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View Full Version : Most surprising thing about Clinton's Goldman Sachs transcripts



TomF
10-18-2016, 12:18 PM
That she didn't release them last May (https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/10/17/i-read-hillary-clintons-speeches-to-goldman-sachs-heres-what-surprised-me-the-most/?tid=pm_opinions_pop_b&utm_term=.34cd7796ab9f). At least, that's what Daniel Drezner, professor of International Politics at Tufts University wrote in a piece for the Washington Post.

Drezner argues that the transcripts actually show Clinton in a very good light. As someone deeply knowledgeable and skilled in international relations, and who has been effective at certain kinds of diplomacy which don't get a lot of headlines, but have likely had a significant impact on America's economy. And as someone who has been remarkable for her anticipation of the emergence of someone like Trump, as it turns out. And has done quite a lot to try and reassure international players that America's still a safe place to trade, to invest, to ally with, despite that ooze.

In fact, I might take it a bit further than Drezner does, and observe that the three speeches to Goldman Sachs are of a piece with the very same diplomatic contributions she discusses in them. Her function was not just to inform, to provide entertainment to a bunch of bankers ... but to give the same sense of reassurance and instill the same confidence that she'd done in the speech's anecdotes she gave about her meeting in Asia. Goldman Sachs, and the breed of investors they represent, needed reassurance that America wasn't simply all crazy all the time in Washington. That despite the buffoonery and grandstanding in the House and Senate, for instance, there were actual grownups in the civil service and executive. Who were responsible, who were worth betting on, who were remarkably knowledgeable and capable, despite the wingnuttery on the news channels and radio talk programs.

It speaks volumes that Clinton respected the confidentiality of her clients, and did not release those transcripts ... particularly since doing so would actually have helped her politically. She took political hit after hit alleging all kinds of corruption and evil which wasn't there ... and actually embodied trustworthiness by not releasing the transcripts herself to prove it. Because presumably, her clients had paid for that content she delivered, and had the rights to it. She respected the transaction, even when it cost her to do so.

This is what you want in a President, eh? As the saying goes, you discover what your principles really are when it becomes inconvenient to hold them.

Norman Bernstein
10-18-2016, 12:21 PM
It speaks volumes that Clinton respected the confidentiality of her clients, and did not release those transcripts ...

Perhaps, but I tend to doubt that it was the motivation.

I agree that the transcripts DO show her in a favorable light... but that doesn't mean that the political opposition couldn't curry-comb the transcripts for something they could take out of context, and use against her. If nothing else, this election demonstrates that something does not need to be true, to be politically effective.

Paul Pless
10-18-2016, 12:30 PM
but, the amount of money that she was paid? $225,000 per one 27 minute long speech. That doesn't seem out of hand to you Tom?

That perhaps that money doesn't come with some 'expectations'?

The appearance of impropriety and all that. . .

TomF
10-18-2016, 01:12 PM
I think the speaking fees for any number of people are simply stunningly ridiculous. Same with what an analogous sports star gets paid. Or pop idol.

Price is pretty much the only marker our society can use to distinguish between Tier 1 and Tier 2 or Tier 26 at anything. I think that sucks, but it's part of what a market oriented society produces.

I think that the Goldman Sachs audience would have been far less willing to actually listen to whatever Clinton had to say if she'd set her fees in the same range as, say, Kid Rock.

Michael D. Storey
10-18-2016, 01:16 PM
but, the amount of money that she was paid? $225,000 per one 27 minute long speech. That's about what Mick Jagger makes.

David G
10-18-2016, 01:29 PM
I think the speaking fees for any number of people are simply stunningly ridiculous. Same with what an analogous sports star gets paid. Or pop idol.

Price is pretty much the only marker our society can use to distinguish between Tier 1 and Tier 2 or Tier 26 at anything. I think that sucks, but it's part of what a market oriented society produces.

I think that the Goldman Sachs audience would have been far less willing to actually listen to whatever Clinton had to say if she'd set her fees in the same range as, say, Kid Rock.

Precisely. Someone like Clinton, Romney, Oprah, or Jimmy Carter receiving huge speaking fees because of their fame has more to do with the market (weird as it is) - and less to do with conspiracy theories or a quid pro quo than some might think.

Paul Pless
10-18-2016, 01:34 PM
So its appropriate for politicians to use their position, which is what their celebrity derives from, in order to increase their wealth?

Norman Bernstein
10-18-2016, 01:39 PM
So its appropriate for politicians to use their position, which is what their celebrity derives from, in order to increase their wealth?

Not while in office... and HRC and WJC didn't get those fees for speaking, while in office.

As for the money, I agree with the previous commentators: the 'value' of a celebrity speaker is related to their celebrity, even without any consideration that the speaking engagement is supposed to engender some sort of quid pro quo. It's no different than the amount of money paid to CEO's of large corporations.... $114M for the CEO of Wells Fargo? REALLY? Yet, that is what the market will bear.... even though I'd be willing to screw up just as much, for a fraction of that amount! :):):)

David G
10-18-2016, 01:45 PM
So its appropriate for politicians to use their position, which is what their celebrity derives from, in order to increase their wealth?

Hell no!!! It's goofy. It's what the market has decreed, however, and I see so many other issues that need reform, that it's way down on my priority list. Way down.

Keith Wilson
10-18-2016, 01:48 PM
I dunno, if somebody wanted to pay me $225,000 to talk for 27 minutes, I'd take them up on it.

Every single 'shocking' leak that has come out about Ms. Clinton during this campaign has improved my opinion of her. I was kind of lukewarm at the beginning, but I'm beginning to think she'll make a very good president, even without comparing her to the alternatives.

TomF
10-18-2016, 01:52 PM
So its appropriate for politicians to use their position, which is what their celebrity derives from, in order to increase their wealth?I think it is appropriate for politicians to find legal work in areas that suit their interests, and where someone seems interested in paying them.

A lot of former politicians spend time in University positions - visiting scholar, and all that. Others sit on the boards of various private corporations and NGOs. Others go into specific sectoral work in organizations like the United Nations. Others do TV reality shows ;).

I think that it's an indication of moral character not only how one chooses to earn money, but also what one chooses to do with it, once earned. I'm aware of a number of very well heeled Canadian public figures who delight in giving stuff away. Whose job now, essentially, is giving stuff away, and are doing a lot of good. I'm aware of others who seem most focused on getting something for themselves and keeping it. There are representatives of both tribes in more than one political party, up here.

I've got a lot of time for the Clinton Foundation, moreso because the Clintons still give generously to it. If part of the reason the Foundation exists is because Bill and Hillary each command eyewatering speaking fees, then the good the Foundation does is a neat example of "gaming" how the market distributes wealth. Of using market forces to support things the market obviously doesn't.

I'm not na´ve; both Clintons enjoy having wealth. Enjoy having influence, having people ask their opinions, enjoy being celebrated for their generosity too. That doesn't mean their influence, opinions, and generosity are to be rejected when it actually does good. Only that were the Clinton's Jesuits, they'd have a few of their motivations to unpack and ponder in their Daily Examen, allowing themselves to acknowledge the worm within the flower.

I wish Jimmy Carter was wealthier.

BrianY
10-18-2016, 02:36 PM
It's funny that only Clinton's speaking fees have been an issue. Did you know that Trump received $450,000 on three different occasions in 2014 and 20155 for personal appearances and speeches on behalf of a multi-level marketing company called ACN - a company that has been accused of cheating people out of millions of dollars and that Trump once bragged that in 2006 the company paid him $2.5 million for a single speech?

Nope. Of course not.

I guess it's not an issue for Trump to make huge ("yoooge") sums from speeches and appearances as endorser/huckster for a company that may be a massive scam. And apparently it wasn't an issue for Rudy Giuliani who made $9.2 million in speaking fees over 13 months while he was running for the Republican nomination in 2007. And I don't see anyone complaining about how much other former government officials made/make after they've left office (some examples: Tim Geithner, $200,000 per speech; Ben Bernanke, $200,000 to $400,000; George W. Bush, $150,000 to $250,000; Dick Cheney, $75,000; Newt Gingrich, $60,000; Condi Rice $150,000).

But it's different with Hillary, right? She gives a speech and gets paid a lot of money just like other folk sin her position and that MUST be something nefarious.

As for the "appearance of impropriety" and the possibility that Goldman Sachs was buying influence with Clinton, I guess we really should worry about all of these other groups that also paid her $250,000 or thereabouts for a one hour speech:

American Camping Association (J-1 Visa Program)
eBay Inc.
Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women
Massachusetts Conference for Women
Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed)
Commercial Real Estate Women Network
Cardiovascular Research Foundation
Ameriprise
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Innovation Arts and Entertainment
United Fresh Produce Association
International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association

Let's Talk Entertainment
National Council for Behavior
California Medical Association
World Affairs Council
Academic Partnerships
Drug Chemical and Associated Technologies
Association of Corporate Counsel - Southern California
A&E Television Networks
National Automobile Dealers Association
U.S. Green Building Council
CB Richard Ellis, Inc.
Mediacorp Canada, Inc.
National Association of Realtors
Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
Beth El Synagogue
National Association of Convenience Stores
Long Island Association
American Society of Travel Agents, Inc.
American Society for Clinical Pathology
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Global Business Travel Association
American Jewish University
Economic Club of Grand Rapids
Society for Human Resource Management
Gap, Inc.
National Multi Housing Council


Frankly, I think the International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association is the one we should be worried about, not Goldman Sachs. Just imagine the harm a president in the pocket of that group could do!

As for Goldman Sachs, to put it in perspective, they paid her for 3 out of 91 speeches she gave and made big bucks for after she stepped down as Secretary of State.

David G
10-18-2016, 02:41 PM
Brian... didn't you learn ANYTHING by listening to the band 'Talking Heads'???

biga
10-18-2016, 02:45 PM
I dunno, if somebody wanted to pay me $225,000 to talk for 27 minutes, I'd take them up on it.

Every single 'shocking' leak that has come out about Ms. Clinton during this campaign has improved my opinion of her. I was kind of lukewarm at the beginning, but I'm beginning to think she'll make a very good president, even without comparing her to the alternatives.


me too. don't know if i have enough burps and farts to make it the full 27 though.

BrianY
10-18-2016, 03:04 PM
Brian... didn't you learn ANYTHING by listening to the band 'Talking Heads'???

yeah, I guess you're right. :(

Cuyahoga Chuck
10-18-2016, 07:07 PM
but, the amount of money that she was paid? $225,000 per one 27 minute long speech. That doesn't seem out of hand to you Tom?

That perhaps that money doesn't come with some 'expectations'?

The appearance of impropriety and all that. . .

Do you know that it went into the Clinton's pocket rather than into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation? If they rifled money from the foundation they would be endangering the reputation of a widely admired charity be breaking the law and risking an IRS investigation if they didn't declare it on their personal income tax form.

Paul Pless
10-18-2016, 07:15 PM
The Clintons left the White House broke.
The Cintons now have a personal net worth of ~ $50,000,000.00 - that money was earned primarily by service on corporate boards and speaking fees.

Norman Bernstein
10-18-2016, 07:49 PM
The Clintons left the White House broke.

No, not really. Bill had his pension, with numerous perks. I don't know if they had debts, though.


The Cintons now have a personal net worth of ~ $50,000,000.00 - that money was earned primarily by service on corporate boards and speaking fees.

That's just AWFUL... cashing in on their celebrity... I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell ya!

(Isn't that exactly what Trump does... without having earned relative peanuts in two decades of public service, first?)