A lot of hay was made about Hillary Clinton’s political need to bite the Wall Street hand that feeds her, and almost everyone following her campaign circled her speech last Saturday as the moment she would finally pull back her veil and reveal the Marxist populist in her soul.
Hope they used a pencil.
Here’s the closest to Lenin that Comrade Clinton actually got in her speech:
Advances in technology and the rise of global trade have created whole new areas of economic activity and opened new markets for our exports, but they have also displaced jobs and undercut wages for millions of Americans.
The financial industry and many multi-national corporations have created huge wealth for a few by focusing too much on short-term profit and too little on long-term value… too much on complex trading schemes and stock buybacks, too little on investments in new businesses, jobs, and fair compensation.
In almost 5,000 words, that’s as “angry” as Clinton got. A vague, broad and rather stale critique of modern finance that managed to rankle a few money people, but also failed to really incite the liberal base to whom that little ditty was addressed.
Let's just say Elizabeth Warren might be walking around with some political blueballs.
Basically, what we saw on Saturday was a Hillary Clinton who knows that unless Martin O’Malley becomes suddenly relevant and swerves wildly to the right, she is the only Democrat likely to be around next fall. Scoring points on her left flank seems like an increasingly absurd waste of her time.
With Jeb Bush taking the stage later today to finally admit his own candidacy, Clinton will be one of two candidates from either party with reliable support from the financial sector. As the former Senator from New York, she’s not going to squander that by going full Bernie Sanders on an industry that everyone knows she tacitly supports.
So despite nuance-free NY Post headlines there was nothing to see on Saturday. In fact, the Clinton campaign allowed the rumors of Wall Street criticism to do the job of any actual anti-Wall Street language in the speech itself.
How vanilla was Hillary’s rhetoric?
Here’s another passage that some pointed to as sounding more than a little “pinko”…
While many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, you see the top 25 hedge fund managers making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined. And, often paying a lower tax rate.
Sounds tough. Hedgies are evil and kindergarten teachers are saints. In a vacuum, that's some middling populist rage.
But the speech wasn't delivered in a vacuum. In fact, it ended with Clinton talking about her love of family and then having hers up on the stage.
After kissing her husband and embracing her daughter, Clinton accepted a warm hug from her son-in-law, hedge fund manager Marc Mezvinsky.