By Doctor Comrade
Five rapid-response thoughts
My initial thoughts are these speeches are damaging because they confirm narratives that already exist about Clinton: that she's secretive, she changes positions depending on where the wind is blowing, and she is too close to Wall Street.
1. The speeches were damaging for two main reasons before this release: a. They confirmed that Hillary is too close to Wall Street, out-of-touch with most Americans (especially the Sanders demographic); b. She valued secrecy more than transparency, and rather than releasing the speeches and letting us judge for ourselves, she let everyone jump to the worst possible conclusions and then never released anything to disprove those notions. The Republican National Committee quickly moved to peel off Sanders-holdouts and Obama-coalition-holdouts (read: millennials) who are leaning Stein or Johnson, or may stay home. They just want less people to vote for Clinton.
2. Statements like this one are super troubling: Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin said in an email that, “Earlier today the U.S. government removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized WikiLeaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy.” Big no-no. Caplin just admitted that the content of the speeches will negatively affect Clinton, either because the content is bad (likely) or the content could be easily misconstrued (very likely--as was shown by the "basket of deplorables" comment and the "Sanders supporters live in their parents' basements" comment). Behind closed doors, Caplin believes Clinton has said bad things. Even if it's not true, this makes her look bad.
3. Looks like she didn't have her mind made up on some policies because she didn't know which position would be more politically expedient (especially the Keystone Pipeline). This confirms the previous belief that Clinton changed positions depending on what voters believed rather than adhering to deeply-held convictions.
4. I'm not really bothered by a lot of the emails. Internal campaign stuff seems totally boilerplate. They were preparing to respond to attacks. Every campaign does this.
5. "My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders" is going to sound ultra-scary to some, but it goes along with everything Trump has already been hounding her on, so no new damage.
Have we learned anything new? Not really. The New York Times is reporting her rhetoric in front of banks was totally different than her progressive rhetoric used during the primaries. We already suspected that, and that's why the speeches weren't released. "Such comments could have proven devastating to Mrs. Clinton during the Democratic primary fight, when Mr. Sanders promoted himself as the enemy of Wall Street and of a rigged economic system." I think NYT is overplaying this point a bit. It didn't hurt her then, it probably won't hurt her now. After all, Bernie is stumping for her, and he said today he still supports her.
The speeches were always a net negative. This makes it a little worse because it brings them back into the news cycle at a time when Trump is cratering, so it could help minimize Trump's calamitous descent in the polls. But then again, they're not going to change the minds of anyone she's already won over. The effect is bad, of course, but it isn't "grab her by the pussy" bad.