Sunday, May 04, 2008

A reason not to vote for Hillary Clinton

From TPM

Hillary Clinton has just started doing an Indiana town-hall meeting being broadcast on ABC, and George Stephanopoulos asked her a direct question:

Could she name a single economist who agrees with her support for the gas tax holiday?

Hillary sidestepped the question, and tried to use the complete dearth of expert support for the idea to her advantage, pointing to it as proof that she's on the side of ordinary folks against "elite opinion" -- a phrase she used twice.

"I think we've been for the last seven years seeing a tremendous amount of government power and elite opinion behind policies that haven't worked well for hard working Americans," she said.

A bit later she added: "It's really odd to me that arguing to give relief to a vast majority of Americans creates this incredible pushback...Elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that don't benefit" the vast majority of the American people.

That is a classic anti-intellectual argument. The position is popular, therefore experts who are critical of it are "elitists" out of touch with the comman man. And the problem with the Bush administration is not that it listened to "elite" (aka expert) opinion as she suggests, but precisely the opposite: that it did not.

We don't need more of the same.

Steve Benen at The CarpetBagger Report is also not happy with this nonsense from Clinton.

Seriously, “elite opinion” has been the driving force behind Bush’s failed policies? Since when? Reality shows the exact opposite — the policy experts have been warning everyone since Day One that Bush’s economic policy, his foreign policy, his environmental policy, his judicial policy, etc., are a disaster and a recipe for failure. In fact, Hillary Clinton has been citing these experts for years.

“Elite opinion” hasn’t been “behind policies that haven’t worked well for hard working Americans”; elite opinion has been pushing in the other direction. Bush hasn’t been operating with the support of policy experts; he’s been blowing off policy experts as liberal eggheads who think too much. And now Clinton appears ready to join him.

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