By George Capsis
Some years ago, in the old Times building on West 43rd Street, I found myself sitting down at a very large oval table as one after another very distinguished New York Times journalists came in to take their places to interview my acquaintance and maybe even friend, Dr. S. I. Samoylenko of the Soviet Academy of Science.
As they quickly took their seats I realized this was the elite inner sanctum of the Times and to be invited to this meeting meant you were a member of the core group, representing the conscience and editorial voice—and it was all male, not one woman.
I offer this because I am sure it was a man writing in the November 11th editorial page that became impatient and even angry at how badly—how emotionally—Hilary Clinton responded to Bernie Sanders’ TV debate accusation that since she was in the pay of Wall Street she could not objectively represent the shrinking middle class and the permanently poor.
Here is what Bernie said…
“I have never heard a candidate, never, who has received huge amounts of money from oil, coal, from Wall Street, from the military-industrial complex, not one candidate say, oh, these campaign contributions will not influence me. I’m going to be independent. Well, why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions? They expect to get something. Everybody knows that. Once again, I am running a different campaign than any other candidate. We are relying on small campaign donors, 750,000 of them, 30 bucks apiece. That’s who I am indebted to.”
Hillary blurted out:
“Wait a minute, wait a minute, he has basically used his answer to impugn my integrity.”
Mr. Sanders. “No, I have not.”
Mrs. Clinton “Oh wait a minute, Senator. You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small. And I am very proud that for the first time a majority of my voters are women.”
Here is where the Times thought she went off the track…
“I represented New York on 9/11—Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who attacked our country.”
And now back to the Times editorial:
“Predictably, Twitter exploded with demands to know what campaign donations from big banks had to do with New York’s recovery from 9/11. Answer: little to nothing. Since 2001, she and Bill Clinton have earned more than $125 million for speeches, many of the most lucrative made before financial groups. That does not account for the millions given directly to her campaign, and to political action committees backing her. Nearly 15 years after the 2001 attacks, Mrs. Clinton was earning more than $200,000 for a 20-minute speech. Most of those took place behind guarded doors. But one can guess that she and the financial executives were not still talking about 9/11.”
And then the Times editorial writer comes to some conclusions:
“Middle-class Americans associate Wall Street with the 2008 meltdown of the economy that cost so many their homes and savings. In the debate Mrs. Clinton repeatedly referred to her plan for reigning in the banks, but offered precious few specifics. This is what happens when Hillary Clinton the Candidate becomes complacent. The debate moderator, Mr. Dickerson, had even tipped her off before the commercial break that the next topic was Wall Street.”
“Her effort to tug on America’s heartstrings instead of explaining her Wall Street ties—on a day that the scars of 9/11 were exposed anew—was at best botched rhetoric. At worst it was the type of cynical move that Mrs. Clinton would have condemned in Republicans.”
Then the editorial writer throws a final harpoon:
“She should make a fast, thorough
effort to explain herself by providing a detailed plan for how she would promote measures protecting middle-class Americans from another financial crisis.”
Hillary got emotional when Bernie hit upon the hundreds of thousands she was getting from Wall Street and that uncontrolled emotional outburst is, in my belief and apparently that of the Times editorial writer, why she should not be president. She lost control of logic and offered that Wall Street was nice to her because she got them recovery funding 14 years ago.
But let us respond to the Times writer’s final demand of Hillary—that she give us her plan to avoid or at least soften the next financial disaster and subsequent recession that Wall Street might again occasion.
But, anyway, I think I would more trust Bernie’s solution than Hillary’s.