Clinton the Anti-Intellectual

James Hrynyshyn attended a Clinton rally and after seeing the “appeal to an anti-intellectual strain” fears she would give us “more of the last eight years.”

Not only did Clinton’s speech avoid anything remotely resembling a respect for the challenges and contributions that science poses and offers society, but she seemed to go out of her way to appeal to an anti-intellectual strain that her advisers must have told her holds sway in the largely Republican county in which she found herself.

First there was the repetition of her support for a gas tax holiday, which, as Jake has ably pointed out at Pure Pendantry, is perhaps the stupidest idea yet mooted in this campaign. How she squares this with her not-quite-a-plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050 is beyond me. Or anyone else, I would think.

Such an idea is, as an educated friend of mine who very much wants to support Clinton told me as we waited for Clinton to arrive, an insult to her intelligence. But then, there was Clinton, insulting the intelligence of her audience every chance she got. The only common theme to emerge from the 30-minute ramble was an attack on our enemies. China is the enemy for selling us lead-contaminated toys and poison pet food. The Saudis are the enemy for exploiting our addition to oil. The rest of OPEC, too. And worst of all are those evil, parasitic “middlemen” who pop up in every corner of the economy, ready to take a cut and give back nothing.

Only ordinary Americans, and, because this Clinton campaign stop was in a rural corner of the state, only small-town Americans, can be trusted to do what’s right. It’s sad, really. Not only is everyone else the enemy, but intelligence itself is suspect. What we need, she seemed to be saying between the lines, is someone at the top who’s just a simple yokel. More of the last eight years, in other words.

Clinton Loses Town Hall on Arguments But Wins on Intimidation of Host

Yesterday’s appearance by Hillary Clinton on This Week has received the most coverage for her once again supporting the gas tax holiday and saying she’s not going to listen to all the economists who disagree with her. Even someone asking a question at the Town Hall realized she was pandering:

I have — Sen. Clinton, I actually make less than $25,000 a year, so talking about gas prices is not academic for me. I really do feel pain at the pump.

However, I do feel pandered to when you talk about suspending the gas tax. I don’t think that it’s really a reasonable plan, and call me crazy, but I actually listen to economists, because I think that they know what they studied.

Robert Reich responded on his blog, comparing Clinton to George Bush:

In case you’ve missed it, we now have a president who doesn’t care what most economists think. George W. Bush doesn’t even care what scientists think. He rejects all experts who disagree with his politics. This has led to some extraordinarily stupid policies.

I’m not saying HRC is George Bush. And I’m not suggesting economists have all the answers. But when economists tell a president or a presidential candidate that his or her idea is dumb – and when all respectable economists around America agree that it’s a dumb idea – it’s probably wise for the president or presidential candidate to listen. When the president or candidate doesn’t, and proudly defends the policy by saying she’s “not going to put my lot in with economists,” we’ve got a problem, folks.

Even though the summer gas tax holiday is pure hokum, it polls well, which is why HRC and John McCain are pushing it. That Barack Obama is not in favor of it despite its positive polling numbers speaks volumes about the kind of president he’ll be – and the kind of president we’d otherwise get from McCain and HRC.

Haven’t we had enough of politicians who reject facts in favor of short-term poll-driven politics?

The Town Hall received controversy even before it occurred due to being hosted by George Stephanopoulos. The show did not help Stephanopoulos’ reputation as an independent journalist. Hillary Clinton spent most of the show ignoring the planned format of having the two seated. Instead she stood and grabbed Stephanopoulos by the balls. Ok, only the first part of that is true as was noted at CBS’s blog:

The interview was billed as a “town hall” where Indiana voters would get a chance to ask Clinton questions. Minutes into the interview, Clinton decided to ditch her chair, preferring to stand and address the audience. What ensued was an awkward interaction between Clinton and Stephanopoulos when the ABC host was forced to ask a few questions from his chair while Clinton loomed over him. (In fairness to Stephanopoulos, oftentimes in seated interview settings the journalist and/or the guest have their microphone cord taped to the chair, restricting one’s movement.)

Stephanopoulos tried to recover by standing alongside Clinton, but was forced to stand in a strange position as he remained tied to his chair.

After the first commercial break, the two were seated again, but within seconds Clinton decided she had had enough, forcing Stephanopoulos to stand, again.

The interview took another unpleasant turn when Stephanopoulos tried to pin down Clinton over her position on NAFTA, a trade program introduced by her husband during his presidency. Clinton has come out against the plan saying it was not good for American workers. Stephanopoulos said, “The Clinton administration didn’t do enough to address the downside of globalization and therefore failed the workers in Indiana and the workers of the West?”

Clinton clearly took offense to the tone of the question and while answering, decided to take a jab at the host.

As Joe Gandelman pointed out, “On most NEWS shows the interviewer is supposed to set the rules about where guests sit and the format. And the interviewer/journalist is supposed to be the one in control of the setting.” He concluded that, “Stephanopoulos finishes the day being perceived by some as a former Clinton employee still seemingly intimidated by his former boss.”

If Hillary Clinton Was a P.O.W.

If Hillary Clinton was a prisoner of war and was offered a deal to be released before those captured after her, does anyone think Hillary would have refused an early release as John McCain did?

Bill Clinton Cracks Jokes As People Faint

Has Bill Clinton totally lost his mind? From AP:

Former President Bill Clinton is cracking wise about his ability to make people faint, telling voters in North Carolina he didn’t think he still had it in him.Clinton was campaigning Sunday for his wife’s presidential bid on a hot and sunny day in western North Carolina. The state’s primary is Tuesday.

After one person fell during an event in Lenoir, Clinton joked: “Somebody faints at nearly every one of these things now. At my age, I didn’t think I could make anybody faint anymore.”

I guess joking about people fainting isn’t as bad as threatening to obliterate other countries.