Hillary and Bush are alike: Damn the experts I’m the decider (plus: George Stephanopoulos stands up to Hillary, literally)

5/4/08 Not worth a full column: Using the excuse that she wanted to be able to see a questioner from the audience, Hillary rose from her chair opposite George’s this morning, and never sat down. (NEW: David Brooks noted this too.) George stayed seated for one question but when it became apparent Hillary wasn’t about to sit down, he also stood up and had to stand for the rest of the hour.

This is what David Brooks wrote:

A few questions in, Clinton rose from her chair and loomed over Stephanopoulos. The country hasn’t seen such a brazen display of attempted middle-aged physical intimidation since Al Gore took a walkabout on the debate stage with George Bush. It was like watching someone get elbowed in a dark alley by their homeroom teacher. READ ENTIRE OPED

She also refused to name one economist who agreed with her gas tax proposal.

Hillary’s answer to George Stephanopoulos asking her twice to name one economist who agreed with her gas tax proposal suggested she thought economists were pointed headed intellectual elitists out of touch with the common folk.

This is what she said today: "this mindset where elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans."

You can watch the video here of her trying to explain why she dismisses the opinions of economists. This is just before she stood up.

If I could have posed a question, I would have asked her whether if she became president, who would be on her short list to name as economic advisers; and whether she contacted any of them for their opinion on her proposal.

Now on to the original column:

Listening to to her mouthpiece Howard Wolfson, responding to questions as to why Hillary supports a gas tax summer holiday despite the fact that there isn’t a single economic expert that thinks it’s a good idea, I’ve concluded Hillary has as much use for experts who disagree with her as George W. Bush.

 

The Huffington Post tried to find an nonpartisan expert who thought the gas tax holiday was a good idea. They couldn’t find a single one LINK.

Michael Bloomberg said "It’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time, from an economic point of view. We’re trying to discourage people from driving and we’re trying to end our energy dependence … and we’re trying to have more money to build infrastructure."

But Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s chief spokesman, said:

"We believe the presidency requires leadership. There are times that a president will take a position that a broad support of quote-unquote experts agree with. And there are times they will take a position that quote-unquote experts do not agree with."

Wolfson-Clinton, put your ears to the ground. The silence you hear is the absense of any member of the expert cavalry coming to your rescue.

Bush didn’t listen to his own generals on Iraq. He ignored experts on scientific issues like global warming and abstinence only education. He made it clear that he was "the decider".

Experts be damned when you don’t agree with them.

This is all we need after eight years of the royal rule of The Decider, a president who leads by the seat of her pantsuit.

26 Responses to "Hillary and Bush are alike: Damn the experts I’m the decider (plus: George Stephanopoulos stands up to Hillary, literally)"

  1. sherry  May 2, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Strat you are correct. It is beyond my comprehension that we are giving the oil companies 30bn in tax breaks while they are making record profits. Meanwhile, Americans are suffering, not just at the pump but in terms of purchasing power, namely the grocery store!
    I don’t know about the economists. I know Americans need a break. I am for the gas tax holiday. Yep we are in the red, but dang it we can always finance a war or the lastest weaponry.

  2. Stratocaster  May 2, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    The oil companies are limiting production to keep prices up. If there is a shortage of oil, which there isn’t, oil produced in the US should stay in the US, it shouldn’t go on the world market. I hear the price of gasoline in Venezuala is something like 15 cents a gallon.

  3. sherry  May 3, 2008 at 2:46 am

    Strat, no worries my friend, I would happily pay 15 cents a gallon. Heck. I would even pay a quarter and not complain lol
    Bring on the holiday!

  4. staunchdem  May 3, 2008 at 4:01 am

    It is pretty much agreed by the reality based community that the gas tax holiday will not work, so we’ll let that be.
    It is obvious that we need to break our dependence on fossil fuels so we have only renewable energy as a plausible future.
    What we really need is leadership with the stones to make this happen.
    The tax breaks to the oil companies are a start.
    When we stop spilling blood and money in Iraq we will be able to develop a sane energy policy and rebuild infrastrucure which will also create the jobs our economy needs.
    On paper it’s so simple but nobody has shown the leadership and courage to create a new “Manhattan Project.”
    Until we accept this reality we are doomed to continue to repeat the blunders of the past.

