Some of the mysterious Hillary Clinton transcripts of speeches given to Goldman Sachs were released by Wikileaks in another document dump on Saturday, October 15. In the speeches, Clinton admits that the current political system is designed to protect party establishments, she suggests reworking Senate rules to undercut opposition to Democrats, and states that incumbents tend to not have “the full interests of the people,” among other revelations.
At a private paid speech, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein asked now-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton if the American political system should be entirely scrapped and replaced with a parliamentary system.
“But just a general question to start you off on the domestic situation. Is the American political system just hopeless? Should we just throw it away, start over?” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein asked on October 29, 2013, during the “Builders and Innovators Summit.” He went on:
You know, go home. Get a parliamentary system. Is it—because I will tell you—I’m kidding. We—talking here, and I didn’t do this in a formal survey, but when we ask entrepreneurs, whether they were social entrepreneurs, the people who were talking represented the work they’re doing in the cities and the businesses represented here, every conversation referred to either what the government was doing or what the government wasn’t doing that it was obvious that they should be doing.
And then I guess a corollary question to my first approach, should we chuck it away, will the elections make a differences. The system so gummed up where a single senator can so gum up appointments and basically extort legislation or stop legislation, is the system so screwed up now that really that we just have to have some cataclysm that just gets everybody so frustrated that we de facto start over, you know, or practically start over?
Clinton replied that the politics in Washington, D.C. were “dysfunctional” during Obama’s second term, especially regarding the government shutdown. She said:
Well, look, I—I think that everyone agrees that we’re in a bad patch in our political system and in Washington. It’s—you know, there’s a lot of good things happening elsewhere in the country. There are a lot of mayors, you had Mitch Landrieu here, I was with Rahm Emanuel yesterday. There’s a lot of innovative, interesting, new ideas being put into practice by mayors, by some governors. So I think when we talk about our political system, we’re really focusing more on what’s happening in Washington. And it is dysfunctional right now. And it is for a variety of reasons, some of them systemic, as you suggested.
Clinton endorsed changing the rules of the Senate so a determined group of Republicans couldn’t hold up the confirmation of presidential appointees. She said:
You know, I really have come to believe that we need to change the rules in the Senate, having served there for eight years. It’s only gotten more difficult to do anything. And I think nominees deserve a vote up or down. Policies deserve a vote up or down. And I don’t think that a small handful of senators should stand in the way of that, because, you know, a lot of those senators are really obstructionist. They should get out. They should make their case. They should go ahead and debate. But they shouldn’t be able to stop the action of the United States Senate. So I think there does have to be some reworking of the rules, particularly in the Senate.
I think that, as has been discussed many times, the partisan drawing of lines in Congressional districts gives people — gives incumbents certainly a lot more protection than an election should offer. And then they’re only concerned about getting a challenge from the left of the Democratic Party or a challenge from the right in the Republican Party. And they’re not representing really the full interests of the people in the area that they’re supposed to be.
California moved toward this non-partisan board, and I think there should be more efforts in states to do that and get out of the ridiculous gerrymandering that has given us so many members who don’t really care what is happening in the country, don’t really care what the facts are. They just care whether they get a primary opponent.
And then it comes down to who we vote for and what kind of expectations we set and who we give money to. Those who help to fund elections, I think it’s important that business leaders make it clear, why would you give money to somebody who was willing to wreck the full faith and credit of the United States. I mean, that just makes no sense at all because the economic repercussions would have been very bad, and the long-term consequences with, you know, the Chinese saying, let’s de-Americanize the world and eventually move to a different reserve currency wouldn’t be, you know, beneficial, either. So I think there are steps that citizens have to take. It’s not just about how we rearrange the levers of power and the institutions in Washington.
“But there has to be a new ethos,” Clinton added. “I mean, we can’t let people, as you say, be extortionists. And the President was absolutely right not to negotiate with people who were acting the way that the minority of the minority was acting on the shutdown and the debt limit issue.”