Everything is behind-the-scenes now, as the Hillary-Clinton-for-President campaign gets itself organized, and rounds up the big-money donors for the expected campaign battles that lie ahead -- battles first in the Democratic primaries, and then against whomever the Republican nominee will be.
Clinton's momentum in the 2016 Presidential contest started to seem unstoppable even as early as the summer of 2013. During July and August, she brought together much of the campaign team that had carried Obama to victory, and she began the long trek through moneyland, to amass the financial means ultimately to reimburse the organizations that are investing so early in her expected 2016 campaign.
Britain's Daily Mail headlined on 29 July 2013, "Obama Hosts Hillary Clinton at Private White House Lunch," and reported that, "The White House did not respond to a request for comment about what the president and Mrs. Clinton will discuss." However, a press secretary said "It's largely friendship that's on the agenda today." The U.S. "news" media didn't report on the meeting, except that Yahoo News headlined that day, "Obama Hosts Hillary Clinton for Lunch," and reported more briefly that the meeting had occurred, and David Martosko in the Washington Post headlined also on July 29th "Getting Tips for Her 2016 Run? Obama Hosts Hillary Clinton at Private White House Lunch," and he added the important news that, "Jeremy Bird, Obama's re-election field director, and Mitch Stewart, an insider who managed his campaign in critical swing states, joined a 'Ready for Hillary' super PAC that serves as a placeholder that she could leverage on day one." The day before, on July 28th, Peter Finocchario at huffingtonpost had headlined "Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton To Meet For Private Lunch On Monday, White House Announces."
Other than those few reports, virtually no one even knew that the Oval Office meeting had occurred. On 29 August 2013, Philip Rucker of the Washington Post headlined "Pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Positions Itself to Support Hillary Clinton," and he reported that, "Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC that led attacks against Mitt Romney, is quietly positioning itself to become the main independent group funding a media campaign for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential race." The fix was in: the mega-corporate funding for Hillary's 2016 campaign would be enormous, and Hillary wouldn't need to rely this time on her own (which in 2008 turned out to be notably incompetent) picks of the people who would run her next Presidential campaign.
The AP headlined on July 30th, "Hillary Clinton Group Raises $1 Million," and reported big support for the "Ready for Hillary super PAC." Time magazine's Zeke Miller headlined on August 9th, "Iowa Democrats Ready For Hillary," and he reported from Des Moines, "'There's nobody in today's Democratic Party who could take her on and win,' said one Iowa Democratic operative. 'There are a bunch of people who could run to boost their own profiles, but she's just too popular here this time.'"
On September 30th, Tory Newmyer at Fortune headlined "The DNC Is Nearly Broke," and he reported that whereas the DNC owed $18.1 million, the RNC was in the black by $12.5 million. "Sources close to the DNC say officials there have quietly laid the blame in part on the White House," by its transferring political fundraising heavyweights to Obama's new Organizing For Action super PAC, which "can raise unlimited sums from deep-pocketed donors, and there is some evidence it is siphoning resources from the DNC." Virtually all of the incoming money would presumably now go to the opening phase of Hillary's campaign, even before she officially had any campaign.
Obama already was working for Hillary to succeed him; and the big money was already starting to pour into her incipient campaign, instead of into the Democratic Party. This same article also noted that Debbie Wasserman Schultz now led (and she had, in fact, been chosen and appointed by Obama in April 2011 to lead) the DNC, and that she "lacks strong relationships inside the administration." This new DNC chief wasn't, and never had been, an Obama agent. Obama picked her now because she had, in 2008, been one of the chief spokespersons for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign against him, and so her service to Hillary now would be her continued loyalty through 2016: to let Hillary's emerging operation, instead of Democratic Party nominees, win the big-bucks donations now, which will instead go to Hillary's Democratic primary campaigns against any potential Democratic opponents. Obama had chosen Wasserman Schultz in order to help Hillary beat back any possible primary challenges to her in 2016, regardless of the needs of the Democratic Party in its general-election campaigns against the Republicans two years earlier in 2014. Obama is an excellent strategist, and he was passing off the Presidency to his chosen successor. This seems to have been a stronger motivation for him than his winning Democratic congressional majorities in 2014.
Also on 30 September, Charles Ferguson, who did the documentary Inside Job and the book Predator Nation , headlined at Huffington Post, "Why I Am Cancelling My Documentary on Hillary Clinton," and he reported that, though the Republican Party had been widely publicized to have blocked CNN from backing that project, Hillary Clinton's people had also blocked it, by refusing to cooperate. Ferguson did however manage privately to ask Bill Clinton a question "about the financial crisis" leading up to the 2008 collapse, when attending one of the Clinton Foundation's banquets. Bill "sorrowfully lamented his inability to stop" the deregulation of financial services. Ferguson noted that "this guy is a really good actor," because the reality was that Bill had personally helped to lead in that deregulation of Wall Street, which (importantly assisted by George W. Bush) virtually invited the 2008 crash. Ferguson went on to note that "The Clintons' personal net worth now probably exceeds $200 million," which would be pretty fine payback from his Wall Street friends, for his favors to them. Ferguson added that, "One of the largest donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is the government of Saudi Arabia." Saudi aristocrats were apparently as fond of the Clintons as were America's.
