Here I was about to write a semi-long post about the Clinton campaign’s fourth-quarter full court press with no goalie, and then I see Tom Levenson wrote it first.
[B]roadly speaking, judging by the issues papers on her website, Clinton has maintained a fairly sophisticated approach to global warming and applied research, with the implication that the policies near and dear to scientists’ hearts — more money, and even more important, respect for the real knowledge developed within by scientific process, would flow under a Clinton presidency. What Clinton provided for public consumption may be boilerplate, but it has been good boilerplate.
But now, what she said at the Indiana interview this morning changes the game. She said, in effect, if the smart boys and girls don’t agree with her, then to hell with them.
That is, of course, precisely the anti-rational madness that has dominated the George Bush years. It is inimical to science or a scientific world view. If we are to pick and choose the facts we like, it is a very short step, quickly taken, to making them up. And that way lies an ever more rapid collapse of the American republic.
Do I have anything to add? Not really. Hillary seemed to be doing fine until the inevitability meme died, and then her campaign went a little crazy. It’s reached the point now where she doesn’t just sound like a Republican, she sounds like the intellectual dregs that the GOP tries to keep off of network TV. She sounds like David Horowitz. Are we really that far from Gastaxofascism Awareness Week? Her rhetoric offers up the same paranoid conviction that all of the experts on Earth are either wrong or out to get you.
Maybe Hillary knows that her populist message really is pap and nonsense, but then maybe Horowitz does too. They’re both either stupid enough to believe what they’re saying or enough morally stunted to lead masses down an intellectually poisonous path in return for some cheap attention.
I’ll still vote Democratic regardless of who wins this forever primary; Supreme Court appointments matter too much to consider anything else. That said, if Dems offer this kind of leadership in ’09 I promise the same party loyalty that John showed after Schiavo.
I think it’s worth emphasizing exactly what she said today, because I didn’t really realize just how crazy it was until I read it the second time:
“It’s really odd to me that arguing to give relief to a vast majority of Americans creates this incredible pushback… Elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that don’t benefit” the vast majority of the American people. (via TPMEC, emphasis mine)
“Elite opinion” is “always” against the American people? That’s just… wow. Reality-based community, we hardly knew ye.
Low information voters must be a desirable demographic. Something about the stupid being easily led.
Another sad aspect to this is that her only real chance is to woo superdelegates, most of whom fit the definition of “elite” used in this context.
I agree that the campaign went off the rails when the inevitibility aura disappeared. They didn’t seem to have a backup plan.
The Grand Panjandrum
I’m pretty sure we only have about two more weeks of this BS before Clinton withdraws or the SD’s shut it down. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last straw.
I’ve stopped even pretending to be surprised about the absolute smarm that comes out of her mouth these days. Does anyone else feel like they’re living in a protracted Twilight Zone episode?
Yet the Dems will no doubt pick up seats in both houses. That will blunt teh crayz! Plus as much as McCain is running to the right, I don’t think he’s half as insane as he seems to be (with the exception of Iraq policy).
More to the point voting for Hillary is no longer an option for me.
I’ve gone from being a Democrat, to a registered independent, to someone who wouldn’t vote for Hillary, to someone who will actually work and donate to McCain if Hillary steals the nomination. While my ideals line up with Hillary, her campaign tactics are no better and just as disgusting as Rove. Rovian and Hillary Politics exist to elect people not to further the country. This kind of politics needs to go away.
More like “Mr. Ed” sans Wilbur.
Tim, up until a month or so ago, I was all about ‘one way or the other, I will vote for the Dem in the Presidential.’ Remarkably, and extraordinarily, that’s no longer true for me.
Hillary scares me more than McCain. Obliterate Iran?!? Guns ‘n God?!? Tax holiday?!? Elite economists?!? The only shark left for her to jump are the Supremes. And frankly, I no longer trust her not to strap on those skis, to triangulate that decision. In fact, I believe McCain will be more moderate with that choice since he must pander to me as a non-believer.
I simply do not trust her any longer. She has embraced those who pilloried her and her husband for more than a decade, as well as their tactics. I loudly and continuously defended them from the disgusting attacks they faced. Scaife. Limbaugh. O’Reilly. The National Review. American Spectator.
I *will not* vote Clinton, period. I will vote all down-ticket races, but I will not vote for “that woman.” You see, I promised myself after living through the Republican horror show of 1992 through 2007 that I would never vote for one of them again, as long as I live.
Sorry, Hillary. May you join Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, Dan Quayle and the Whig Party in political purgatory. God knows, you’ve earned it.
Two months ago, I would have said you were an asshole. A month ago I would have said you were a jerk.
Now, I’m not there yet, but I damn sure see where you’re coming from.
It is simply astounding that within 2 short months she has thrown away years of support, admiration, and goodwill from so many of us.
Is there some way we can throw Hillary to the Republicans and make her stay there?
The Republic can’t afford these stupid people in positions of power.
I’d be willing to trade Hillary, Slummy Joe Leiberman, and a player-to-named-later for Hagel. I honestly can’t think of another nationally known gooper who I have the slightest bit of respect for.
Barbara Ehrenreich, the author of Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch said this about The Family, the Capitol Hill fundie cult in which H. Clinton is an active member:
“The Family avoids the word Christian but worships Jesus, though not the Jesus who promised the earth to the ‘meek.’ They believe that, in mass societies, it’s only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God’s ‘dominion’ on earth. Insofar as The Family has a consistent philosophy, it’s all about power — cultivating it, building it and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or ‘cells.’ ‘We work with power where we can,’ Doug Coe [The Family’s leader] has said, and ‘build new power where we can’t.”
So her rants about “elites” rings particularly hollow.
I cannot promise to vote for Clinton if she runs in November. As far as I’m concerned, she’s morphed from being a victim of the vast right wing conspiracy to being part of it. Maybe it’s a peculiar manifestation of Stockholm Syndrome–I don’t know. But I think that woman, Hillary Clinton, is dangerous to the security and welfare of the United States. She’s certainly as unprincipled as John McCain and she talks a lot like George Bush.
If somehow Senator Clinton manages to get the nomination I will not vote for her, although I will support almost every other Democrat on the ticket.
Hillary has become the feminine equivalent of Aaron Burr, who almost became president in the election of 1800 because he and Thomas Jefferson were tied in electoral votes. A couple of recent PBS documentaries have been dead on in showing how Burr’s view of political expediency was remarkably like Clinton’s:
Bill and Hillary have used the Clinton presidency to amass their pile, they’ve got their $109 million payday. Some of this is their due for the insanity of the Clinton impeachment. But they should both just cash in their chips and go away.
Because in the end, Senator Clinton should be kept away from the presidency for the same reason that Hamilton derailed Burr’s presidential ambitions. Hamilton strongly opposed Thomas Jefferson, and firmly believed that Jefferson was absolutely wrong in his vision of government.
But he also believed that Jefferson had integrity, while Burr had none.
Ultimately, Jefferson prevailed, and the rest is history.
Senator Clinton either believes that voters are fools who will blandly accept every piece of nonsense that she throws out, or she thinks that the primary is a game in which the only goal is to win, and what you say is meaningless jabber which will be jettisoned once you are safely in office.
Or she will do and say anything now, and in the future.
I look forward to seeing Senator Clinton either support President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, or helping a Democratic Senate oppose President McCain’s worst choices for the bench.
Senator Clinton believes that she should be rewarded for her cynicism, her pandering, her opportunism, her deceptions and obfuscations, simply because she is a Democrat.
Like Burr or the Tammany Hall Political Machine, or the trainwreck that is the Bush/Cheney Administration, Clinton clearly believes that integrity is for suckers.
I refuse to play along.
Dennis - SGMM
A Turd(D)smells just as bad as a Turd(R).
The main reason that I could never have voted for Clinton is that she’s the latter masquerading as the former.
Economists are not scientists! Many of their policies do nothing but increase the wealth disparity, especially Obama’s own Chicago school…
…but in this case stopping the gas tax is a fucking stupid plan.
Dennis - SGMM
Hmm, WordPress decided that an R in parenthesis means Registered Trademark rather than an R in parenthesis.
I don’t think that Clinton has any fixed principles or party loyalty. She’s a member of the Clinton party and that’s all. Her sole objective is to get elected and subsequently re-elected. She will do or say just about anything to achieve those ends.
That’s a feature.
Well, Dennis it appears that you have now registered the use of the word Turd(R) and everytime someone uses it you get paid. Congratulations! My check is in the mail to you already.
The Earth-Bound Misfit
In deriding people with knowledge, training and expertise as “elitists,” Clinton is showing herself to be a George Bush type of idiocrat.
Either that, or she had concluded that the American people are too stupid to understand any discussions on why her phony gas tax holiday won’t work.
I acknowledge the Supreme Court issue, but that is the only reason I would ever consider voting for her. If I do decide to vote for her, I sure as hell will not discuss it with anyone or try to sway them.
With all the Hillary haet in the media, someone of import will note that being a member of a 50-person group (the Senate) from FUCKING NEW YORK would make her elitist by definition.
For the first time since I was old enough to vote, I really, truly fear and loathe one of the Democratic candidates. I know people are hoping that if she does win she’ll say “Ha, ha, just kidding!” and be the bestest president evar. (Some people just like her bullshit but fuck ’em.)
But right now I would lay $5 bucks on it.
[sigh] You don’t have to take a breathalyzer test to vote, do you?
Bonus points for the Lemony Snickett reference.
Every morning I wake up and hope against hopes that this is all a bad dream….and every morning I add greater and greater quantities of bourbon to my coffee. If this keeps up I’m going to going to work with a fifth of bourbon and a splash of Kahluah.
A.) Economists are social scientists who often have to work with a vanishingly small dataset (and this is coming from a chemist, so I have the normal anti-social science biases). And…
B.) The fact that some of them are BAD social scientists has nothing to do with the fact that they are at least supposed to justify their conclusions with facts and testable models.
The problem with Clinton is the same problem anyone would have with a smart base constituency; you can’t treat us the same way the Right treated the dominionist nuts for so long, because we notice it and are not fooled. But if you pander to us enough to keep us happy, you lose votes among some undecideds while not winning any uncertain votes. Yet another reason for more than a two-party system; right now Clinton thinks that the die-hard realists have no other party to go to, so she thinks she can piss on us as much as she likes–what are we gonna do, vote for Republicans? If we had a tenable third (or fourth, etc.) party to vote for (say, with instant run-off voting), it wouldn’t be so crowded here under the bus with the homosexuals and the black people.
>>The problem with Clinton is the same problem anyone would have with a smart base constituency; you can’t treat us the same way the Right treated the dominionist nuts for so long, because we notice it and are not fooled.
Hate to spoil it for you, but there are more idiots than Smart People(tm). Thus, Smart People(tm) are expendable.
Way to go, Sports Guy Timmeh!
I just wish someone would ask her the simple question of exactly how she intends to make the gas tax relief happen THIS summer as promised. Can she make congress pass it and then make Bush sign it?
Make yourself feel better by watching the ad for Matt Taibbi’s new book.
This will be my tenth GE. I have never voted for a Republican, never will. Thus I will not be pledging not to vote for Hillary.
Which party occupies the White House affects a lot more than Supreme Court picks. It directs the policies and leadership of every federal agency and program. I don’t want my agency to have to continue carrying out Bush’s bullshit agenda, I want it back on track with its actual mission.
I have no reason to believe that Hillary would not put the federal bureaucracy onto a more progressive path. To be sure, she has revealed herself to be a power-crazed harridan who does not deserve our respect. But although being able to respect and admire the president is a good thing, it’s not the only thing that matters. The nation is quickly approaching the point of no return; I see economic collapse on the horizon if we don’t turn the ship of state.
If the new ship captain next January must be President Turd®, so be it.
>>Can she make congress pass it and then make Bush sign it?
Nah, she just wants to show that she is a FIGHTER.
I think we’re finding, in Bush’s “base” and Hillary’s target constituency, that “some of the people all of the time” is about 30%.
And Turd(r) is accurate — The (R’s) have registered that trademark for sure.
Good work spotting a joke, genius.
Funny thing about all the supposed Hillary hate in the media. Senator Clinton seems to have no problems with calling in favors with friendly media people, who provide her with free air time at strategic moments.
So, tonight, Indiana homeboy David Letterman is going to have Hillary do the Top Ten on his show.
Must be nice having friends in high places. Oops, that would seem to be elitist. Oh, well.
Nu? Obama did the Top Ten a few nights ago.
That’s certainly true. I was on a fantasy book forum and they were discussing politics and the things that people thought were true was scary. Some people still weren’t sure whether Obama was Muslim or Christian. One person talked about Obama’s anti-American attitude and lack of patriotism being a problem for Obama in the GE and all sorts of bizarre nuttiness. It was scary and I hide under my covers until it went away. I’ve been reading political blogs for so long, sometimes I forget about the average voter.
Which I think is a defense mechanism so I don’t go crazy…er.
But those people were highly susceptible to manipulation and those are the people Hillary is preying on.
The Letterman site promises a Hillary Clinton Top 10, along with Jimmy Kimmel and Lance Burton (Tonight’s Guests).
It appears to be a new show.
Like I said, people like to pretend that the media hates Hillary, but she is able to easily get herself on Ellen, The Tonight Show, Letterman, Larry King, and other Hillary-friendly venues that lets her look “warm” and nearly human.
Sorry, i have been a loyal democrat for over 16 years… If this woman gets the nomination, I will write in Barack and that will be that
Obama is wrong about the gas tax
Think Clinton’s plan to suspend the gas tax temporarily is a bad idea? A similar measure in Illinois — which Obama backed — seems to have helped consumers.
By George Frost
May. 06, 2008 | Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has repeatedly accused rival Hillary Clinton of “pandering” for advocating a summer gas-tax moratorium, calling it a “classic Washington gimmick” that would do little to help consumers.
“That’s typical of how Washington works,” Obama says in a new TV ad airing in Indiana, where primary voters go to the polls Tuesday. “There’s a problem. Everybody’s upset about gas prices. Let’s find some short-term quick fix that we can say we did something even though … we’re not really doing anything.”
Obama dismisses Clinton’s proposal to suspend the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax as: 1) a political gimmick that will not deliver any significant relief to consumers, while diverting us from the serious energy reforms we need to undertake; 2) an opportunity for oil companies to raise prices to capture the missing tax increment; 3) an inducement to drivers to drive more, thus leading to more consumption and higher prices down the road; and 4) a drain on highway trust funding, which is sorely needed to repair our crumbling infrastructure.
This is powerful criticism because it resonates with a long-standing talking point against Clinton — that she is a political phony willing to do anything to get elected.
But in this case, each of Obama’s attack lines is either factually incorrect, or based on flawed logic. Could he be attacking Clinton just to deny her any political benefit? That would be as cynical and “old style” as anything Clinton has thrown at Obama lately.
American drivers are hurting, especially those who must drive a lot — commuters, truckers, carpool moms. Millions of lower-income rural and exurban Americans must drive long distances to their jobs, meaning high gas prices take a disproportionately large chunk out of their incomes. Some are having to choose between gasoline and food. A savings of $30 or $50 is a significant amount of cash for at least some Americans.
Despite the “gimmick” slam on Clinton, could it be that Clinton is sincerely trying to help, albeit in a very modest, and politically self-serving way? The evidence suggests that Clinton’s plan might work. It also raises the question of why Obama hasn’t made a similar proposal. He was certainly proud to back a gas-tax moratorium eight years ago.
While an Illinois state senator, Obama supported a state tax holiday very much like Clinton’s proposal, but without the saving mechanism of a windfall profits tax.
CBS News says Obama voted for the temporary lifting of the tax three times in the state Senate. The tax holiday was finally approved during a special session in June of 2000, when Illinois motorists were furious that gas prices had just topped $2 a gallon in Chicago. The moratorium lifted the state’s 5 percent sales tax on gasoline through the end of 2000.
Obama told constituents that gasoline prices would drop: “Gas retailers must post on each pump a statement that indicates that the state tax has been suspended and that this temporary elimination of the tax should be reflected in the price per gallon of gas.”
During one state Senate floor debate, Obama joked that he wanted signs on gas pumps in his district to say, “Senator Obama reduced your gasoline prices.”
Now, running for president, Obama says the tax reduction was a complete failure, and that “the oil companies, the retailers” ended up benefiting most because they raised prices by the entire amount of the tax cut.
“I voted for it, and then six months later we took a look, and consumers had not benefited at all,” Obama said. Having learned this hard economics lesson from his Illinois “mistake,” Obama now argues that a federal tax holiday also will fail for the same reason — the oil companies will take it all.
But Obama is wrong. He did not learn this lesson. In fact, the only scientific study done on the pass-through of the tax holiday savings to Illinois consumers (and those in Indiana, as well, whose citizens enjoyed a similar holiday) found that it actually worked to a large extent.
The study is titled “$2.00 Gas! Studying the Effects of a Gas Tax Moratorium,” by Joseph J. Doyle Jr. and Krislert Samphantharak. Download the PDF here. The authors concluded that “the suspension of the 5% sales tax led to decreases in retail prices of 3% compared to neighboring states. And when the tax was reinstated, retail prices rose by roughly 4%.”
