the Keystone tar sands pipeline. Has she said anything publicly? If so, I missed it.
Has she even led on foreign policy issues, her area of expertise? We know she was strategically wrong about invading Iraq and escalating the war in Afghanistan and she tried to lead us into attacking Syria. On Iran, I credit her with finally supporting Obama’s peace initiative, but she did so only after almost every Democrat in the foreign policy community to the left of hawkish Madeleine Albright had come out publicly in favor of the initiative and in opposition to the Menendez-Kirk Iran sanctions bill. Clinton only spoke up on the issue after the Menendez-Kirk bill had completely stalled, so her opposition was not strategically important, although it was welcomed. Is being late to the party the new definition of leadership?
Like many of you, I am a lifelong Democrat who has never voted for a Republican, but if Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic standard-bearer, we deserve to know what she stands for, who she will fight for and where she wants to take the country. I am not asking her to be “transformational,” I would just like to have some basic idea where she stands on critical issues.