Tag: Hillary Clinton

Breaking Down the SCOTUS Debate

One of the worst exchanges in last night’s debate was about the Supreme Court. I was literally yelling at my television. I was going to break it down but Ann Althouse does it way more thoroughly than I ever could. You should read the whole thing but here’s one quote, when Clinton said her justices would be “on the side” of the American people.

I was already loudly arguing with her. The side? The Supreme Court isn’t supposed to take sides. She’s blatantly saying she wants a Court that doesn’t act like a court but gets on one side. Her Court is a Court that ought to have to recuse itself constantly.

This is absolutely right. John Roberts famously said that his job was to call balls and strikes, not favor either team. Clinton said the Court should “stand up” to the wealthy. But that’s wrong too. It should stand up to the wealthy if they’re violating the Constitution. Standing up to the wealthy or the powerful or the corrupt or whatever is what we have legislatures and executives for. All the Court is supposed to do is decide if their method of “standing up” to whomever is Constitutional or not. As the Bible says, judges should favor neither the wealthy nor the poor, but enforce the law.

Later she got into the Heller decision. She acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects an individual right but said that Heller was decided wrongly because it protects toddlers from being accidentally shot. That is, to put it mildly, total and complete bullshit. Cooke:

This is flatly incorrect. Heller, as anyone who has read it knows, revolved around the question of whether the government in Washington, D.C., could legally ban handguns entirely. It had nothing to do with “toddlers.” “Toddlers,” as Sean Davis correctly points out, are not mentioned in the majority opinion, and they are not mentioned in the dissent. Other than in an extremely indirect sense, “toddlers” had nothing to do with the legal question being considered.

Heller involved the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, which forbade handguns and other arms. There were multiple plaintiffs but the namesake was a 66-year-old cop who wanted to keep a gun at home for self defense but was not allowed to. This, once again, exposes Clinton’s “I support the Second Amendment” claim as bullshit. If she is against Heller, she is in favor of gun bans Period.

Trump’s performance wasn’t quite as bad but wasn’t good either. He touted his list of 20 potential SCOTUS nominees (although I doubt he could name a single one of the cuff). He defended the Second Amendment in vague terms. But … and this is where his suckitude as candidate comes forth … he utterly failed to call Clinton out on her crap. He didn’t know Heller well enough to point out that she was lying. He didn’t know Citizens United well enough to point out that she wanted the Court to ban a film that was critical of her. They later tangled on abortion. I’m not pro-Life but, frankly, neither is Trump. And it showed as he was all over the place, failing to point out, for example, that Roe v. Wade allows abortion to be outlawed in the third trimester.

I highlight the exchange on SCOTUS because it is a perfect distillation of the debate and really, the entire campaign. Clinton is vulnerable everywhere. She’s a poor candidate, she often says things that are wrong, contradicts herself and leaves openings a mile wide for her opponent. This is why a junior Senator from Illinois was able to beat her. This is why a crackpot Senator from Vermont almost beat her. But … this is key … you have to actually know stuff to go after her. She sounds authoritative and knowledgeable. Exposing her as neither means getting the weeds a bit.

But Trump can’t be bothered to do his homework. He just wings it. And so on a subject that Clinton should know well but where she spewed a bunch of garbage and lied her ass off, he fought her to a draw at best.

I will continue to say this: just about any normal Republican would have crushed her in all three debates and would be crushing her now in the polls.

Debate Three


The winner of this debate was clearly Chris Wallace who kept the candidates on task and pressed them on several key issues (most notably pressing Hillary on her proposed Syrian no-fly zone that could spark a war with Russia). Trump was OK at first but then got more incoherent as the night went on. Clinton was terrible at addressing questions about Wikileaks, had an awful answer on the Supreme Court and kept trying to awkwardly pivot to her talking points.

Trump probably edges this one out but I don’t think it will make a difference at this point. The good news is that this is the last debate of this endless election season. And so … maybe we’re the real winners.

How I’ll Vote

Reason has their annual who we’ll vote for article out in which their writers and associated libertarians reveal who they plan to vote for in this election. I’ve indicated my intension before, but I’ll put it down in one place, answering the same questions the Reason people did.

Who are you voting for? Gary Johnson. He is by far the best candidate on the issues, by far the most qualified and by far the most likable. I realize people think this is a wasted vote; I do not think so. And Pennsylvania is unlikely to be close, in any case. If some combination of Johnson, McMullin and Stein deny Crump a majority, we can deny them a mandate.

Down ballot, I will be voting for Pat Toomey for Senate and Glenn Thompson for the House. Because I think the most important part of this election is having Republicans retain control of Congress.

(I also think the Republican Party may schism after this into a conservative party and a populist one. But that’s a subject for another post.)

Which major-party candidate do you find most alarming? Trump. Clinton is an unprincipled, corrupt, amoral power-grubber whose policies, such as they are, are awful. She’s taking a provocative stance with Russia, has a long history of supporting idiotic foreign adventures, wants to raise taxes and spending out the wazoo and would appoint bad justices to the Court.

But as I said in last month’s posts, in every way that Clinton is bad, Trump is worse. He’s for bigger government, more spending, more debt. He has demonstrated a vindictiveness and a callous disregard for Constitutional restraint. And if I hadn’t been convinced of his mental unfitness, the complete meltdown of the last few weeks would have done it. The only reason to vote for him is SCOTUS justices but a) I don’t think that’s worth the risk; b) I don’t trust him to not appoint outright fascists to the Court who will rubber stamp what he wants to do.

The gripping hand is that there will (hopefully) be a Republican Congress to keep Clinton’s worst instincts in check. They have amply demonstrated that they will not keep Trump in check. They have demonstrated an ability to keep a Democrat in check, having killed efforts at card check, a public option, minimum wage hikes, cap and trade and gun control while cutting spending $700 billion below what Obama wanted.

Who did you vote for in 2012? Gary Johnson. Although in that case, it was because I saw little reason to be apocalyptically alarmed by either candidate. How bad is it that I long for the days of Romney v. Obama?

What will you miss most about the Obama years? Having a President I didn’t despise. I disagreed with Obama constantly, but I felt like he was honest about what he thought, could make his case eloquently and never lost his cool. I never bought into the whole “he hates America!” hysteria. His personal life is pretty much beyond reproach (which was something I liked about Bush as well). Think about listening to Obama speak for the last eight years, then imagine hearing Clinton or Trump speak for the next eight minutes and you’ll see what I mean. In five years, a lot of conservatives will be looking back wistfully on the Obama years, longing for the days when the President was just wrong about everything, rather than being wrong about everything and a piece of shit.

Debate Two

Good God, is this what our Republic has come to? Watching these two jackasses bray was an awful 90 minutes. The first 20 were especially awful as we got into Trump’s tape and Clinton’s past behavior. But it’s not like it got better past that as Trump gave off incoherent word salads and Clinton recited coached, coherent, focused answers that advocated terrible terrible policies. For me, it was alternating, “What the fuck did he just say?” and “OMG, she’s advocating to make things even worse!”

I would say that Trump probably won mostly on style. His actual answers were all over the place but he did hit Clinton on a few points and made one or two good points of his own. Clinton mostly held serve but her answers on her e-mail server and her leaked speeches were just awful (mainly because there is no non-awful answer).

The main impact this will have on the race? Trump stays in. The flood of GOP rats fleeing the ship will stop. He will probably stabilize in the polls. So, yeah, we’ve got another month of this crap.

Good God. I’ve said this before. And maybe it’s the Vodka talking. But this is another of those times I really really wish Lee were still with us. He could at least find the humor in this. Right now … I really can’t.

The Latest Clinton Leaks

I mentioned this in passing in the Trump post, but there have been more leaks of communications within the Clinton campaign and leaks of her Wall Street speeches. I haven’t had time to go through them yet, but here’s one of the rundowns. Long story short: she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth.

But we knew that already, didn’t we? I sometimes wonder if the purpose of the Trump campaign is to get Clinton elected. And his tape being released on the same day as these leaks doesn’t exactly make me wonder any less.

The Clinton Tapes

Hot Air has a good roundup of the most interesting quotes from the Clinton campaign audio tape that was leaked last week.

There is a…a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates. And on the other side, there’s a just a deep desire to believe that, you know, we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough and we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel.

So as a friend of mine said the other day, I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right and I don’t have much company there. Because it is difficult when you’re running to be president and you understand how hard the job is. I don’t want to over-promise. I don’t want to tell people things that I know we cannot do. I want to level with the American people…and be very clear about the progress I think we can make.

She also gets into how she thinks that Sanders was selling a false promise of political revolution but that she understands why it appeals to young people with poor job prospects.

I would find the tape … reassuring had it been leaked months ago. So much to the point where I’m actually wondering if the Clinton campaign itself leaked this to try to win over moderates. The biggest problem I, and many others, have with the Clinton campaign is its drift to the far Left. It wouldn’t erase the concerns about Clinton’s ethics, temperament, corruption and history of bad decisions. But … it would be better than all that combined with a Far Left agenda.

However … Clinton ultimately embraced Sanders’ agenda. She let him write the party platform and she’s running on the very promises she once said were impossible (mainly because they are). If she wins the election … give me a second to choke down my bile … she will be expected to deliver this. And if, God forbid, she had a Democratic Congress, she might be able to. So for all the “pragmatism” she might be expressing in this audio, it means very little as far as practical politics.

Ultimately, this reveals that while Clinton does show an understanding of the limits of politics, she is perfectly willing to sell any pragmatism down the river if it gets her closer to power. It shows someone who can not be trusted. Because the second she feels her power slipping, she’ll geek for whatever cause is in the air.

Scientific American Drifts From Science

A few weeks ago, Scientific American sent twenty questions to the four Presidential candidates, asking for their policy positions on scientific issues. I think that’s a fine idea. The next President will control billions of dollars in federal funding for science, have to set priorities for our various department and agencies that do science and have to deal with scientific issues like disease, vaccines and climate change. These questions won’t reveal much about what the candidates think, but will reveal the kind of people they surround themselves with who actually write the answers. Are they surrounding themselves with real scientists or cranks? Big government lackeys or free market gurus? Earth-first idiots or global-warming-is-a-fraud crackpots?

Having read through the answers, it’s about what I would expect. It’s mostly pablum but gives you a general sense of their philosophies. Clinton thinks government can solve everything, Johnson is very in favor of free markets, Stein is a crackpot and Trump is kind of all over the place. All show some grasp of the issues but differ on their approaches. In terms of the quality of answers, I would rank them Johnson, Clinton, Trump, Stein, but … that is an entirely subjective rating. I rate Johnson high because I favor free markets and Stein low because she’s a crank who favors massive government intervention in everything.

Well, that wasn’t enough for Scientific American, who decided to “grade” the candidates on their answers. They rated Clinton highest (64 points), Stein (44 points), Johnson (30) and Trump (7). But their ratings having nothing to do with the actual science and everything to do with politics.

Both Trump and Johnson are hit for favoring free market approaches to climate change. Why? Because Scientific American doesn’t think the free market can handle climate change. Maybe it can’t, but that’s an opinion not a fact. It’s fine for pundits to have opinions but SA is presenting this as though it is some kind of objective analysis, which it clearly is not.

It get worse. They are heavily biased against Trump, frequently giving him zeros on issues where he’s not entirely wrong. They give him 0 points on education because he favors bringing more market forces to bear on education. Trump may be right or wrong on that (I think he’s right) but they bash him because ITT folded and Trump University was a scam. This has nothing to do with what Trump said. It’s bashing him for things he said outside of the forum and for issues unrelated to what he’s talking about. If you’re going to hit Trump for the failure of ITT (which he had nothing to do with), why not hit Clinton for taking millions in “for profit” college money? Clinton and Trump give basically the same answer on nuclear power, but Clinton gets two points and Trump gets one because reasons. On scientific integrity, they give Trump 0 points because … Politifact has rated a lot of his utterance as untrue. Look, I’ll be the first to call Trump a liar but this has nothing to do with his answers to this specific question. It’s ridiculous.

But it gets even worse. On nuclear power, they give Jill Stein 2/5 points. Jill Stein’s answer on nuclear power is one of the worst answers the entire debate. She plans to shut nuclear power down based on junk science and favors on-site storage based on junk science. Her proposal would almost certainly make climate change worse, not better. And if we’re going to judge candidates by what they’ve said elsewhere, she once claimed nuclear power plants were bombs. Stein is a complete crank on nuclear power. There is no way she should get any points on this. She also get 2/5 on food, even though she’s a complete crank on GMOs and farming.

Nowhere is this bias more visible than the question on vaccines. Trump is given 1/5 for occasionally engaging in anti-vaccine nonsense. But Stein is given 3/5 when her entire party is devoted to anti-vaccine nonsense; nonsense she has not seen fit to dispel. Seriously, Scientific American? Seriously?

I’m glad someone is asking the candidates questions about science policy. But Scientific American needs to just lay out the questions and answers and leave it that. We do not need this kind of biased analysis showing up in a supposedly scientific magazine. Write about it on Politico or Daily Kos or whatever.

