FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Buying Hillary Clinton: The Courting of Wall Street

by

“Anybody who thinks they can buy me doesn’t know me.”
Hillary Clinton, The Hill, Jan 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton may still win the Democratic Primary race when the final votes limp through. But if she does, negativity and evasion will be her masters. Oh, and the motor of finance.

Clinton shares with her husband an insatiable appetite for speaking fees. Her words, and presence, are up for sale, and there are organisations and companies happy to throw money the way of Clinton Inc. This is a system of collusion that seemingly has no end, but at its core is an assumption of acceptance about the role of the corporatocracy. Provided a candidate’s views are appropriate for corporate America, the invitations will come through, and the speaking circuit kept busy.

As Bernie Sanders told those present in Carroll, Iowa on Tuesday, “Goldman Sachs also provides very, very generous speaking fees to some unnamed candidates. Very generous.” He conceded that some of his opponents “are very good speakers, very fine orators, smart people. But you gotta be really, really, really good to get $225,000 a speech.” In truth, not even Solomon would have commanded such fees. The value of words, and the marketplace of value, are two distinct things.

Clinton’s reaction has been one of denial – not that she has been paid such fees, but that receiving such payment implies no compromise of her views. This is tantamount to seeking another definition for bribery or corruption. The way of attacking Sanders is typical, evading any direct points, and going for his voting record regarding Wall Street regulation.

The year she focuses on is 2000, a dark one regarding corporate regulation history. When a vote went to deregulate credit default swaps and derivatives, Sanders was there to cheer. Not that he was the only one – Wall Street exerts an extraordinary pull on the American political classes. Nonetheless, for Clinton, “He’s never owned up to it, he never explained it.”

What Clinton attempts to do, instead, is suggest that you can be in and out of corporate America’s corridors and boardrooms, still maintaining independence, one’s untarnished soul, if you like, while feeding from the same trough. Much like Neo in the Waichowski brothers’ Matrix trilogy, traversing the system is a matter of being within and without it. One can still remain powerful yet independent, a non-conformist feature of society.

Clinton’s strategy, then, is to advertise her worth, that of a sage whose honeyed words are as valuable as blue stock chips. She is the grandee of product placement, and her name can be hawked about. “What they [the groups she has spoken to] are interested in were my views on what was going on in the world. And whether you’re in health care, or you sell automobiles, or you’re in banking – there’s a lot of interest in getting advice and views about what you think is happening in the world.”

Her justification also goes to defending an electoral system that accepts the view that cash and candidates are unfortunate partners in seeking office. Barack Obama, she explained, accepted large contributions from the big end of town, and so should she. Doing so does not mean that one is against corporate regulation.

Clinton’s arguments are far from plausible. Under her husband’s presidency, Wall Street proved to be one of the greatest beneficiaries, feted golden boys and girls who would propel the US into richer post-Cold War waters. As the welfare state was slashed, its recipients mocked and further reduced to a sub-stratum of US society, the corporate sector was unchained, its initiative to speculate empowered. The machinery that ultimately crashed in 2008, leading to government bank bailouts, a socialising of capitalism’s greatest losses, can, to a large extent, be attributed to the Clinton administration.

It is hardly surprising, then, that Clinton sees Wall Street as indispensable, organic to any electoral, and governing structure. In her December debate with Sanders at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, moderator David Muir noted the 2007 Fortune magazine cover that proclaimed that, “Business Loves Hillary.”

A hovering Sanders saw his chance to make a point. “The CEOs of large multinationals may like Hillary. They ain’t gonna like me and Wall Street is going to like me even less.”

The words she says do not matter – her sponsors already know what they are getting, and by having her on stage, hope for a sympathetic president who, at the very least, will not rock the boat of finance. Without big business as it is so deemed, America is nothing, much like Britain without its common law. And it is business that she is hoping, at all times, to court. She may not be buyable as a political commodity, but she is certainly rentable.

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail