In one of the more colorful moments during Thursday evening’s contentious Democratic debate, Vermont democratic socialist Bernie Sanders delivered a taunt which may amount to be the best elucidation of Hillary Clinton’s most glaring, perhaps fatal, weakness.
Following a series of pointed rejoinders seeking details on one another’s specific policy positions, debate moderators broached the sensitive subject of Wall Street banking interests and inquired of Mr. Sanders what distinct decision Hillary Clinton made as senator to favor Wall Street banks from earnings she made delivering speeches in front of Wall Street executives.
Defending her record, Clinton responded:
“I stood up against the behaviors of the banks when I was a senator; I called them out on their mortgage behavior. I also was also very willing to speak out against some of the special privileges they had under the tax code.”
Lampooning Clinton drolly, Sanders responded:
“Secretary Clinton called them out. Oh my goodness, they must have been really crushed by this. Was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements?”
A cold, stone-faced Clinton stood by speechless as the tenacious Vermont senator luxuriated in an outburst of applause from the audience.
Using heavy sarcasm to great effect, Mr. Sanders is beyond a doubt accurate about Clinton’s superficial commitment to challenge her Wall Street cronies.
In his remarks Thursday evening, Sanders continued to use Clinton’s excessive fees from Wall Street speeches as a rhetorical club, repeatedly battering her over the riches she exacted on her way to amassing a fortune on Wall Street and cultivating a well-founded relationship with the Wall Street aristocracy.
In his repeated attacks on Clinton’s handsome speaking fees and steadfast refusal to release transcripts of such speeches, Sanders has cleverly outfoxed Clinton: By perforce repeating the charge she is moored to Wall Street nobility and exposing her vulnerability on the issue, Sanders has time after time disallowed Clinton from co-opting Sander’s position on the issue.
In a broader sense, Sander’s unmasking Clinton’s attachment to the financial sector also reveals Hillary’s willingness to say anything, leaning to either the right or going hard left to meet him, to meet the conditions to which she finds herself.
At great cost to her campaign, Clinton has not learned she must be taken at her word. Specious claims about landing under fire in Bosnia, the absurd theorizing her and her husband’s trials are the result of a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” comments that business do not create jobs, the 1996 put-on about adopting a child, being “dead broke” as she and Bill departed the White House, maintaining she is “transparent” despite court orders to turn over documents, her e-mail caper, claims she was unaware material on her e-mails were classified, the numerous conflicts of interest and a family charity which served as an influence-peddling organ have returned to haunt her, and on a national stage where she has no refuge.
Wall Street has been a boon for the Clintons; however, the financial sector in the state she formerly represented has become Hillary’s sword of Damocles.
[The Hill] [Time] [Photo courtesy ABC News]