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For a moment in this election cycle, it appeared that events had conspired to force the Democratic Party to finally have a serious conversation about their complicity in Wall Street’s reckless behavior and crimes.
The 2008 financial crisis is directly connected to the financial deregulation policies of President Bill Clinton’s administration, such as repealing Glass-Steagall. President Clinton even forced out one of his own appointees, Brooksley Borne, after she tried to introduce regulation of the financial products that led to the 2008 crash, known as derivatives.
In light of an insurgent campaign by self-proclaimed democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been attacking Wall Street and the “billionaire class,” it seemed like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment writ large was going to have to address the contradiction of why a party that presents itself as fighting for “working families” has been screwing said families over on behalf of Wall Street.
But instead of any debate or soul-searching, the establishment candidate has done the rhetorical equivalent of throwing sand in peoples’ eyes. When Hillary Clinton is asked about her close relationship with Wall Street, she brings up 9/11. This has happened now twice.
The first time was during the Democratic presidential debate in November. Clinton responded to questions about all the money she has taken from Wall Street personally and as a candidate by claiming the support was due to her helping rebuild the literal Wall Street after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The outcry was immense and Clinton appeared to be backing off the talking point given how tasteless and absurd the claim was. But yesterday, on CBS “This Morning,” Hillary Clinton again invoked 9/11 to deflect criticism of her connections to Wall Street:
“I have stood for a lot of regulation on big banks and on the financial services sector,” Clinton said. “I also represented New York and represented everybody from the dairy farmers you know to the fishermen. Everybody. And so, yes, do I know people and did I, you know, help rebuild after 9/11? Yes, I did.”
CBS’s Charlie Rose also asked Clinton if she took money from Wall Street donors. Clinton responded: “That has nothing to do with my positions. Anybody that thinks they can influence me on that ground doesn’t know me very well.”
Beyond the cringe-worthy 9/11 reference is the reality that, yes, Wall Street did influence Hillary Clinton in public office. While a US Senator, Clinton voted for a Wall Street-backed bill that made it harder for people to recover from bankruptcy. Wall Street donors are quite comfortable with Clinton’s rhetoric because they reportedly think it is all campaign bluster; that once she gets in office, Wall Street will have a friend in the White House.
So will the Democratic Party, one of the two major parties in our duopoly system, deal with its troubling corporatism? Or will the establishment get to keep running and hiding from the reckoning by throwing 9/11 and McFeminism in peoples’ eyes to blind them to reality?
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