You might wonder why this set me off. It’s because this is one of the biggest problems facing science today: the efforts by scientists and scientific publications to wed scientific facts to political opinions. This shows itself most thoroughly in the debate about global warming where disagreeing with left wing policy solutions to global warming is considered a form of “denial” on par with claiming the planet isn’t actually warming. The debate over global warming (and a host of other issues) would be light years easier if we separated those two; if we said “you can accept that global warming is real and not accept my solutions to it”. SA’s “grading” of the answers to the science debate is just the latest in the misguided philosophy of mistaking opinions about scientific issues for facts about scientific issues. And it needs to stop. These issues are way too important.

First Debate Thoughts

  • What did we do to deserve this?
  • Judged as as pure debate, Clinton “won” as far as that goes. You can tell because the conservative blogs are calling it a draw. She didn’t get rattled. She appeared almost human. Her answers were coherent if alarming. Trump held his own for thirty minutes. But, as I suspected, having a one-on-one debate meant his catch phrases began to wear thin after a while. His ignorance of policy and his tendency to shaft other people kept coming back up. Trump avoiding rising to Clinton’s bait a few times, but he did bite more than once and was on the defensive a lot. This is was clearly intentional from Clinton because the one thing we know about Trump is that he can. not. let. anything. go.
  • That said, I don’t know how much of a difference it will make. Trump has been exposed as a lair, a fraud and a policy ignoramus for months now. His core supporters simply do not care. They either despise Clinton more or cling to the strange belief that he will trash the system without also trashing the country. He could literally have spent the entire 90 minutes masturbating and they wouldn’t have cared.
  • I thought Holt did an OK job. He mainly let the candidates go at each other, which is a format I prefer. There’s been some criticism of him for not going after Clinton (bringing up Benghazi, etc.). There’s legitimacy in that. It seemed odd to press Trump on his support for the Iraq while ignoring the woman who voted for it. But … most of the things that put Trump on the defensive were brought up by Clinton. Trump punched back a few times, making Clinton talk about the e-mail scandal. But he spent so much time trying to weasel about his tax returns, his bankruptcies, his birtherism that he wasn’t able to push her on other issues.
  • I suspect Trump will do better in the next debate because Conway will make sure he stays on the offensive.
  • What was with the sniffing? Based on the internet speculation about Clinton, I’m going to assume that Trump has Ebola.
  • Trump has already surrendered much of the conservative agenda. Among other things, he called for massive investments in “infrastructure”, mandated paid parental leave, restricted trade and more gun control.
  • In fact, I challenge anyone to go through that debate transcript and find anything either candidate said about basic freedoms. The subjects of mass surveillance, the War on Drugs and mass incarceration weren’t touched on. Foreign wars were barely mentioned and the only in the past tense. Obamacare wasn’t really addressed. Regulation wasn’t really addressed. What this came down to was which candidate is most qualified to tighten the screws on our liberty.

Tight As A Drum

In 2016, Hillary Clinton has:

  • An arguable structural advantage in the electoral college.
  • An incumbent President with an approval rating in the high 50’s.
  • A media almost united behind her.
  • An historically awful Republican candidate: a deeply disliked two-bit conman who knows nothing about policy and has a poor ground game in battleground states.
  • A big funding advantage.

And, as of this morning, the campaign is basically a toss-up, according to 538’s analysis. There was a reason the Democrats rejected her in 2008 in favor of a freshman Senator. There was as reason the Democrats almost rejected her this year in favor of a 74-year-old crackpot Senator from Vermont. And that reason is not her extra X-chromosome. It’s because she’s a poor politician.

Election 2016: V. The Case Against Hillary Clinton

This is the fourth part of a five (or maybe seven) part series I will do this week making the case for and against each of the major candidates, with a wrap-up on the weekend. I did this in 2012 and I will observe the same ground rule I did then: making the case for a candidate means making the case for a candidate, not a case against the opponent. That’s the subject of later posts. So “he’s not Hillary” is not a reason I will list for voting for Trump and “she’s not Trump” is not a reason I will list for voting for Clinton. Each one of them will get their own special post all to themselves about they don’t deserve our votes.

Today I write a post that summarizes a lot of what I’ve been saying for the last eight years: that Hillary Clinton is a poor choice for President.

Hillary Clinton is not like Bill; she has laid out a far left agenda. I’ve done this before, but here is a list of positions Clinton has put forward: “free” college, a $15 minimum wage, mandated paid maternity leave, expanded Obamacare, expanded Medicaid, subsidized daycare, cardcheck, massive “investment”, rejecting TPP, tax hikes, gun control, more education spending, expanded Social Security, $60 billion on alternative energy, more job training, more infrastructure spending. I mentioned earlier this week that Trump falsely claimed that Clinton was running a campaign without policy. That’s the opposite of the real problem — Clinton’s policies are listed on her website in the link above. She has tons of policies, most of them bad.

