Streetwise Professor

September 6, 2012

Same Old Bill Clinton BS

Filed under: Economics,Financial crisis,Financial Crisis II,Politics — The Professor @ 3:54 pm

Bill Clinton’s DNC speech was vintage Clinton mendacity.  It was long-too long for a point-by-point response, so I’ll limit my comments to some of the standout lowlights.

Starting with the beyond cartoonish version of the Republican philosophy:

“This Republican narrative, this alternative universe says that…
… every one of us in this room who amounts to anything, we’re all completely self-made. One of the greatest chairmen the Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself.”

Always beware when anyone says “every one of us” and “completely.”  Sure tip-off to a straw man argument, a grotesque exaggeration.

In the Clintonian (and Obamaian) telling, Republicans are more Randian than Ayn.  Not even close.

The same caution about absolutes goes for “always” (emphasis added):

Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is always the enemy, they’re always right, and compromise is weakness.

And just who said “you’re on your own?” Gotta name?  A quote?:

You see, we believe that “We’re all in this together” is a far better philosophy than “You’re on your own.”

In brief, Clinton flogged a theme you are likely to hear ad nauseum in the next 60 odd days (and they will be odd!): the Social Darwinist Republicans vs. the Kind, Compassionate, Communitarian Democrats.

Then there’s this whopper:

One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation.

Constructive as in “I won”? I guess in the Obamathaurus “constructive cooperation” means “do what I want.”

Clinton was at his con man/Music Man best when trying to explain why Obama deserves re-election, despite the stuttering recovery.  You see, Prosperity is Just Around the Corner! But you have to “renew the president’s contract” in order to achieve it:

Now — but he has — he has laid the foundations for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.

Uhm, channeling Herbert Hoover isn’t exactly that persuasive.  But that presumes, I guess, that people with a bigger megaphone than I will point out the Hooveresque parallel.

The con man vibe was only reinforced by the cheap TV evangelist “I believe” trope:

Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it.


Now, why do I believe it? I’m fixing to tell you why.

“I’m fixing”? Spare me the faux corn pone populism. (When was the last time Clinton was in Arkansas, anyways?)

The other analogy that comes to mind is Tinker Bell.  If you only believe, children, Tinker Bell will live and the economy will thrive!

Some of the most laughable parts of the speech were when Bill ventured into the realm of economics.  As when he discussed the administration’s (insane) fuel economy standards proposal:

Now, the agreement the administration made with the management, labor, and environmental groups [note the corporatist, not to say fascist undertones here] to double car mileage, that was a good deal, too. It will cut your gas prices in half, your gas bill. No matter what the price is, if you double the mileage of your car, your bill will be half what it would have been. It will make us more energy independent. It will cut greenhouse gas emission. And according to several analyses, over the next 20 years, it will bring us another 500,000 good, new jobs into the American economy.

So, first of all, we are apparently too stupid to make choices to cut our gas bill in half.  After all, we have the choice now to buy high MPG autos instead of Escalades, but us idiots apparently don’t understand that will cut our gasoline bills in half.  So we have to be forced to buy such vehicles. Could it be, perhaps, that fuel economy is not the only attribute that we value in automobiles?

A perfect illustration of the we-know-better-than-you-idiots, anti-choice mindset that infests the Dems.  Except where abortion is concerned, of course.   (Sort of on topic: Is Sandra Fluke as stupid as she seems? Does Georgetown Law School really want her as their poster child?)

Second of all, despite all the self-confidence of the delivery, the economics are cracked.  Both theory and empirical evidence prove otherwise.  If you reduce the marginal cost of driving a mile by forcing people to drive more fuel efficient vehicles, they will drive more miles, whereas Bill’s calculation assumes that the number of miles driven will be the same. Thus, CAFE advocates always-always-overstate the fuel consumption effects of their coercive policies.

Not to mention the body count of forcing people into smaller, lighter vehicles.  (Bill certainly didn’t mention it.)

And the last line reeks of the seen-unseen problem. Costs are not benefits.

His disquisition on energy was risible:

The president’s energy strategy, which he calls all-of-the-above, is helping, too. The boom in oil and gas production, combined with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near 20-year low and natural gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled.

A good part of the import decline is due to the fact that a weak economy results in weak demand for fuel.  And Obama didn’t have a damned thing to do with natural gas production increases.  His administration (notably the FDA)  is fighting the technology that has made it possible.  It is worse than the rooster claiming credit for the sunrise.

