July 3rd, 2020


Good reasons for Hillary not to release her speeches

Jennifer Rubin

By Jennifer Rubin

Published Feb. 9, 2016

You knew that after her "I will look into it" answer in the Democratic debate Thursday night regarding release of her paid speeches, Hillary Clinton was going to take fire from conservative and mainstream media alike. The Post's Glenn Kessler writes, "Clinton has certainly been looking into it a long time. The Washington Post has repeatedly asked the campaign to release copies of Clinton's paid speeches-most directly and pointedly for the last two weeks. . . . Other news organizations have asked for copies as well. The silence have been deafening."

And sure enough, American Crossroads is needling her. "The reason why Hillary Clinton won't release transcripts of her paid speeches is simple - she knows they will show what a sellout she is," said communications director Ian Prior. "When she is paid $225K to speak at Goldman Sachs she is 'pro-Wall Street' Hillary; when she is on the campaign trail trying to get left of a socialist, she is 'anti-Wall Street' Hillary. And that is why no one trusts Hillary Clinton."

Aside from her penchant for secrecy, why wouldn't she turn them over? There are two problems, neither mutually exclusive of the other, that could explain her refusal.

First, she no doubt went to speeches to flatter and praise the host(s), to speak about her ongoing relationship with various firms. She was, after all, doing this not only for the immediate six-figure speech fee but also to drum up support for her foundation and ultimately to keep up relationships as she was heading into a presidential run. Whether it was Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Big Pharm or auto dealers, you can bet she was at times effusive and rarely, if ever, critical of their corporate conduct. She was not there to speak truth to power.

Second, judging from speeches that were open to the media, Clinton was expert at saying many words without saying anything of substance. ("Reimagining impact requires leaders who will reimagine and who will be unafraid to do so and ask themselves, beginning with themselves, hard questions and then ask others in their leadership team." That's a real sentence from a speech for her foundation. (Her book was also panned as uninteresting and unrevealing, despite its length.)

As Molly Ball incredulously observed in 2014, "Everywhere Hillary Clinton goes, a thousand cameras follow. Then she opens her mouth, and nothing happens." If people read this piffle, they might begin to wonder why she is getting paid enormous sums to say things of so little value. Well, obviously, they were paying Clinton not for what she had to say but to "build a relationship," as they say, to ingratiate themselves (and she with them). It may well be that it is not controversial substance in her speeches that caution against their release, but the total lack of substance.

All of that said, Clinton often acts in illogical ways, creating needless controversy because of her own paranoia, resentment and secrecy for secrecy sake. Why should she have to explain herself -- she was doing good! Why does the media have a right to her private speeches -- they were private! It's that attitude that prompts her to make reckless decisions and then dig in her heels. The only question is whether it finally proves to be her undoing.

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