Last night in a town hall in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton was asked about Wall Street and trust.
It is a familiar refrain, one we hear often from critics of Clinton, and from her rival, Bernie Sanders. Sanders says that he has not and will not go negative, but I am left to wonder, what is wrong with getting paid for a speech unless someone is corrupt? And isn’t calling someone corrupt going negative? And even worse, isn’t calling someone you claim to respect corrupt not only negative, but insincere, deceptive, and disloyal?
Anderson Cooper asked Clinton if doing those speeches was a mistake. Clinton answered, no, people give speeches all the time, and at that time she didn’t know if she would be running for election. Which brings me to a question that has been on my mind for several months now:
Why on Earth would Clinton run for election to be President?
To me this is an important and telling question, and one that critics of Clinton should look at and consider objectively. Hillary Clinton is the most respected and well known woman in the world. With one speech she can make as much as a President makes in a year. With a few phone calls and conversations she can command the flow of millions of dollars. Clinton has a level of global connection and influence that has peaked – it can’t go any higher.
In fact, any objective person knows that free from the constraints of government policy and procedure, most presidents can accomplished more to directly impact people’s lives out of office than they can while in office. I have been saying this for a long time to critics of Obama. Barack Obama’s presidency is just the beginning of what he will accomplish for people in his lifetime. Who would want to be judged on only eight years out of their lives? President Obama has daughters older than that.
So during last night’s town hall, I had a suspicion confirmed, and I gained insight into the mind of Hillary Clinton. The suspicion was that she doesn’t need the presidency. In fact, being president will be a sacrifice for her. She will have less freedom and influence, and more criticism and scrutiny than she would as a private citizen. After 25 years of relentless and vicious Republican attacks, she is signing up to stoke the coals of the fire for eight more. And beyond. So it is pretty clear she is not doing this for herself. She is doing this because she was drafted, because people wanted her to run. Which, it should be noted, is how Barack Obama ended up President.
The insight I gained from last night was that for Clinton this is personal. Not that she will personally benefit, but because she takes what happened after Bill Clinton’s term personally, and she is personally offended by what Republicans did to the country. As she said last night, she doesn’t want to see that happen again.
So this is not about corruption, Wall Street, or big donors to the Clinton campaign. Those things are simply more bogeymen and insincerity from the Sanders campaign. And don’t tell me Sanders is not insincere. Who says someone they know and have worked with is someone who has achieved a great deal, is someone they respect, someone they think has “done a good job” and “has a lot of experience”, and then in the next breath says she is a corrupt politician in the pocket of Wall Street whose ideas are useless?
This election is about progress. It is about moving forward and making gains, building on the hard won progress that followed in the eight years after the disaster of the Bush presidency. It is about stopping the red tide of Republican laws and policies that is seeping under the doors of our state and local government offices. This is about the experience and know how to stop the Republicans and advance progressive issues.
This is personal.