I tried to watch Hillary's acceptance speech on Thursday night, but I could only stomach about half of it. Which is just as well, because in the oral delivery, all I could focus on was the hectoring humorlessness of it all. And you already know how hectoring and humorless Hillary is, so you don't need me to tell you about that. (To my surprise, some people -- my wife among them -- even seem to find Hillary not to be hectoring and humorless at all. There's no accounting for taste.) Anyway, if the goal is to focus on the substance, it's better to wait for the full text and have it in front of you when you comment.
Of course, that's assuming that the speech had at least some substance. This one has the look that someone went through it and scrubbed out of it any hint of any kind of a definitive statement with a meaning sufficiently precise that a commenter could criticize it. Really, how could someone utter this many meaningless platitudes is one short speech?
But even amidst the torrent of meaningless platitudes, it is possible to discern a political vision in this speech: It is a vision where government -- the federal government of the United States -- has the solution to every human problem, big, small and medium. A vision where the government can eliminate all down side risks from life by just spending a little more of the free money from the infinite credit card. A vision where the fundamental role of the politician is to promise goodies to pass out to buy the votes of the electorate. And a vision where we pretend that essentially everybody but a few bogeymen ("Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich") can be a net gainer from the government handout game.
- There aren't enough good-paying jobs in the country? We'll create them with a big blowout of federal spending! ("In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II. Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure.") I previsouly noted here that every idea on Hillary's website for "creating jobs" consisted of the federal government spending taxpayer money to hire people.
- Existing jobs don't pay enough money? The federal government will decree that employers will have to pay more! ("If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage . . . join us.")
- College costs too much? We'll make it free! ("Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!") You're burdened by student debt? We'll "liberate" you from it! ("We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.")
- You didn't save enough for retirement? Don't worry -- we're going to have a big expansion of Social Security! ("If you believe we should expand Social Security . . . join us.") Has she heard that Social Security is basically already broke and headed for bankruptcy at the current level of spending? If so, that didn't get any mention in this speech.
- "Affordable" health care is of course another top priority. ("If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care . . . join us.") No specifics, though. Is she aware that a previous plan of Democrats to create "affordable health care for all" required a federal takeover of a seventh of the economy and vast new spending, but it has actually made health care less affordable for all except those getting government handouts to cover their premiums? No mention of that here. Anyway, why is it a problem for the government to just pay everybody's health care premiums?
- Is there any human problem or issue that is too personal, too local, too intimate to justify the involvement of the behemoth U.S. federal government to solve it? How about taking care of children? No, in Hillary-world, that is a core function of the federal government as well. ("[I]f fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the 'woman card,' then Deal Me In!")
And when she talked about things other than massive new government spending programs, it didn't get any better. I'll take a couple of examples:
- "I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs." Apparently Hillary thinks that science is a belief system, rather than a process by which hypotheses are tested against data from the real world. That's rather a fundamental thing to get completely wrong in somebody seeking the presidency. And even more fundamental is that she does not understand that "creating . . . good-paying clean energy jobs" with government subsidies is a form of impoverishment of the people. Supposedly, the strongest selling point that this woman has is her "competence." Now, I'm not saying that everybody running for the presidency should have a Ph.D. in economics -- far from it. (Lord help us, that would get us Krugman!) But it's just basic competence for the job to understand that government subsidies for expensive versions of things that the private sector can produce more cheaply without subsidies impoverishes the people. Could somebody really be "competent" and not understand something so obvious and so fundamental to the job?
- And finally, this doozy: "[W]e need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics . . . . And we'll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!" Omitted from the speech: "But of course the Clintons get to keep the $2 billion donated to the 'Foundation' and the $153 million for their speeches, essentially all of which came from people with interests before the government." And why not leave that out? I can get away with it! Did you notice a single mainstream media outlet criticizing me on this point? True, but at some point this becomes insulting to the intelligence of the listener.
OK, the other candidate is pretty bad too. But could he really be this bad?