  5. Hal Brown  May 3, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Staunchdem,

    I’m glad you interjected the term "reality based community" ( happily everyone who has commented above is a member ) because we have to make sure that our next president is a member in good standing.

    They shouldn’t be someone who writes or says "quote-unquote experts" for political expediency. Think of the message it sends when someone essentially says we should ignore experts and furthermore mock them with the "quote-unquote" prefix. It is just another way of saying "so-called experts".

    Obama might tell McClinton (thanks to Phil Hoskins for coming up with that one) that a modern society is built on experts, from car mechanics to brain surgeons, who devote their education and lives to having more information than the rest of us about one area of knowledge.

     

  6. Hal Brown  May 3, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Both Gail Collins (LINK) and Bob Herbert (LINK)

    have some excellent comments on the gas tax folly-day.

  7. Stratocaster  May 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    The price of gasoline in Russia and China is one-half of what it is here. What are they doing that we aren’t? Maybe it is the fact that the countries own the oil companies rather than that the oil companies own the country.

  8. Pablo  May 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Gas prices are still way too cheap for a major percentage of Americans, as shown by the quantity of SUVs and vehicles with V8s on the road. Where I live, which is one of the very least progressive states in the union, I’m seeing a few (and I do mean just a few) more economic vehicles, but no less SUVs. I am simply appalled and angry, that in this day and age, when we are killing people in an oil rich nation, people are back here proudly, and I do mean proudly, buying high petro consumption vehicles for which they have no other need than image. I’d say a good 30-40% of the vehicles I see here are these environmentally-destructive egomobiles. What an insecure society that will harm the future of their children just so they can feel accepted or admired! I believe that well over 70% of the people who drive these American embarrassments do not have a need; they do it because that is what gives them prestige in the eyes of a major percent of confused Americans today (And just think, they vote! You should feel frightened.). Most of the SUVs and passenger vehicles with gas-guzzling V8 engines are pure luxury; they are a blight on how we as a society will be viewed in the future. Shame on us!. With all the information available regarding the negative effects of carbon in the atmosphere, it is immoral to drive these types of vehicles (Exception: those that need them for their livelihoods, or mayyyybeeee those with big families (Hmmm.., do we really want to encourage them to overpopulate…or even allow them?? But that is a different topic.)

    Since people don’t seem to give a damn about saving some of this dwindling resource so their children might be able to avoid war and make the resource last while all their scientists scramble to find realistic solutions, it looks like the government needs to get involved again. If people (in this case a society) choose to act like small, immature children, I guess they need to be treated as such.

    I say we somehow determine need for large, high-consumption vehicles, exempt those people from the new gas-guzzler-you-should-be-ashamed-of-yourself tax, and double gas prices through taxation on these luxury vehicles. With the income from this long overdue tax, those who convert to energy-efficient vehicles would get a lower level of gas price, would get a gas-price break, as well as those in the lowest income brackets, and even subsidies for those very poor, to buy energy-efficient vehicles. In turn, the less rich will have to hang their heads in shame, as they will no longer be accepted by the Joneses, and will be forced to behave as mature adults, protecting their children from harm. Our carbon footprint will be reduced and we will have something to feel good about!

    In addition, with this additional tax income, the government should, as the government effectively did during Carter era, have a big public awareness campaign to encourage people to be more conscious of their energy consumption. That campaign was working. Society was changing for the better, just like they did after Vietnam. They always forget and need to be reminded again. I believe it is imperative we change our social and environmental attitudes PRONTO!

    We need some huge changes and NOW or we are in for some scary #*&!!.

  9. SEAL  May 3, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    A true american automobile.

    I own a Chevy suburban longbed. I has the wheel cover trim package and running boards. Fog lights in front with the hunting light rack on top. A custom crash guard in front that prevents damage to my truck and reduces my insurance. The full tow package and a winch. The vortec engine has been punched out with a cold air intake system, headers, dual exhaust, etc, etc. The interior has lots of room, super sound system, extra plug ins, power windows, and evey other comfort feature you would want.

    Call it a gas guzzler if you want but this vehicle will go from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds and it gets 18 MPG as apposed to the 10-13 MPG your standard SUV models gets and 0 to 60 sometime today.

