Search This Blog

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hillary's Acceptance Speech

The balloons have dropped, the confetti fallen, the band played and Hillary Clinton gave her acceptance speech.  The Democrat convention in Philadelphia is over.  So what should one make of Hillary's speech?  Here are a few of the most important points:

1.  Hillary spoke well.  She's certainly not a great orator.  In fact, she often sounds like she is screaming and other times sounds more like she's lecturing to us.  Tonight was a mix of styles.  For Hillary Clinton, however, this was about as good as it gets on that score.

2.  The speech was surprisingly devoid of substance on the key issues of the day.  Oh, Hillary hit on all sorts of minor points and on some of the favorites of the left.  But think for a moment about what she said of the economy/jobs and of stopping terrorism/national security.  Let's examine the economy first.  On the economy we heard that there is a need for bold action; the current economy is just not good enough.  There were whole paragraphs about what she wants to accomplish, but precious little about how she would do it.  In fact, the only specifics we heard on the economy were that Hillary wants (1) a massive tax increase; (2) some sort of federal pressure on banks to lend money to small businesses who can not get loans today; and (3) some program to rebuild America's infrastructure. 

If one considers the effect of Hillary's proposals, however, they are not good for the economy.  A massive tax increase is something that all economists would agree will SLOW economic growth.  It will never speed the economy.  It's much like trying to boil water by putting it in the refrigerator.  Pressuring banks to lend money to small businesses that have bad prospects for repaying the loan sounds very much like the government pressure for banks to make home mortgage loans to people who were unlikely to repay those mortgages.  That's what caused the massive recession in 2008, and Hillary now wants to reproduce that plan with loans to small business.  It's a crazy idea.  Then there's building infrastructure to create jobs.  That certainly would be beneficial.  Indeed, it's a big point in Trump's economic plans too.  The problem with it, however, is that it's like those "shovel ready" jobs that president Obama pushed back in 2009 with his stimulus.  There just aren't that many of them around to make a big impact.  It takes years to get them to the point of construction.  In truth, it's exactly the kind of thing that Trump would be best to carry out.  Trump could get the reconstruction of the infrastructure going much more quickly and efficiently than Hillary ever could.  So in total, there's really not much of a positive economic plan coming from Hillary.

Hillary also pointed to other things that she said would help the economy, but these were phony items.  For example, she actually said that comprehensive immigration reform would help grow the economy.  Really, she said that.  Having more workers compete for jobs will bring wages down, not speed up economic growth.  Surely, one of Hillary's economic advisors must have told her that.  She also pointed to green jobs as helping the economy.  Obama has been saying that for eight years, but after all that time and tens of billions of dollars from the government, we have very few "green" jobs as a result.  We can't just continue to throw good money after bad.

3.  So let's move on to national security.  Hillary told us her plan to deal with ISIS.  It's Obama's current plan which has failed so miserably with one addition:  Hillary wants to "surge" intelligence.  Now no one has ever explained what it means to "surge" intelligence, but let's assume that there really is some way to do that.  Once we get the intelligence, what do we do with it?  Does it mean more airstrikes?  Do we put troops on the ground to deal with problems exposed by the extra intelligence?  Hillary clearly opposed that tonight.  So what do we do with the intelligence?

Hillary also spoke a briefly about supporting NATO.  That seemed more a response to Trump's call for the other NATO countries to live up to their treaty obligations.  Beyond that, however, it was just a few platitudes.

4.  I was surprised that Hillary could not list any accomplishments.  She talked about what she did with the Children's Defense Fund in Massachusetts 40 years ago.  It was interesting, but her going door to door to promote education rights in a New England locality hardly is something that qualifies someone to be president.  She also talked about supporting the S chip law in Congress.  She voted for it, but she wasn't the one who got it passed or even a prime sponsor of that law in Congress.  She also talked that she visited over 100 countries as secretary of state.  Carly Fiorina long ago pointed out, however, that air travel is an activity not an accomplishment.  Hillary really has not accomplishments for all her decades of work for the government.

5.  Hillary was very strong in her condemnation of Donald Trump.  It clearly was the essence of her message.  Indeed, it seemed she was changing the slogan of her campaign from "I'm with her" to "I'm not Donald Trump."  Many of her attacks on Trump were dishonest.  She went on at length because Trump said that he was the only one of the candidates who could fix the corrupt political system in Washington because he is an outsider who really knew the full system.  Clinton dishonestly twisted this into some claim by Trump that he is the only one who could fix everything wrong with the country.  I heard his speech; he did not say that.  Most of Clinton's attacks, however, were things that have been said before.  She may have scored some points here, nevertheless, particularly with those who have not really been paying attention.  I wonder, though, how many people accept her attack on Trump as unfit to handle the nuclear codes.

6.  Hillary made much of her being the first woman candidate of a major political party.  It's true, but I think it was unnecessary.  In 2008, when Obama got the nomination, he did not expound on being the first black candidate.  It was obvious, and it was extremely forceful.  It should have served as the example for Hillary, but she had to state the obvious.

It will be interesting to see the bounce that Hillary will inevitably get from this speech and the convention. 

No comments: