“No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” — General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) WWII Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific
If you want to know why Democrats should be worried after Hillary Clinton’s first week on the campaign trail, ask yourself this question: Can you imagine Marco Rubio, Scott Walker or Jeb Bush walking into a Chipotle wearing big, dark sunglasses, trying not to be recognized?
Can you imagine Barack Obama doing it?
Maybe Clinton’s future’s so bright she has to wear shades, but the grainy security camera pictures of the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination hiding from voters presents a troubling contrast with the growing Republican field.
Clinton planned to launch her presidential campaign with an intimate “listening tour” where she could meet and interact with everyday Americans. But when she had the chance to meet and interact with some actual everyday Americans eating their burritos, she avoided them. Then her campaign staged a visit to an Iowa coffee shop, recruiting “fake” everyday Americans for her to meet and talk with.
Who stages a visit to a coffee shop?
The whole purpose of Clinton’s road trip was to counter the image of her as a creature of Washington who can’t relate to regular folks. Instead, she highlighted that fact by planting party insiders posing as regular folks.
Clinton made a big deal about driving across the country in a van, just as regular Americans do. But even that simple idea backfired. First, she picked an ominous black van with tinted windows as dark as her shades. And second, by her own admission, she hasn’t been behind the wheel since 1994. She wasn’t driving across country; she was being driven across country. Big difference.
Meanwhile, Scott Walker announced in Nashua this weekend that he plans to visit all of New Hampshire’s 10 counties on his Harley. Word is that he will actually be driving himself. In Concord, Jeb Bush said at a GOP event that when he goes to Chipotle, “Drive my own car. Park my own car. Get out of my own car.” The former Florida governor (who lived in Mexico and whose wife is from Mexico) added, “We normally cook our own Mexican food at home — it’s pretty good.”
Clinton’s campaign launch video also used Democratic strategists posing as ordinary Americans. One of them (who posed as a grandma growing tomatoes in her garden) is an abortion rights lobbyist who was a campaign manager for Texas state senator Wendy Davis, who ran for governor in 2014. Another was a staffer for former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack (D).
Even in the carefully controlled bubble her campaign created for her last week, Clinton stumbled. In Norwalk, Iowa, Clinton told an carefully chosen audience in a produce store that all four of her grandparents were immigrants: “All my grandparents, you know, came over here. So I sit here and I think, well you’re talking about the second, third generation. That’s me, that’s you.” Except for one problem: It wasn’t true. Only one grandparent, Hugh Rodham Sr., was an immigrant. Her campaign quickly put out a statement declaring that “Her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result, she has always thought of them as immigrants.”
Democrats ought to be worried about this. The Democratic Party is betting everything on Clinton. But the problem with betting on one horse is that if your horse stumbles, you’re in big trouble. Republicans have a plethora of credible choices. If Scott Walker falters, they have Marco Rubio. If Rubio falters, they have Jeb Bush. If Bush falters, they have a half dozen other choices.
But if Clinton falters, Democrats have . . . who? Martin O’Malley (whose claim to fame is handing Maryland to a Republican)? Lincoln Chafee (who, as the liberal magazine Mother Jones put it, is the “candidate for people who think Jeb Bush isn’t WASPy enough”)? Bernie Sanders (who, unlike Barack Obama, actually embraces being called a “socialist”)? Not exactly the Democratic “A-list.”
Democrats are hoping for the old Clinton magic. But Hillary is no Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton wore shades, not to avoid voters, but to play the sax on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” He didn’t need to stage a coffee-shop visit. He’s a naturally charming guy who can talk to almost anyone. Hillary has none of the natural ease or political talent of her husband.
Since the National Hockey league playoffs just started, think of it this way. One of the best players in the NHL is Marian Hossa of Hillary’s hometown Chicago Blackhawks. He’s a superstar. He has a younger brother, Marcel, who played a few seasons in the NHL but didn’t make it and is playing in Europe. Same last name, but not the same talent.
Hillary Clinton is the Marcel Hossa of the Democratic Party. Same last name, but not the same talent. The Democrats are betting their presidential hopes on that famous name. And they have no backup plan.
Read more from Marc Thiessen’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook. (Full disclosure: He co-authored a book with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.)
Hillary Clinton apparently plans to base her presidential campaign on the noble goals of greater fairness and shared sacrifice. She has already lambasted vast differences in compensation.
“The average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes,” Clinton warned. She is right — but can best appreciate that fact from her own career and family.
Recently, Clinton has demanded up to $300,000 for brief 30-minute speeches. She apparently believes in the free-market theory that on the lecture circuit, speakers — like CEOs — should be paid as much as the market can bear.
At UCLA recently, Clinton’s fee worked out to about $165 per second. In three minutes of autobiographical chitchat, Clinton pulled in more than the average full-time fast-food worker makes in a year.
Note that, directly or indirectly, universities pass such charges on to their student customers, who are currently collectively in debt to the tune of more than $1 trillion.
Or perhaps Clinton learned of pay unfairness from her daughter, Chelsea. Without a shred of journalistic experience, Chelsea Clinton earned $600,000 a year from NBC News. That worked out to more than $26,000 a minute for each minute Chelsea appeared on air.
To cement her populist credentials, Hillary Clinton is also attacking big-bucks hedge funds. She made a good point when she thundered in Iowa earlier this month, “There’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here.”
But Clinton must know intimately about such financial speculators and their low tax rates. Back in Arkansas, she once had a Clinton family crony from Tyson Foods invest $1,000 in cattle futures on her behalf. That relatively tiny sum mysteriously exploded into a $100,000 profit. Professional investors suggested that the odds of such unheard of profit-making were 31 trillion to 1.
And there was most definitely “something wrong” about the taxes — or lack of them — that Clinton paid on the profits. She failed to report fully her capital gains to the IRS. That lapse earned her some $14,600 in tax penalties and back interest.
Or perhaps Clinton learned about hedge fund unfairness from her own her son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky. He’s the husband of Chelsea and co-founder of the $400 million hedge fund Eaglevale Partners LP, along with his two former colleagues from Goldman Sachs.
Or maybe Hillary acquired her distrust of hedge fund operators more intimately from daughter Chelsea, who used to work at Clinton family friend Marc Lasry’s $13.3 billion New York hedge fund firm, Avenue Capital Group.
Young Chelsea reportedly already has a net worth of some $15 million — mostly due to brief stints working for family friends at companies such as Avenue Capital and McKinsey & Co.
If Hillary’s own daughter and son-in-law did not warn her about how those in their business make undue profits, then perhaps Ms. Clinton learned from her own firsthand observations.
After she stepped down as secretary of state, she immediately rented private office space from the Rock Creek Group, a Washington-based investment firm with strong ties to the Clinton family. Did she want a convenient spot to observe Wall Street’s bad habits?
These Blue States Have Tried the Elizabeth Warren Model. Their Residents Are Fleeing. By Stephen Moore
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently appeared on one of the late night talk shows, beating the class warfare drum and arguing for billions of dollars in new social programs paid for with higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires. In recent years, though, blue states such as California, Illinois, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland and Minnesota adopted this very strategy, and they raised taxes on their wealthy residents. How did it work out? Almost all of these states lag behind the national average in growth of jobs and incomes.
So, if income redistribution policies are the solution to shrinking the gap between rich and poor, why do they fail so miserably in the states?
The blue states that try to lift up the poor with high taxes, high welfare benefits, high minimum wages and other Robin Hood policies tend to be the places where the rich end up the richest and the poor the poorest.
California is the prototypical example. It has the highest tax rates of any state. It has very generous welfare benefits. Many of its cities have a high minimum wage. But day after day, the middle class keeps leaving. The wealthy areas such as San Francisco and the Silicon Valley boom. Yet the state has nearly the highest poverty rate in the nation. The Golden State, alas, has become the inequality state.
In a new report called “Rich States, Poor States” that I write each year for the American Legislative Exchange Council with Arthur Laffer and Jonathan Williams, we find that five of the highest-tax blue states in the nation — California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois — lost some 4 million more U.S. residents than entered these states over the last decade. Meanwhile, the big low-tax red states — Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia — gained about this many new residents.
So much for liberal policies creating a workers paradise.
One liberal economic think tank — the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy — recently issued a report on the states with the most and least “regressive” tax systems. The conclusion was that states should raise their income taxes on the rich to be more “fair.” Except it turns out that people are leaving the states that the think tank ranks as fair, and they are moving to the states the think tank ranks as economically backward.
The least “regressive” tax states had average population growth from 2003 to 2013 that lagged below the national trend. The 10 most highly “regressive” tax states, including nine with no state income tax, had population growth on average 4 percent above the U.S. average. Why was that? Because states without income taxes have twice the job growth of states with high tax rates. Unlike the experts at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, most Americans think that fairness means having a job.
Ohio University economist Richard Vedder and I compared the income gap in states with higher tax rates, higher minimum wages and more welfare benefits with states on the other side of the policy spectrum. There was no evidence that states with these liberal policies had helped the poor much and, in many cases, these states recorded more income inequality than other states as measured by the left’s favorite statistic called the Gini Coefficient.
The 19 states with minimum wages above the $7.25 per hour federal minimum do not have lower income inequality. States with a super minimum wage — such as Connecticut ($9.15), California ($9.00), New York ($8.75), and Vermont ($9.15) — have significantly wider gaps between rich and poor than states without a super minimum wage.
States are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, right? These laboratories are providing us with concrete evidence that Robin Hood policies don’t help make the poor richer, they make most people poorer. In other words, the blue states have tried the Elizabeth Warren “progressive” agenda and people are voting with their feet by fleeing in droves. The kinds of income redistribution policies that Warren and others endorse can only work by building a Berlin Wall so no one can leave — though I hope I’m not giving them any ideas.
Source: The Daily Signal