Clinton Camp Co-Opting <br>Jeb Bush’s Rhetoric <br>On Our ‘Right To Rise’
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WORCESTER, Mass. — Governor Jeb Bush has only been out of the presidential race for ten days and Governor Kasich is still running, but that hasn’t stopped the Clinton campaign from borrowing the “right to rise” language from the Republicans.
Speaking here at a late-night get-out-the-vote event on the eve of the Super Tuesday primary, President Clinton closed his remarks with an extended riff on upward mobility. “Everybody’s gotta have a ladder to climb,” Mr. Clinton said. “Let us all rise. Hillary’s gonna lead us to rise together.”
Earlier in his talk, Mr. Clinton had summed Hillary’s program up as: “The whole deal is, we got to rise together again.”
For comparison’s sake, Mr. Kasich in the February 14 Republican debate said, “We want everyone to rise… the bottom line is the people of this — of this country and this state want to see everybody rise.” And Jeb Bush spoke in his February 20 withdrawal speech of “solutions that would give more Americans the opportunity to rise up and reach their God-given potential.”
The word “rise” — resonant especially for Christians with its subtle allusion to Luke’s description of the resurrection of Jesus — may be the only area where Mr. Clinton’s talk indicated that his wife’s campaign will overlap with that of Republicans. In other areas, the president drew a sharp contrast.
“All they know how to do is blame, and get us back to trickle down economics, and restrict voting rights,” Mr. Clinton said of the Republicans. “It’s faith-based economics. They just don’t care. They don’t even care about science, but we do.”
His remarks focused critically on the leading Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Mr. Clinton called Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan “pretty presumptuous.”
“I don’t think we ever stopped being great,” Mr. Clinton said.
He said Mrs. Clinton wanted to “build ladders of opportunity we can all climb, not walls,” a reference to Mr. Trump’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“More than any other candidate, Hillary has called out the demonization of Muslim Americans,” Mr. Clinton said, an apparent reference to Mr. Trump’s statement that he’d look at some sort of registry of Muslims.
Somewhat ironically for Mr. Clinton, whose daughter worked for a hedge fund, whose son in law is a hedge fund manager, and who earned millions of dollars from Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa firm, the president spoke of the need to extend Dodd-Frank financial regulations “to all these-non banks, the billionaires and the hedge fund managers.”
“Those people oughtta be put out of business,” he said, though it was a bit unclear whether he was making a blanket statement about hedge funds or speaking only about hedge fund managers who buy drug companies and raise prices.
Mr. Clinton railed against short-term investors. “The problem is you’ve got all these so called activist shareholders that want their money out a year and a day” later, he said. That, too, is a bit ironic, because the “activist” investors include not only Republican-leaning hedge fund managers but also quite a few public employee pension funds controlled by unions and Democratic politicians or their appointees.
“We need prison reform and we need to let a lot of these young, non-violent offenders go,” Mr. Clinton said.
He also called for education finance reform that would let students “get out of college debt free” or allow borrowers to refinance existing student debt at lower rates. “If you do that, you can move out of your parents’ house,” he said.
He called the Republican immigration approach of “build a wall and send ‘em home” a “good way to both do something relatively unethical and collapse the American economy overnight.”
He accused Republicans of a “flood of attempts to restrict” the voting rights of African Americans, saying that he still remembered the days when black voters in the South were “herded” by their employers “like stock on the back of trucks.”
He called for “universal background checks” for gun-buyers to weed out “felons, fugitive stalkers, mentally ill people.”
Mr. Clinton began his remarks at 10:42 p.m. Monday and concluded them at 11:06 p.m., staying around afterward to work the rope line at the event space and pose for selfies with apparent enthusiasm.
Mr. Stoll is editor of Futureofcapialism.com.