Did Clinton Really Agree That Denmark Is an Inspiring Example for Democrats to Cite?
Denmark isn’t a middle-class, capitalist, entrepreneurial country? Because it has universal healthcare, free college, free day care, and guaranteed family and medical leave? Really, Secretary Clinton? Really?
— Me, here, Oct. 14
No doubt surprising many of the people watching the Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders cited Denmark as a role model for how to help working people. Hillary Clinton demurred slightly, declaring that “we are not Denmark,” but agreed that Denmark is an inspiring example.
— Paul Krugman, Something Not Rotten in Denmark, today OCT. 19, 2015 Paul Krugman
The subject of both of those quotes is, of course, Clinton’s already-famous statement about Denmark in last week’s debate:
We are not Denmark — I love Denmark — we are the United States of America. We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world.
I love Paul Krugman and I think his column today about the specifics of Denmark’s social democratic system and also its recent monetary and fiscal policies is terrific. As is the fact that these things are, this week, very hot topics. Thanks to last week’s debate.
But as I said in one of four posts I’ve written here at AB that mention that comment by Clinton — the first of my posts on this is here — I don’t see how those two consecutive sentences can be interpreted to mean anything but a preplanned sleight of hand intended to suggest that Denmark is not a capitalist country and has a weak middle class, and that Sanders’ proposed policies would destroy the middle class.
As I said in that post, we turned our backs on the greatest middle class in the history of the world when we elected Ronald Reagan and then spent most of the next three decades enforcing and expanding upon his ideological vision. But agree or not with that assessment, what seems to me indisputable is that Clinton’s two-sentence comment is a statement that universal healthcare, free college, free day care, and guaranteed family and medical leave would amount to turning our backs of the American middle class.
My point here is not to beat the horse that I think I killed in those earlier four posts; in the last of the four I promised not to write another one bashing her, at least for a while. It is instead to again express the hope that Clinton stops running the kind of campaign she’s running, and run one that is far less reliant on focus-group-tested soundbites, slogans and sleights of hand that one or another member of her army of consultants suggested to her . After all, a big part of Joe Biden’s appeal and also Bernie Sanders’s is that they talk like ordinary people in ordinary conversations, not like Chatty Cathy dolls.
My point also is to publicly wonder why Krugman thinks Clinton agreed that Denmark is an inspiring example for Democrats to cite. Because I think she indicated the opposite.
Post edited slightly for clarity. 10-19-15 at 9:32 p.m.
Oh dear, there you go again, Beverly, exaggerating the sins (and supposed stupidity) of HRC. It is very clear what she meant by her statement that you think somehow shows she is agains universal health care and so on. She incorrectly asserted that Denmark has not supported small businesses as much as has the US, when in fact there is a lot of evidence saying that they have , possibly even more so.
More annoying in this post is your claim that her remarks were “pre-[planned.” Where do you get this from? Did she know he was going to praise Denmark in response to the question he got? If you are going to say that she knew what he was going to say, then you really need to get off this line that she is some kind of dumb bell. Once again, she may be more conservative than he is as well as having had problems wiht veracity and money grubbing. But being dumb is not her big problem very far from it. She is smarter than anybody else running, if flawed in many other ways.
Again, the biggest sin in hre response to all that was to fail to defend Bernie against Cooper’s neo-McCarthyite charge that he had “honeymooned in the Soviet Union,” not that she played US patriot against his proclaimed admiraton for Denmark, however wise that admiration may be.
Bev will continue to say what she will as I have discovered in the past. At the same time, much of what she says is factual even if this on HRC is not of the same caliber. I guess I would be in the same category at HRC with the amount of time I have spent in China. Never thought Cooper was another “tail-gunner.”
What “ideological vision” of Reagan’s are you talking about? Both Reagan and Bush I served with a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, and only half of that time did the Republicans hold a majority in the Senate (and never a filibuster-proof majority).
So whatever “ideological vision” you’re talking about, the Democrats are completely culpable, too.
Barkley, I was being somewhat facetious her claim those two consecutive sentences presumably mean that she is against universal health care and so on. But only somewhat. After all, which of Sanders’s policy proposals, then, WAS she talking about that would be a grave mistake because it would amount to turning our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world?
You’re exactly right that she incorrectly asserted that Denmark has not supported small businesses as much as has the US, when in fact there is a lot of evidence saying that they have, possibly even more so. Which really is the whole point. She’s flatly wrong, it’s clear, that the Danish government’s laws and policies that Sanders says have been very successful in raising the standard of living there, supporting and nourishing small and midsized business, and therefore the middle class, presumably are the ones she was saying would amount to turning our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world. Otherwise, what WAS her point?
This is a critical point. If these policies undercut small business and the middle class in general, then we should not have those policies. Including the ones she and Sanders both have proposed: e.g., paid family and medical leave, subsidized daycare. But if these policies raise rather than lower standards of living, either by assisting in the creation and success of small businesses or by at least not interfering with it, and if other Danish government policies do assist business startups and such, then we should emulate them.
As for whether Clinton knew ahead of the debate that Sanders would discuss Denmark, she did. It’s part of his regular stump speech. He does it again, and again, and again. He’s said it repeatedly in interviews, too. And I guess here that it’s also on his website. Denmark, Sweden, Norway. But most often Denmark.
Do you really think she and her political consultants didn’t discuss how to tar Sanders with the Socialist-oh-horrors brush? Really? What’s she paying them for?
What angered me was the bald sleight of hand, the misrepresentation about Denmark and therefore of what Sanders’s brand of democratic socialism is. And what surprised me is that she figured she could get away with it, long-term.
She’s not. Denmark and its actual policies and business acumen have been all over the web I the last few days. The discussion hasn’t reached broadly to voters yet, but it will. For someone who is viewed as somewhat dishonest and untrustworthy, this may be meaningful negative on that basis. But more important, I think, it will come to play a role in policy discussions down the road, and not in her favor.
I think Bev’s got Hillary pegged pretty well , but I also think Bernie set himself up for this attack. The model to point to in terms of dealing with a plutocrat-dominated-and-decimated economy was the one FDR inherited after the Roaring Twenties , and the model for dealing with it is FDR’s policy response. Substitute a declaration of a War on Climate Change in place of the War on Germany/Japan and you can replicate the set-up for another three-decade Golden Age. Then we’ll all doze off and the plutocrats will rise again. Lather-rinse-repeat.
The Nordic model is fine as a contemporary example of economies that have yet to be fully savaged by neoliberalism , as has happened in the US and UK , but we don’t need to use them as our template for rebuilding – we have a perfectly good home-grown template to use.
OK, so it was not tooo hard for HRC to guess that BS might say something nice about Denmark, if not necessarily in response to a nastily staged question about his “socialism,” with indeed she probably thinking that the latter matter might come up. So, the answer may well have been staged, and it is likely she actually knows that Denmark’s record on small businesses is pretty good. As it was, she said nothing about anything else about Denmark, which was sneak and not nice.
But, let us be clear. Nobody here, certainly not me, said that Hillary is “nice.” What I have said is that she is smart, and she certainly got away with this, which shows indeed that she is smart, while avoiding actually coming out against universal health care or anything else that Bernie supports so as not to alienate his backers too much. Indeed, there he was responding by going on about how much he and the US and all of us love small business. She is bloody smart, but not all that nice or ethical.
As it is, I am waiting for her to completely take apart these bozos on the Benghazi Committee. They saw this debate, but I suspect that they really do not understand what is about to hit them.
You know what, Barkley? If Clinton really were smart, she would do what her husband does. She would just speak like a normal person and also speak in some depth in response to the Repubs’ asinine canards, as well as in specific support of her own policy positions.
She would, in other words, stop speaking in soundbites, cliches, and–most important of all–ridiculous sleights of hand.