When CNN's Anderson Cooper pressed the Wall Street-bashing Hillary Clinton on why she accepted a mind-boggling $675,000 speaking fee from Goldman Sachs, the exasperated Democrat admitted why: "That's what they offered."
"Spoken like a true free marketer," observes Investors Business Daily in an article headlined "Here's Why Hillary Clinton's Huge Goldman Sachs Speaker Fees Matter." IBD goes on:
To be clear, we don’t begrudge anyone getting paid handsomely for what they do, even if the person getting paid so clearly doesn’t deserve it.
That’s what the free market is all about. Goldman Sachs, along with numerous other financial firms, tech companies, trade groups, health companies and universities all felt they were getting something of value out of her talk. That’s what they offered.
The problem is that Clinton wants the free market all to herself.
Having pocketed her Goldman Sachs largesse, Clinton indulges herself in attacks on CEO pay and bewailing income inequality. This is rich from someone who in 2014 made at least $8.75 million–more, incidentally, than half the CEOs at top corporations on the S&P 500 take home.
But she's not so keen on letting others engage in the capitalist system:
“I’m out here every day saying I’m going to shut them down, I’m going after them,” she said to the CNN audience. “I’m going to jail them if they should be jailed. I’m going to break them up.”
Shut them down? Go after them? Jail them? By the tone of her rhetoric you’d think she’s was talking about ISIS or something, not private enterprise.
And here's what matters:
Forget her ridiculous speaking fees, what should really scare people is that someone who wants to be president talks like this about the private sector.
In any case, the solution to influence peddling of any kind — whether it’s campaign contributions or speakers fees — isn’t to expand the size of government still more, as both Clinton and Sanders are bent on doing, it’s to radically shrink its size.
You don't have to be a cynic to realize that Goldman Sachs paid Mrs. Clinton so much money not because she is such a great speaker (we all know differently) or for her pearls of wisdom (ditto) but because she might be the next president.
That's one reason there was just no good answer for Mrs. Clinton to give to Anderson Cooper's question.
"That's what they offered" isn't quite up there with "At this point, what difference does it make?" but it is nevertheless memorable. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post predicts that these four little words will haunt Clinton throughout the campaign.