The lead editorials from The Economist over the weekend and from the Wall Street Journal this morning ask exactly the same question. Actually, not quite exactly the same: In The Economist it's "What does Hillary stand for?", while in the Wall Street Journal it's "What does Mrs. Clinton stand for?" Close enough.
Neither thinks we have much of a clue what the answer might be. The Economist guesses that you might be able to get an inkling of Hillary's plans for the economy by looking at the current proposals of the Center for American Progress, the activist organization long headed by former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta. Not that she's actually said that, of course. Meanwhile the Journal speculates that she will use her status as the first female major-party candidate for President to push supposedly "women's" issues like universal pre-K and government funding for childcare. But it's all just guesswork, and these guesses don't even get to the biggest issues.
Try Hillary's new campaign website and you won't get any more. "Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion." That's nice. What does it mean? By the way, can I please opt out of having Hillary as my "champion"? Really, no thank you. But anyway, other than offering to be your "champion," the website gives no information as to what she stands for, and no specific proposals on anything.
But this is why you have the Manhattan Contrarian to help you peer into the future. Hillary may be saying absolutely nothing and keeping it as vague as possible while she awaits her coronation, but here at MC we know how to take the little clues and turn them into deep insights. People, what do we actually know about Hillary? Here's what we know: We know that she is the very most conventional of left-wing thinkers. We know that she has no interest whatsoever in rocking the government gravy boat. We know that she deeply believes in the main project of the Left, which is to bring social justice and equality to the world through government action and crony capitalism. We know that she has taken tens of millions from oil states for her family "foundation." We know that she believes in the efficacy and moral goodness of government programs to help the downtrodden, in large part because lots and lots of her acquaintances and supporters run all those things and they seem to her like nice people.
Take these basic bits of knowledge and apply them to the big questions of government policy, and all the answers suddenly seem obvious:
- Without doubt, Hillary supports the continuation and gradual expansion of every single thing that the federal government is currently doing. $700 billion per year to "fight poverty" and nobody ever exits from poverty? We'll just let that $700 billion increase on autopilot by 5 or 10% per year. She will never propose a cut to anything.
- Obamacare? She'll veto any attempt at repeal, revision or reform.
- Entitlements? If you think Hillary could be bothered to propose any meaningful reform to get them on a sustainable path, you're kidding yourself. She sees the entitlement issue not at all in terms of what is right for the country and instead entirely in terms of potential partisan advantage: we'll sit back and let the Republicans propose the reform, and then we'll accuse them of throwing grandma off a cliff! Might she think it's some kind of a problem that the country will be borrowing $50 trillion or so by mid-century in a massive income transfer largely from relatively poor to relatively rich? Well, math was never her strong subject, and anyway Paul Krugman says that the best thing a country can do for its economy is to borrow $50 trillion and waste it -- and he won the Nobel Prize in economics! Actually, under Krugmanomics, borrowing $100 trillion would be even better. And besides, all this is long after her term will be over. Pass the problem on to the next guy -- it sure worked for Obama!
- New programs? Sure she'll propose a few. After all, if you become President you're entitled to some immortality from putting your name on something. More spending on education and childcare are good bets. Should something else be cut to fund it? That's not her issue.
- Energy and climate? Over at Climate Progress they collect various statements that Hillary has made over the years. The short version is that she's a completely gullible believer in the idea that the weather can be improved by making your electricity a lot more expensive. "[S]he has said the President’s use of the Clean Air Act to rein in carbon pollution from power plants, 'must be protected at all costs' during a speech last year to the League of Conservation Voters. She has been critical of fossil fuel subsidies and supported boosting renewables. To her, climate change represents 'the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.' 'The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say, sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc,' she said. " Does she understand that there may be some contradiction between pretending to be a "champion" of the middle class and trying to double everyone's electricity bill? Again, math was not her strong subject. Anyway, don't forget those tens of millions from the Arab petrostates to her foundation. Energy policy is the perfect place to practice crony capitalism while at the same time claiming the moral high ground and never getting challenged on that by the government press.
- Foreign policy? She was Obama's Secretary of State, for Chrissakes. Sure there could be a few tweaks around the edges, but does anybody think anything major is going to change?
Pick any other issue, and you will see that Hillary's position can be predicted with near one hundred percent certainty. It's easy!