Keep in mind … we have problems paying for the stuff we’re already committed to. This year will see the deficit increase for the first time in six years. It is projected to increase dramatically over the next ten years, piling on another ten trillion in debt. We don’t have the money for this. Without spending cuts, we will have to max out this nation’s tax bill just to keep our heads above water. Where’s the money going to come from for this?

And jobs? Clinton says she’s going to bring jobs back to America by … killing free trade, enacting card check, “investing” in spending and paying out subsidies to favored business. This is on top of the slew of regulations she wants to pass and a near doubling of the minimum wage.

Now it is true that most of this wish list will never happen. But a significant amount could happen, especially if she has a Democratic Congress. And our economy and our budget are already straining under the weight.

Clinton’s “massive experience” isn’t all its cracked up to be. Let’s review the experience that Clinton brings to the table. As first lady, she authored a health care reform proposal that was byzantine, forged in secret and instantly unpopular. She jumped on the superpredator panic and wrote off all of her husband’s misdeeds as a vast right wing conspiracy. Yes, she organized some good things as First Lady. That’s not being President.

Handed a Senate seat on a golden platter, she went onto a fairly undistinguished career, supporting popular causes but never really taking a stand or crafting any major legislation. Even her own website sees her big accomplishment as getting funds to help first responders, which was important but not something she played the key role in.

As Secretary of State, Clinton tried to “reset” our relationship with Russia, which worked our poorly. She also was a huge proponent of our attack on Libya, which worked out poorly. She made no progress on Iran or Pakistan or Afghanistan or North Korea. And while Benghazi has been a bit overblown, there’s no question that, as Secretary of State, she bears responsibility for the poor state of defense of our assets in Libya.

Sorry, but her health is a concern. It always was. She’s turning 69 soon.

We can expect four more years of bullshit Let’s step back a bit. Suppose when the e-mail scandal had broken, Clinton had said something like this:

Look, I wanted to have easy access to e-mail and I wanted to have it outside the State Department. We made the decision to have our own server after many consultations. In retrospect, this was a poor decision. While we don’t think we were hacked, we left ourselves vulnerable. And while it wasn’t on purpose, we have mishandled some classified information. I take responsibility for this messup and, as President, I will take the initiative in tightening down our protocols on internet security.

That would not necessarily have been true, of course. But it would have defused the scandal instantly. The same is true of the Clinton Foundation. Or her health scare. Or any scandal involving the Clintons over the last 25 years.

The polls have tightened lately. The biggest shift has been among young people abandoning Clinton for Johnson and Stein. And the biggest reason for that is that they see Clinton as untrustworthy. The Clintons lie — frequently, flagrantly, fluently and reflexively. They lie when the truth would suit them way better. At least 70% of the scandals with which they have been “besieged” over the last 25 years could have been defused if they’d just answered a few questions honestly and forthrightly. You think that’s going to get better when she’s President?

Something else. Remember what she said in the first debate: that she was proud of having made so many enemies. Clinton has nursed grudges against Republicans for 25 years. Even if you posit that all of that was Republican evilness — and I don’t think it was — aren’t you a bit worried about Clinton wanting some payback? Aren’t you a bit worried about someone who boasts about the enemies she’s made having the power to attack them? A few weeks ago, Vox ran an alarmist article about how Trump could abuse the power of the Presidency against his enemies. But these methods will be available to Clinton too.

She has shown no ability to learn from her mistakes. As the War in Iraq has grown less popular, Clinton has admitted that voting for it was a mistake. As mass incarceration has grown less popular, Clinton has admitted that her role in the superpredator panic was a mistake. Normally, that would be a good thing in a politician.

But … Clinton has shown no ability to learn from her mistakes. Yeah, she’ll say that Iraq was a mistake. She still supported intervening in Libya and Syria, unleashing massive chaos. Yeah, she’ll say the superpredator panic was a mistake. She’s still jumping on the current moral panic of sex trafficking.

As with Trump, this post could be much longer. But notice, as with Trump, I haven’t commented (much) about her personality or manner or bearing. She can be as unlikable as she wants. What concerns me more is having a President with a long history of deception and evasion, armed with a big government agenda who has shown no ability to adapt in the light of new information.