“It’s ‘just politics,’ said one major Democratic donor on Wall Street, explaining that some of her Wall Street supporters doubt she would push hard.By Scott Galindez Reader Supported News (4/18/15)
Des Moines, Iowa – It’s not just Hillary Clinton, it seems that all the candidates on both sides are trying to sound a lot like Elizabeth Warren. Even the Republicans are talking about helping the middle class, so it was no surprise to hear Hillary Clinton say she wants to be a “champion for the middle class.” In what some are calling a listening tour through Iowa, Clinton held two small public events and met with Democratic Party leaders.
On Thursday, Time Magazine published the following tribute to Elizabeth Warren, penned by Hillary Clinton:
It was always going to take a special kind of leader to pick up Ted Kennedy’s mantle as senior Senator from Massachusetts – champion of working families and scourge of special interests. Elizabeth Warren never lets us forget that the work of taming Wall Street’s irresponsible risk-taking and reforming our financial system is far from finished. And she never hesitates to hold powerful people’s feet to the fire: bankers, lobbyists, senior government officials and, yes, even presidential aspirants.
Elizabeth Warren’s journey from janitor’s daughter to Harvard professor to public watchdog to U.S. Senator has been driven by an unflagging determination to level the playing field for hardworking American families like the one she grew up with in Oklahoma. She fights so hard for others to share in the American Dream because she lived it herself.
High praise for a possible future opponent. I think it is safe to say that Clinton doesn’t think that Warren will jump into the race anytime soon.
Clinton is trying to reinvent her image. In 2008, many saw her as aloof and a candidate who didn’t connect with voters. This time around, instead of flying around Iowa in a “Hillacopter,” Clinton rode 1,046 miles from Chappaqua, New York, to Iowa in a Secret Service-approved Chevy Van that some are calling the “Scooby Mobile.” Clinton’s campaign events on the two-day swing were at a community college and a small fruit company. The events were so small that only local television cameras and a couple dozen print reporters were allowed in, due to lack of space. The national media had to depend on a pool; even still photos came from a pooled camera.
The event at Kirkwood Community College was held in the college’s automotive technology shop. The curriculum emphasizes automotive electronics and features courses in body electrical, engine electrical, and computerized fuel delivery systems. One feature of the college is that high school students take accelerated courses that give them both high school and college credits. One high school student who participated in the event will have over 40 college credits when she graduates from high school. Clinton was quick to praise the program as one way lower the cost of a college education, since the classes are free. Clinton said the relationship between the high school and the college is a model that should be repeated throughout the country.
Broad themes. Few specifics.
While the former secretary of state laid out broad themes for her campaign, there were no specific policies brought forward. Clinton said she was meeting with people and getting input and that she will develop policies based on the advice from those she meets on her “listening tour.”
“So, I’m here in Iowa to begin a conversation about how we do that and to hear from people about what’s on your minds – what the challenges that you see are. And I’m going to work hard to meet as many people. I’ll be rolling out ideas and policies about what I think will work,” said Clinton. “But I want it to be informed by what’s actually working, and to build on what works going forward.”
Clinton also attacked economic inequality: “I think it’s fair to say that as you look across the country, the deck is still stacked in favor of those already at the top. And, there’s something wrong with that. There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker. There’s something wrong when American workers keep getting more productive, as they have, and as I just saw a few minutes ago is very possible because of education and skills training, but that productivity is not matched in their paychecks. And there’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here over the last two days.”
Nobody on Wall Street is worried by Clinton rhetoric
According to Politico, the former senator from New York has not surprised or offended her supporters on Wall Street: “It’s ‘just politics,’ said one major Democratic donor on Wall Street, explaining that some of her Wall Street supporters doubt she would push hard for closing the carried interest loophole as president, a policy she promoted when she last ran in 2008. ‘The question is not going to be whether or not hedge fund managers or CEOs make too much money,’ said a separate Clinton supporter who manages a hedge fund. ‘The question is how do you solve the problem of inequality. Nobody takes it like she is going after them personally.’”
This is not the first time Clinton has campaigned on these themes, but it is the first time they have been the primary focus of her campaign.
“Let’s finally do something about the growing economic inequality that is tearing our country apart,” said Clinton in June 2007. “The top one percent of our households hold 22 percent of our nation’s wealth. That’s the highest concentration of wealth in a very small number of people since 1929, so let’s close that gap.”
“We’re going to say, ‘wait a minute Wall Street, you’ve had your president, now we need a president for Main Street,’” she added in Ohio the next February.
The question is will Hillary Clinton go far enough to make a real difference, and if she does, will the backlash from Wall Street put her campaign at a disadvantage against the Republican fundraising machine next year?
Another major focus of Senator Warren is student loan debt, also a major theme of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. “There’s something wrong when students and their families have to go deeply into debt to be able to get the education and skills they need in order to make the best of their own lives. And I looked at the figures. The average Iowa graduate, from a four-year college, comes out with nearly $30,000 in debt and that’s I think the ninth highest debt load in the country and people are struggling. I met earlier today with a young student who is piecing together work and loans, knowing full well he’s going to come out owing a lot of money. So, we’ve got to figure out in our country how to get back on the right track and I’m running for president because I think that Americans and their families need a champion – and I want to be that champion. I want to stand up and fight for people so that they can not just get by, but they can get ahead, and they can stay ahead,” said Clinton.
Clinton also laid out the four-point theme of her campaign:
1. “We need to build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday.”2. “We need to strengthen families and communities because that’s where it all starts.”
3. “We need to fix the dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment.”
4. “We need to protect our country from threats that we see and the ones that are on the horizon.”
Point three is news: Clinton supports a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Another populist theme in a very populist roll-out.
One has to wonder how authentic these positions are. Is Hillary Clinton going to really be a “champion for the middle class?” Or will she be a champion for the hedge fund operators who will fund her campaign.
- Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street Backers: We get it — NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton sounded like a woman on a mission after her long drive into the heartland: “There’s something wrong,” she told Iowans on Tuesday, when “hedge fund managers pay lower taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80 when I was driving here over the last two days.” But back in Manhattan, the hedge fund managers who’ve long been part of her political and fundraising networks aren’t sweating the putdown and aren’t worrying about their take-home pay just yet … Read the Rest