Dear Ms. Clinton:
My name is Daniel Kinch. I’m a lowly leftist blogger. Worse, I am the simple artist–I sing, I dance, I perform the obscure agitprop play. I have been writing about the primaries and I haven’t exactly been friendly to your campaign. But I’m a realist. I don’t think you can be elected, but you are in a primary fight with one other person, the 74 year old Bernie Sanders. A lot can happen. I remember something a GOP official said (off the record) some 40 years ago when Ronald Reagan started angling for president against Jerry Ford– “He’s electable unless he breaks his hip”. Senator Sanders is exuberant and athletic in recent photos, playing basketball and running into his audience when people faint. That might get him into trouble. This is what’s motivating me to write to you at this juncture.
Again, the Democrats’ candidate field wasn’t exactly big (which I blame on Citizens United, another post), and now it’s down to two people and one of them is you. My tea leaves seem to predict that whoever wins the DNC nomination probably wins– he/she goes up against a broken GOP field. Trump may win the primary but he’ll never get the financial support from the Wall Streeters the way Jeb or Marco Rubio might. And NY Republicans have a special hatred for Ted Cruz, the man who blocked federal aid after Hurricane Sandy. Even Georgette Mosbacher (a major GOP rainmaker when it comes to donations in NYC) went public with her disgust at the party. But the GOP will run somebody. And so will the DNC. And there are two of you to choose from for the Democratic candidate. I’m assuming that Bernie Sanders has the momentum to win. But things can change.
And that’s why you have to release the transcripts of your speeches to the Wall Street fat cats NOW. I suspect they’re full of dumb bromides to American innovation and how lucky we are to have Goldman Sachs on our side. But as long as they AREN’T released, the suspicion grows that your speeches in fact reveal an attitude about the world that is contrary to the image you are trying to project in order to become our next POTUS.
You’ve been able to stonewall this so far. Your apologists have made some points in your favor–that the speeches weren’t all that important, that accepting $5,000 a minute for a speech doesn’t obligate you to do the bidding of Goldman Sachs, etc. Your case has been made by articles like this, where an unnamed attendee said relatively bland things about your speech. “It was pretty glowing about us,” one person who watched the event said. “It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.” So maybe that’s all they’re about.
But maybe you did say more than that. I remember the infamous video of Willard Romney talking about the 47 percent of Americans who are ‘takers’. That statement didn’t sit so well with voters (although it’s hard to see how Romney could have ever come across as a populist). I don’t know what you’ve said in your banking speeches. But here’s the problem: if you’ve said something that would make the progressive wing of the party disown you, it WILL COME OUT. And the issue for your party, your candidacy, and possibly the future of the country is WHEN it comes out.
Here are the possibilities of what might come to pass if you release the transcripts now, depending on what they contain:
- The speeches contain nothing very interesting. Anti-Hillary forces try to spin the paid speeches as a sort of bribery to you, but the issue goes away quickly and your spokespersons can treat this as a win (“we’re tired of this particular attempt to smear a public servant whose only interest is in serving the American People in the most important job in our republic”)
- The speeches contain some unfortunate statements (perhaps blaming homeowners for the housing meltdown). It may feed into the narrative of the Sanders advocates, but if you win the primary, the ‘news’ won’t be terribly useful to the GOP in the general election.
- DEFCON 3. You’ve said some really unfortunate things in these speeches, along the lines of what Willard told his supporters in 2012. The blowback is immediate, and you start losing primary states to Bernie Sanders in a big way. By Super Tuesday, it’s all over. You suspend your campaign, Bernie goes on to face Donald Trump (or perhaps Ted Cruz) come November.
Obviously, the worst case for you is the third one. You are an ambitious person, and the idea that you’d not get what would be your last opportunity to run against the GOP would be abhorrent to you. I can understand why you might pass on releasing the speech transcripts if the chance was real you’d lose your last opportunity to be President.
But here’s the problem. I can’t imagine you being able to get elected President if there’s something awful in those speeches. And if there’s something awful in your speeches, I can’t imagine we’ll go through the whole General election cycle without it being released. Karl Rove already has a truck full of Opposition research he’s ready to uncork at any time. People voting for you in the primaries have already factored that in (or they should have). But the speech transcripts (if they contain really damaging statements) would be a self-inflicted wound similar to others you’ve managed to draw blood with.
If there’s something damaging in one of your speeches to the banks, it will be released (surely someone in these audiences had their iPhone on ‘record’). If you don’t release that particular speech (along with transcripts of all your other speeches) now, the GOP will wait until a few days before Election to release it. And then the narrative changes. It’s not about you vs Bernie Sanders, it’s about the future of this country under a President Trump.
I urge you to release the text or transcript from your speeches to the banks NOW. It’s not about you anymore.
- update: the italicized sections in the paragraph ‘Obviously’ are changes to appease those who may feel that calling HRC an ‘ambitious woman’ was demeaning or belittling.