There’s an interesting article over at Crooks & Liars about the presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, and for what its’ worth, I think the premise is a sound one. Ever since Bill Clinton denounced rapper Sister Souljah’s remarks following the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles back in 1992, every presidential campaign, it seems, has had one of these moments or two where a presidential candidate basically throws his political allies under-the-bus for the benefit of the chattering classes in D.C.…I mean, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama had their own examples in their respective presidential campaigns and it wouldn’t surprise me if Hillary does the same thing during the 2016 campaign…assuming she runs for president, that is.
Now, you ask, what kind of moment would it be? Well, think about it for a moment..one of the biggest criticisms of the Hillary for President bandwagon has been her willingness to cozy up to Wall Street, which – to be fair – is something both parties do…but its’ almost de rigueur on the Republican side; conversely, there are a lot of Democratic interests that look at Wall Street and the moneyed interests in the same manner that plague survivors probably looked upon the dead in Middle Ages-era Europe. Throw in some of her husband’s more infamous economic legacies – NAFTA, welfare reform, the repeal of Glass-Steagall – and you start to get an idea of the reluctance that progressives have for Hillary Clinton.
So what would a Sister Souljah moment for Hillary Clinton look like? Well, it could look something like this (quoting Crooks & Liars):
So imagine Hillary going to a Goldman Sachs gathering of 100 moguls at the Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan and proclaiming not, as reported, “that we all got in this mess together in this together,” but rather, with Lloyd Blankfein seated beside her: “Banks that are too big to fail are too big to exist. They aren’t disciplined by the market, and can intimidate their regulators. This offends the very core of America’s free enterprise system, and our basic sense of fair play. It is time to break them up.”
Or alternatively, if not Wall Street, perhaps America’s biggest employer. Hillary could go to a Walmart shareholders meeting in Bentonville, and speaking from the floor as a former board member, warn that “the Walmart low road model – based on paying its employees so little that they have to rely on food stamps and Medicaid, and on outsourcing from China – is unsustainable. Our rival Costco has proved that we can be profitable and still provide good jobs with decent wages and benefits to our employees. And our nation must end its massive trade imbalances with China, which will put Walmart’s supply chain at risk. For the good of the company and the good of the country, it is time for a change.”(Crooks & Liars)
Would there be benefits to Hillary’s campaign if she were to do the above? You bet…several: (1)it would fire up the progressive base of the Democratic base, (2)it would also suck all the wind out of the sails of potential challengers such as Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (though in Warren’s case one suspects she would be smiling at Hillary’s words), (3)it would also erase the unseemly stigma of all those $200k speaking engagements that Hillary’s done over the years and (4)it would also make it very clear to working-class voters whose side she was on.