The Problem Is Not One Of ‘Tone-Deafness’

David Dayen, whom progressives usually like unless he’s criticizing Clinton, in which case he is TEH SUXXORS (as the kids used to say), notes the following about speeches she gave to various investment banks (boldface mine):

Far from chiding Goldman Sachs for obstructing Democratic proposals for financial reform, Clinton appeared to sympathize with the giant investment bank. At a Goldman Sachs Alternative Investments Symposium in October 2013, Clinton almost apologized for the Dodd-Frank reform bill, explaining that it had to pass “for political reasons,” because “if you were an elected member of Congress and people in your constituency were losing jobs and shutting businesses and everybody in the press is saying it’s all the fault of Wall Street, you can’t sit idly by and do nothing.”

Clinton added, “And I think the jury is still out on that because it was very difficult to sort of sort through it all.”

Clinton praised Deutsche Bank in a 2014 speech for “the work that the Bank has done in New York City on affordable housing.”

While Deutsche Bank has given to anti-homelessness campaigns in the past, it was also cited in a New York State Senate report in January for refusing to maintain foreclosed properties in New York City neighborhoods and costing those communities millions in unpaid fines. Deutsche is also about to face a multi-billion-dollar penalty from the Justice Department for defrauding investors with low-quality mortgage securities, leading to the housing meltdown.

While she might have just been trying to make nice with her audience, it raises this question:

The excerpts reveal that Clinton, when speaking to the financial industry, adopted their mindset and privileged their arguments. The question that arises is whether members of a possible Clinton administration will reflect this worldview, or whether the long primary with Sanders has made that untenable. Some aggressive advocates for progressive appointments believe the latter.

At State and on the speaking circuit, Clinton was in an environment that encouraged her to view Wall Street bankers as fonts of economic wisdom,” said Jeff Hauser, Director of the Revolving Door Project. “But after 15 months running against a progressive populist like Sanders, Clinton knows that government conducted a by rotating stream of bankers is politically unacceptable.

Hauser is missing the point. It’s not just an issue of being “politically unacceptable.” It’s an issue of bad, shitty policy that hurts middle class and working class people. It’s not about tone, but the harm–which was disproportionally visited upon minorities (so pleased to be shutting the piehole about intersectionality)–these banks caused, and that, despite some ‘cost-of-business’ fines, they never paid a price. No senior figures lost their jobs, none of them went to jail, the shareholders never were rocked–which is what would have happened had these banks been taken over temporarily.

Sanders and Warren are really going to have their work cut out for them November 9.

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