“Republicans in Congress insist on using this issue to give relief to community banks as a Trojan Horse for rolling back protections for consumers and rolling back the rules for the biggest banks,” 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday at an event in Iowa.
Clinton has angered the press corp by basically ignoring them. They spend a lot of time complaining that she won’t answer questions from them and griping about the way she is running her campaign, because she is focusing on small groups and even individuals, instead of big campaign events.
Tuesday, for example, Clinton had a discussion with small business and lending communities in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She advocated for something that sounded distinctly Senator Warren-ish, saying that the regulations needed for big, too-big-to-fail banks should not apply to small, community banks with deep local ties that are being squeezed by regulations meant for Wall Street banks.
“We should not apply the same restrictions on community banks as those needed to regulate our big banks,” Clinton said. She continued to call out the way that Republicans use “concern” for small businesses to justify giveaways for big business, which actually harms small business.
“It’s not the big banks that need relief from Washington, it’s small banks and small businesses. We should be doing more to rein in risky behavior in Wall Street and too-big-to-fail banks, not less. I fully support the regulations from Dodd-Frank on the big banks, but we should pass common sense community banking reform right now. However Republicans in Congress insist on using this issue to give relief to community banks as a Trojan Horse for rolling back protections for consumers and rolling back the rules for the biggest banks… We should call this what it is, a cynical attempt to help those at the top.”
During these micro events, Secretary Clinton is able to discuss the issues that the press hasn’t been very interested in yet — issues of wage equality, actual small businesses as opposed to pretend small businesses, and good paying jobs. Things that really matter to the average American, instead of chasing the latest scandal and playing personality politics. But the press has focused more attention on the already debunked claims of a disgraced Republican activist author and the resulting questions of that author’s conspiracies than the issues that actually impact American voters.
Every candidate should answer questions from the press, which Clinton did today, but the press should accept responsibility for amplifying every conspiracy artist the Republican machine cranks out against Clinton before they even vet their claims. Accountability is a two way street. This is particularly annoying when it results in harming democracy, the very thing reporters are claiming is being harmed by Clinton not engaging with them. Democracy is for the people, to discuss the people’s issues, not to elevate Beltway drama and gossip.
The real question here is why won’t our press get as invested in actual issues. Clinton handed them a great story today, by busting the way Republicans use small business rhetoric to hurt small businesses while they deregulate and subsidize too-big-to-fail.
Or maybe I just think it’s a great story because it has bothered me for years and I’ve wondered why no politician has made it an issue. Clinton made it an issue today — but the press responded by commenting on her treatment of them and asking about the money she made from speaking events, as if earning money means that her actual policy positions don’t matter.
It’s not that their questions shouldn’t be asked and answered, it’s that the people’s questions deserve some air time as well. And the press is supposed to be asking questions for the people. The people do not give a crap about much right now, except why they are working so hard but getting screwed again and again while Republicans hand their tax money to big businesses who aren’t even paying taxes.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.