Author Topic: Hillary the Progessive? How she plans to run to Obama's left on the economy.  (Read 221 times)

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Offline EC

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Politico Alert - reader discretion advised.

Bet on it: She won’t be trying the Cinderella Woman thing again. It’s fair to say that no talking point in Hillary Clinton’s hyper-organized book rollout this week fell quite as flat as her rags-to-riches tale of starting out on the wrong side of the tracks … at the White House. How she and poor Bill, “dead broke,” had to labor for days (or was it hours?) at a meager $200,000 a speech before they could afford those multi-million-dollar homes.

It was a very bad start to a critical piece of Clinton profile-building for 2016—and does anyone doubt any longer that’s what she’s up to?—because nowhere is Hillary less defined as a candidate than on economic policy. There is good cause for that lacuna: Upon being named President Obama’s secretary of state in late 2008, Clinton quite properly kept herself out of domestic-policy issues. She had a free pass from the biggest economic debates of the era, whether on the bank bailouts, the president’s nearly $800 billion stimulus package, the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, Obamacare or the sluggish housing recovery. And yet it is on economic policy—not on foreign policy, on Benghazi, her broader record as secretary of state or even her now-ancient votes as the senator from New York—that she is most likely to build her case for the Oval Office in an era of a chronically wayward recovery and runaway inequality.

To make that case, according to some people familiar with Clinton’s thinking, she is likely to argue that she was often well ahead on those issues the last time she ran for president in 2007—that in fact she was often to the left of the more centrist Obama, who as president has regularly upset his own liberal base for what is perceived as a moderate, Wall Street-friendly response to the financial crisis. “She was talking about inequality before inequality was in vogue,” says Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a longtime close aide and adviser to Clinton.

There is something to that case. In a speech in late May 2007, Clinton declared herself a “modern progressive” who sought to “curb the excesses of the marketplace” and reduce what was even then an alarming increase in income inequality. She noted early trends in what has become a jarring trend in productivity gains going to dividends and CEO compensation rather to wage increases. In another speech in March 2007—a time when then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was still playing down the dangers of failing subprime mortgages—Clinton warned about a bigger crisis in the market. She also spoke out about the dangers of over-the-counter derivatives and the need for new stimulus spending before Obama did.

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