And all of the above? Don’t make me laugh.

This was also rich:

Today, interest rates are low, lower than the rate of inflation.

Uhm, true-but that’s nothing to brag about: it is unquestionably the symptom of a weak economy.  Negative real interest rates last occurred in the late-70s.  That was such a great time.  I remember it fondly.

Again, the economics genius.

I could go on.  But you get the idea.

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  1. You were doing so well until you got to the small car = high body count bit. From 2007 figures in US 13.6 / 100k population, Britain 5.0 / 100k.

    Comment by Steve — September 6, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  2. @Steve-My claim is well documented. An early study is in the Journal of Law and Economics. Money quote: “Our new empirical results suggest that CAFE will be responsible for several thousand additional fatalities over the life of each model-year’s cars. We conclude that the real social cost of government mandated fuel economy is much greater than is commonly believed.” This site cites several other studies. I am not aware of any empirical research that arrives at an opposite conclusion.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 6, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  3. What really gets me is the game that Clinton and the Democrats have been playing with all the millions and millions of job that The Anointed One has created.

    To paraphrase the evil inspector’s line when he’s questioning Walter Brennan (playing an alcoholic character) with Humphrey Bogart sitting across the table:

    “Every time he takes a drink, the number grows by a million.”

    The actual line was a fish that grew by 100 pounds every time Walter Brennan took a drink. He jumped from 900 poounds to 1,000 pounds – he was close to the bottom of the bottle.

    Walter Brennan was telling a fish story. Clinton and Bite Me Biden and the Democrats are telling one, too.

    The Democrats have thought very hard to come up with some pseudo-clever lines, like Clinton’s “they want to double down on trickle down.”

    The Republicans are also coming up with some lines: “The Democrats were against God before they were for God.”

    There’s an editorial cartoon that sums it up very nicely, showing Clinton:

    “When I was president, I balanced the budget, reformed welfare, and the unemployment rate was below 5 percent ——

    but vote for Obama anyway.”

    Comment by elmer — September 6, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  4. The movie was “To Have and Have Not” (Hemingway)

    Comment by elmer — September 6, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  5. “The president’s energy strategy, which he calls ‘all of the above,’ is helping too. The boom in oil and gas production, combined with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near-20- year low and natural gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled.”

    Clinton last night too, oh where to start… then Obama pulls out the pro-natty stance tonight to a tepid response (but followed it up with some climate change rhetoric that got folks excited). Reminds me of something you wrote after the SOTU…

    “Obama is reportedly going to tout increased domestic production of natural gas. Here he is playing the familiar role of sprinting to the front of the parade that he had nothing to do with creating, to make it look like he led it all the time.”

    Comment by Strigidae — September 6, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  6. You guys have a stronger constitution than me. I simply can’t watch it. In the interest of providing value for value, information for information, I will tell you that Honey Boo Boo’s mother found some great coupons last episode.

    Comment by pahoben — September 7, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  7. @pahoben. Oh, I couldn’t watch it. I could barely stomach reading it. The sacrifices I make for my dear readers!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 7, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  8. lol and thank you so much for your sacrifice.

    I mentioned before my parrots favorite phrase is Obama Sucks. If I watched it my blood pressure would be sky high and my parrot would learn more curse words and then my wife would be angry with me.

    What a den of liars and thieves and liars and liars.

    Comment by pahoben — September 7, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  9. The great thing about Bubba is his amazing ability to compartmentalize and how the opportunity to preen overwhelms any good sense he might have. The downside was that there was or is also a bit of “Peck’s Bad Boy” about him. you know he pulled a lot of crap just to see that he could get away with it – the excitement of risk taking, the rush from the stress and the fun of weaseling out of these situations drove him. I viewed the last 4 years of his Presidency as watching him act out his pathologies, and felt like billing him $150 an hour for doing so.

    Comment by sotos — September 7, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  10. The work that Clinton started Obama has finished with focus and vigor The White House is now Hollywood East. The genre during Clinton was Sexual Comedy. The genre now unfortunately is Horror appealing to the audiences fears and producing dark foreboding.

    Comment by pahoben — September 8, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  11. SWP, still trying to subscribe to you at Twitter. After your NYC testimony, please look in to this. RE: DNC, this was almost too rich. Wouldn’t post it here, except for your tangential interest in things Russian, especially things militarily Russian. See for yourself. Keep up the great work. It is a bad day when SWP does not post.

    Comment by Vlad — September 12, 2012 @ 10:21 am

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