Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Hillary Clinton Has A Wall Street Problem, But It Goes Far Beyond Speaking Fees

Created: 18 February, 2016
Updated: 21 November, 2022
3 min read

Hillary Clinton has a problem, and it's not going away. But if you think I intend a Hillary screed, read no further. I do not.

There are substantive reasons to oppose Mrs. Clinton for president; but they should be principled, not personal.

But before outlining my concerns about her candidacy, let me pay tribute to her remarkable life, for she is a greatly accomplished woman – First Lady of the United States, United States Senator from New York, Secretary of State, and twice candidate for President.

I think I’m well within the mark when I say, no woman in the 240-year history of our republic has accomplished more in public life  – none.

And, if she were elected president, her qualifications for that office would exceed those of her three immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

So, what’s not to like?

The overriding issue for me is Mrs. Clinton seems tone deaf on the greatest single threat we face as a democracy: the ever-widening wealth divide.

Mrs. Clinton is tied to Wall Street and she cannon untie herself.

In 2013 alone, Mrs. Clinton received $8,900,000 in speaking fees (source: her campaign disclosure statement).

When she was asked by a reporter why she had accepted the money, she answered, “Because it was offered.”

On the night of the New Hampshire primary, when Mrs. Clinton lost to Senator Sanders by 22.4 percentage points, a group of women correspondents for NBC News sat with Brian Williams for a discussion of the campaign they had just covered.

I was greatly taken by what Andrea Mitchell said about Secretary Clinton:

She spoke of the times she had traveled with the secretary on trips abroad, of the times she and other reporters had with the secretary on those long flights, that in those moments they experienced Hillary’s authentic self, and that she, Ms. Mitchell, had lovely memories of those times together.

Andrea Mitchell then said she could not understand why Mrs. Clinton, knowing she would become a candidate for president, took all that money in speaking fees.

I share Ms. Mitchell’s bewilderment.

One aspect of Mrs. Clinton’s income from speaking fees that national media has overlooked is the more than $750,000 Mrs. Clinton received from the three public, tax supported public institutions of higher learning – UC Berkeley, UNLV, and the University of Connecticut. (It has been pointed out to me that her commencement fees were funded through private parties. Sorry, that doesn't change the equation.)

(In fairness, since 2007 the Clintons have contributed more than $14,000,000 to charity; consistently giving away more that 10 percent of their income, which is what a good Methodist, Mrs. Clinton, and a good Southern Baptist, President Clinton, would do, honoring the Biblical standard.)

Finally, for now, in the matter of Hillary Rodman Clinton, I must state my profound disappointment with the candidate over her refusal, if elected president, to reinstate Glass-Steagall; which, as an issue, is not going away, since Senators Elizabeth Warren and John McCain have now introduced legislation to bring it back.

The greatest single failing of Bill Clinton’s presidency was his repeal of Glass-Steagall; from that would ensue the near death of America’s economic system.

Bill Clinton won’t apologize for it and Mrs. Clinton won’t bring it back if elected.

(Vice President Biden has said the one vote he most regrets having cast in his U.S. Senate career was his vote to repeal Glass-Steagall – Joe Biden was in the Senate 36 years).

I am also troubled by her failure to endorse the call for a $15 minimum wage, which Senator Sanders supports, and The New York Times criticized her for.

Yes, I know, Wall Street hates it, but do the math; there are more people working for minimum wages than there are Wall Street millionaires.

It is my considered view on Glass-Steagall that unless Mrs. Clinton recants her position, she will not be elected president because she will not be the nominee of the Democratic Party.

The campaigns continue. The only certainty ahead -- uncertainty.

Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com