This suggests that the tax holiday delivered at least 60 percent of the tax savings to motorists.
The economic basis for attacks on the Clinton tax holiday is a fundamental economic theory called “tax incidence.” It says that the cost of a tax on any consumer product will be borne by those with lesser “elasticity” in the tug of war between suppliers and consumers. “Tax incidence” falls mostly upon the group that responds least to price — the group that has the more inelastic price-quantity curve. In this instance, assuming that the supply of gas is pretty much fixed, it means consumers will end up paying those missing tax dollars directly to the gas companies in the form of higher prices. The increased demand triggered by the price cut will supposedly lead drivers to bid up the price of gas, swallowing the tax cut.
But this is not what happened in Illinois and Indiana back in 2000. And there are factors at work today that might provide equal or more “elasticity” to the producers, and prevent consumers from paying the price for the tax cut.
Gasoline inventories are currently very high, and these surpluses can absorb much of any increase in demand. (See here.). Should gasoline consumption surge still higher, in the short run, refiners can also divert enough of the crude oil meant for other products — diesel or jet fuel, for example — into gasoline to meet demand.
On the demand side, let’s face it: This is a tiny price cut. It is not likely to spur demand much beyond the usual seasonal increase in driving. And if oil companies do what Obama says they will do — jack up prices to cover the tax — there would be no incentive at all to drive more.
The media has attacked the Clinton plan for not being supported by the think tanks and economists. But there are a few economists out there — such as Bill Polley — who point out that if short-run demand is also inelastic, it is “not a foregone conclusion that the suppliers will get all the benefit.” In fact, Polley concludes that consumers would get a nickel a gallon or more benefit — not much, but better than nothing.
What about the charge that Clinton’s summer tax holiday will spur consumption, leading to sharply higher long-term demand, thus crippling our efforts to conserve? Well, the economic literature suggests otherwise.
Basically, it is absurd to say that a summer-long price drop of this tiny magnitude will have any long-term effect at all. A meta-study by Molly Espey of 101 different economic studies, published in Energy Journal, found that in the short run (defined as one year or less), the average price elasticity of demand for gasoline is only -0.26. That is, a 10 percent hike in the price of gasoline lowers quantity demanded by 2.6 percent. As long as the price stimulus is small and short-lived, there is little if any long-term effect. And most experts agree that in order to actually curtail demand through taxes, it would take a much higher tax than is politically feasible.
Not one of the three major presidential candidates is calling for a $2 or $3 a gallon tax increase. The better long-term approach — given the lack of political spine by any U.S. politician on this subject — is higher efficiency standards, and big-time investment into transportation alternatives. Both Obama and Clinton are pushing these.
Finally, Obama says the gas tax holiday would cost thousands of construction jobs and lead to crumbling roadways and bridges. But if Clinton replaces the lost revenue with a windfall profit tax on oil companies, as she insists is necessary, then there would be no harm to our infrastructure repair work.
Many — including Clinton backer and economist Paul Krugman — have questioned whether Clinton’s proposed windfall profits tax would work: “In one pocket, out the other. So it’s pointless, not evil, ” says Krugman. “But it is pointless, and disappointing.”
But under Clinton’s plan, if properly implemented, any additional profit realized by an oil company by passing on the cost of the windfall profits tax to customers would also be subject to the tax. This means a dollar passed through to consumers to offset the tax would appear as profit … and be taxed.
How to enforce this? Make it against the law for oil companies to pass the price of the windfall profits tax on to consumers, and then audit the oil companies’ books. It is not a difficult accounting exercise to tax excess profits above a certain gross percentage per barrel of oil, or gallon of gas. Every major oil company has sophisticated profit segmentation reports that go to the very senior management of the company. These reports identify revenues, costs and profit at each level of the vertically integrated operation, broken down on a per barrel basis by product type, marketing region, you name it.
The oil companies also will have a powerful inducement to avoid being caught — and in this kind of toxic political environment, they may actually swallow the tax.
But it takes a little bit of courage to take them on, and a belief that we do not always have to be victims. Obama — where is your optimism?
— By George Frost
the Senate is a 100 member group, dumbass. And there’s no way in hell I’ll vote for Obama after reading all this shit. I’ll write in Clinton or say fuck it and vote for mcbush. Obama’s fine, it’s his whiny ass supporters that piss me off.