I don’t know who “won” the debate, or even how to decide who won, but I am worried, as I was after the Michigan primary, that Hillary Clinton, who is the odds-on Democratic nominee, will have difficulty in the fall even against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. I don’t understand why she can’t put the Goldman, Sachs question behind her. I initially assumed that she either didn’t have transcripts or that what she said was the usual milquetoast stuff politicians offer up. But her continued refusal to provide transcripts (which I now assume must exist) suggests that there must be something damning in them.
If she gets the nomination, she’ll face these questions again in the fall, and if Trump or Cruz is her opponent, these questions will detract from the attention that their past utterances about Mexican rapists or masturbation or whathaveyou should receive. I also think her refusal to answer straightforwardly questions about social security caps, carbon taxes, Libya and a $15 minimum wage makes her appear scripted at best. Like the Goldman non-answer, these kind of responses sow doubts about trust and credibility.
John B. Judis is Editor-At-Large at Talking Points Memo. He was a senior editor of The New Republic and senior writer for The National Journal. He is the author most recently of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics (Columbia Global Reports, 2016). He has written six other books, including Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origin of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014), The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson (Scribner, 2004), The Emerging Democratic Majority with Ruy Teixeira (Scribner, 2002), and The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and Betrayal of Public Trust (Pantheon, 2000). He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, and The Washington Post. Born in Chicago, he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Silver Spring, MD.