    My Chevy is a true american automobile and I will never give it up no matter the price of gas. If that makes me an asshole – so be it. I also have a Chevy Lumina. The modifdications we did to that engine increaced the gas milage from 22.5 TO 29.5 MPG. If other people would invest a little time and money in their manufactured autos they could increase their gas milage by 5 or more MPG and increase the performance of them.

  10. Hal Brown  May 3, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    SEAL:

    We need a president not afraid to say "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." This applies to funding a war from taxes rather than borrowing money from China to asking each American to conserve fuel. And this would not necessarily be by trading in gas guzzlers they already have, but by following the gas mileage increasing tips available on many websites including one from our own government.

    Of course going 0-60 in 6 seconds isn’t one of them Wink…. but most people don’t even have to invest any money at all to increase their mileage by 5 mpg. Besides, I know if you had a friend thinking of trading in his own truck or SUV for a small car as a 2nd vehicle, you’d offer to let him borrow your truck if he needed it.

    We need a president that doesn’t pander for votes or popularity or favor special interests, but who will tell it like it is; and when the country needs to be educated or asked to make sacrifices isn’t afraid to sit it down for a stern talking to.

  11. SEAL  May 3, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Obama just did that, didn’t he?

  12. Hal Brown  May 4, 2008 at 7:52 am

    SEAL: I believe he did and will continue to do so, in between shooting hoops and drinking Bud for the cameras. Too bad he has to do this instead to proves he cares because too many people are too thick to listen to his words.

    This is what Thomas Friedman has to say today:

    We need a president who is tough enough to tell the truth to the American people. Any one of the candidates can answer the Red Phone at 3 a.m. in the White House bedroom. I’m voting for the one who can talk straight to the American people on national TV — at 8 p.m. — from the White House East Room.

    Who will tell the people? We are not who
    we think we are. We are living on borrowed time and borrowed dimes. We still have all the potential for greatness, but only if we get back to work on our country.

    I don’t know if Barack Obama can lead that, but the notion that the idealism he has inspired in so many young people doesn’t matter is dead wrong. \ NY Times OpEd here

    It sounds to me like he’s voting Obama.

  13. SEAL  May 4, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I don’t see anything wrong with Obama playing basketball. It showed another side of the man. I was impressed with his skill level. It showed that he is an acheiver no matter what he does. Basketball is a blue collar game. That makes him a regular guy. And he was able to do what most of the fans wish they could do. Get out there and play with the big boys. It’s their fantasy when they are at the local court playing 2 on 2 or 3 on 3.

  14. DejaVuAllOver  May 4, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    This is the first time in my 49 years where the primary election is probably important than the general election, IMHO.

    If Hillary is nominated, I’ll be glad, for the first time, that Ralph Nader is running. He won’t win, but at least I’ll be able to ease my guilty conscience, in a way that either choosing between the male dirtball or the female dirtball, or not voting, will not do.

    For me, the most important election of my life may be over before it starts.

  15. Stratocaster  May 2, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    If they really want to do something about ther cost of gasoline why don’t they address monopolizing, price fixing, and other violations of the anti-trust laws?

  16. Carl Nemo  May 2, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Ardie, I must compliment you on your oil industry related posts over time. You impress me with both your analysis and supplied data…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  17. Hal Brown  May 2, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Ardie,

    This is a good economic analysis, pretty much the same as other experts are saying. Bottom line is that we all know that gas costs are hurting people, but cutting revenue that is (one would hope) helping fund other apsects of the government besides the Iraq war isn’t a good idea.

    Clinton is using this gas tax cut as a talking point smiling for the camera as if she expects the voters to throw roses at her feet on the way to the nomination for offering to provide the a few gallons of gas for free.

    I hope Obama’s response doesn’t invoke what the experts say; you know, those pointedy headed intellectuals who write articles like posted above. After all, Hillary might accuse him of elitism.

    Obama should empathize with how the high gas prices are raising prices for those who can ill afford it everywhere from the gas pump to the supermarket. But he should simply say the gas cut is bad economics and leave it at that.

    I don’t want to see him chastize Americans for their bad driving habits but it wouldn’t hurt for him to put gas saving driving tips from an organization like the AAA (see article here) on his website and refer to that in speeches.

