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.