The Establishment has thus been coalescing around Hillary Clinton. On October 17th, Michael Hirsh at National Journal -- the same person who on October 8th had argued that Obama should accept the Tea Party's demand to make the debt-limit increase conditional upon slashing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and regulatory-agencies -- headlined now, gleefully, "Hillary Clinton, Welcome to the White House. She Has No Democratic Challenger, and the Republican Party Is No Longer a Credible Opposition Force." If Obama couldn't fulfill on the Republicans' austerity-demands, then maybe Hillary could do the job, after 2016.
On 30 November 2013, National Review bannered "Hillary Clinton's Lucrative Goldman Sachs Speaking Gigs," and reported that, "Hillary Clinton spoke at two separate Goldman Sachs events on the evenings of Thursday, October 24 and Tuesday October 29. ... Clinton's fee is about $200,000 per speech. ... Clinton also made visits to private-equity firms KKR in July, and the Carlyle Group in September."
Ben White and Maggie Haberman issued a major story in Politico Magazine on 11 December 2013, "Lament of the Plutocrats," which described the sour attitude of Wall Street's titans toward almost all of the Democratic Party, and toward the social conservatives who voted in the Republican Party's primaries. These elite men found Barack Obama to be insufficiently deferential toward them in private, and even critical of them in public. They were especially outraged at his having slammed "fat cat bankers" in a 13 December 2009 "60 Minutes" interview with CBS' Steve Kroft. This public statement turned these billionaires into his enemies: "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of you know, fat cat bankers on Wall Street. Nothing has been more frustrating to me this year than having to salvage a financial system at great expense to taxpayers that was precipitated, that was caused in part by completely irresponsible actions on Wall Street."
Hillary Clinton showed no signs of such populist pandering, as Wall Street saw it. Wall Street just wanted to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to address the federal deficits without raising their taxes. White and Haberman opened by noting that, "On a recent afternoon, executives at Goldman Sachs invited a few hundred major investors to the Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan. The bankers and their guests filed into a large room and turned their eyes to Hillary Clinton. ... Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees." (All of Hillary's $200,000-a-shot speeches are private, and no press are allowed; so, only such second-hand accounts are publicly available, regarding these private events sizing up a major Presidential contender.) These attendees told Politico that she was "declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties [but was it, really 'so popular' within also the Republican Party, or were the authors choosing 'balance,' instead of real and raw truth here? How much 'banker-bashing' had actually been spouted by Romney, or Santorum, or Gingrich, etc.? Anyway, these misrepresentational 'balanced' journalists continued their report, by noting that Hillary said that this 'banker-bashing'] was unproductive and indeed foolish. ... She told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we're all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate."
White and Haberman closed by saying: "The worry on Wall Street is about how far to the left Clinton might have to drift to appease what's been proclaimed the [Elizabeth] 'Warren wing of the Democratic Party' -- the vocal populists buoyed by Elizabeth Warren's tough critiques of Wall Street greed, as well as by the recent election of liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio on their New York home turf. ... And if the banking class is delighted with Clinton lately, the feeling appears mutual. In Manhattan last week, Clinton sat down with the Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein for their second question-and-answer session in the last two months."
Wall Street's counter-attack against Senator Elizabeth Warren (here being mentioned yet again along with mayor-elect Bill de Blasio) came in Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal , on December 2nd, when two Republican-Democratic proponents of cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler, both heads of the long-time Clinton-backing Third Way organization (a think tank), headlined "Opinion: Cowan and Kessler: Economic Populism Is a Dead End for Democrats : The de Blasio-Warren Agenda Won't Travel." These Hillary-supporters linked NYC's new anti-megabank mayor-elect with U.S. Senator Warren, and even listed his name before hers, probably so as to blur their real intention and sole actual target here, which was Elizabeth Warren, whose appeal to core Democratic voters presents the only substantial threat to Hillary Clinton's Presidential train, which is now leaving the station.
Cowan-Kessler opened: "If you talk to leading progressives these days, you'll be sure to hear this message: The Democratic Party should embrace the economic populism of New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts [U.S.] Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Such economic populism, they argue, should be the guiding star for Democrats heading into 2016." Amazingly, these Wall Street fronts (Cowan and Kessler) let slip there that though they mentioned first the mere "Mayor-elect," their real focus was actually on the 2016 Presidential race: Hillary's expected Presidential-nomination contest against not "Massachusetts Sen.," but Massachusetts' U.S. Sen., Warren. They continued: "Nothing could be more disastrous for Democrats."