     

  18. Ardie  May 1, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    “Even total taxes accounted for less than 13% of the price of gasoline. Even if one added in the gross margins for the refineries and distributors, the non-oil share is only 28%. Yep – of the current $3.24 per gallon price you are paying (on average), $2.33 is going to the owners of oil. It hasn’t always been this way as our graph shows. The oil share had fluctuated around 50% being as low as 35% at one point but since last summer, its share has dramatically increased. Our second graph shows that spikes in the refinery margin have been responsible for some of the past gasoline price increases but currently this margin is the same as the distribution margin or $0.26 per gallon.” source: http://angrybear.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-is-driving-gasoline-prices.html

  19. Stratocaster  May 2, 2008 at 10:34 am

    On the Issues. I just wanted to share this link if you are not already aware of it.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/Jesse_Ventura.htm

  20. Sandra Price  May 2, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Thank you, I’m always searching for new and interesting people who distrust our government. Let’s go get Jesse Ventura…….I signed up for his emails and who knows, maybe………

  21. WWWexler  May 2, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I think it’s too late. Even if the gas tax holiday would work (which it wouldn’t) it doesn’t solve any problems.

    The problem that can’t be solved is that our nation has developed since the mid 20th century based on the premise that individual, affordable transportation will always be available. We have grown addicted to that notion and the convenience of having a car to go anywhere whenever we want.

    That has people commuting half an hour or more to get to work, the grocery store, or anywhere they want to do business. We are largely decentralized with poor public transportation options for the outlying residential areas (with notable exceptions).

    The focus to fix this problem has often been stated as finding alternative energy sources. Lots of talk, not much action. There has been some movement in public transportation but there are a number of reasons including safety concerns, convenience, and availability of service that keep people driving cars.

    With the decentralization problem and the fact that a large percentage of people have bought vehicles that they can’t afford to fuel at these prices, we now have a crisis. Even if you could save 50 cents a gallon it wouldn’t make any difference if you can’t afford the rest of the gallon.

    I have noticed that people are slowing down to 5 miles below the speed limit. Car pooling is another way to immediately cut your fuel expense. Telecommute if your company will allow it… maybe you can negotiate one day a week. It’s better than nothing.

    We’re going to have to get creative, but the gas tax holiday is a joke. It’s not going to solve anything and will only create other problems.

    -Wexler

  22. DejaVuAllOver  May 2, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    You got dat right, Wexler. When will someone have the political courage to tell the dumbass American public they can’t keep being gimme-pigs, forever? Oh, yeah, I forgot. It’ll probably be when the media stops crucifying anyone who dares to say anything remotely resembling the unpleasant truth, i.e. never.

  23. Sandra Price  May 2, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Los Angeles County had several electric trains running from many locations down to the beach in Santa Monica. Suddenly our Los Angeles Mayor decided to rip the tracks up and bring in combustible engines in large buses. This was the start of the famous L.A. smog.

    Oh, yes, our Mayor had financial ties to Standard Oil. It was a scandal at that time but did not stop the actions. Public transportation all over Los Angeles is difficult with many transfers needed to go to where the jobs are. This is just another case of following the money.

    Here in Sun City Arizona, you will find golf carts everywhere with Cadillacs in the garage. No public transportation anywhere here so we have become a city of bikes and golf carts. I drive a small Mazda that uses very little gas.

  24. WWWexler  May 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I was involved in a large transportation project in San Bernardino to upgrade Omnitrans transit and paratransit operations. The focus was to make the services more dependable, timely, and safe.

    Many of their buses run on natural gas and that was a long term goal of the system.

    The relative amount of hydrocarbon put in the air by the public transportation system compared to private vehicles is negligible.

    -Wexler

  25. Pablo  May 3, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    That’s a pretty messed up story Sandra. It’s exactly what they did on a huge scale when they killed the rails. It is just plain insane the way we transport things today with Semis. I believe these are examples that confirm the urgency of outlawing the lobbying of politicians with campaign contribution $.

    Money and politics function about as well as religion and politics.

  26. Hal Brown  May 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Keep on topic please.

    Just a reminder for those who have had posts deleted.

     

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