Leaked Audio: Clinton Compares
Free College and Health Care to
Xenophobia and Nationalism,
Calls Herself “Center Right”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a long history of giving private speeches to big dollar donors, and we rarely get to hear what she says during these closed-door events. But now the journalists over at The Intercept have obtained a tape that gives us a good look at what Mrs. Clinton says in private (https://theintercept.com/2016/09/30/hillary-clinton-center-right/).
The most interesting snippet is about a minute and a half long, but in that brief window there is a lot to unpack. Here’s a transcript (emphasis mine):
CLINTON: It is important to recognize what’s going on in this election. Everybody who’s ever been in an election that I’m aware of is quite bewildered because there is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates. And on the other side, there’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel. So as a friend of mine said the other day, I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right. And I don’t have much company there. Because it is difficult when you’re running to be president, and you understand how hard the job is — I don’t want to overpromise. I don’t want to tell people things that I know we cannot do.
There are several issues that crop up immediately. For one, many voters will not appreciate Mrs. Clinton’s characteristic of Republicans as xenophobic, discriminatory nationalists. Ignoring that, to compare ideas like free healthcare and education to bigotry is ridiculous. Is free healthcare economically feasible for the United States? Many would argue that it isn’t. Is it a hateful or malicious idea? Certainly not. People who want free healthcare may be misguided and uninformed about the harsh economic realities at play, but that certainly isn’t on par with bigotry. This isn’t even apples and oranges, as in that classic simile both items are fruit. This is apples and anvils—one of these issues is much heavier than the other.
If you’ll recall, a few months back Clinton publically called herself a moderate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3Lc3ZWEU7Q) before later doubling back and claiming she was a liberal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GexsNefI8wg). This earned her a good dose of criticism from both pundits and her then opponent Bernie Sanders alike. The new audio uncovered by The Intercept is only going to further fuel the notion that Hillary Clinton is not actually a progressive what-so-ever. She is once more calling herself a moderate, but this time she’s gone one step forward and described herself as both “center left” and “center right.” This is not a good stance for Mrs. Clinton to take when one considers that she’s been accused of altering her views to fit the circumstances she’s in—by her own admission it seems that these accusations are true.
Being a moderate certainly isn’t a crime, but it is a huge problem when a presidential candidate is running on one platform publically (in Clinton’s case, liberalism) and espousing another one privately (moderacy). We now know that she thinks her own platform is extremist and that she doesn’t even intend to try accomplishing her campaign promises. Mrs. Clinton is not a fool—she knows that we can’t just flip a switch and have free healthcare or free education, and she’s admitting as much here. But as much as she says she doesn’t want to “tell people that [she knows] we cannot do,” she continues to act as though she believes in the ideals handed to her by Bernie Sanders.