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Hillary Clinton Admits That She’s an Idiot. Seriously.

In 2012, President Obama campaigned as a champion of the auto industry by taking credit for the auto bailout and repeatedly hitting his opponent, Mitt Romney, for opposing it. Some think the strategy helped Obama win reelection.

Four years later, Hillary Clinton appears to be using the same playbook — only this time she’s doing it in the Democratic primary. In Sunday’s Democratic debate in Flint, Mich., Clinton underscored her support for that bailout and — somewhat disingenuously — suggested that Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) didn’t support it.

“I voted to save the auto industry,” she said. “He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference.”

What Clinton said is technically true, but it glosses over a lot of important nuance, including the fact that Sanders is actually on the record as supporting the auto bailout. He even voted for it.

Clinton clearly figures the auto bailout may prove to a big factor going into Tuesday’s primary in Michigan and the one next week in Ohio, where both candidates are hoping to do well and where the auto industry is big. So it seems like she’s willing to take the gamble that fact checkers may call her out for her tactic Sunday — but that voters won’t.

The Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders clash over the auto bailout, explained, Amber Phillips, reporting on Sunday’s debate, Mar. 7

Phillips then details the procedural background of the auto bailout:

As the magnitude of the 2008 financial crisis swept the nation in the waning days of his presidency, President George W. Bush announced he was injecting $17 billion in taxpayer money to auto giants Chrysler and General Motors, which warned they needed an immediate influx of cash to stay afloat.

Bush was pulling money out of the $700 billion financial rescue program that Congress had approved two months earlier, most of which was intended for and eventually went to prop up Wall Street banks and insurance companies.

Bush didn’t want to use that money for the auto industry; he had hoped Congress would approve a separate bailout for GM and Chrysler. Democrats in Congress tried to, but in December 2008, Senate Republicans blocked a $14 billion plan over a disagreement about its terms.

Republicans weren’t opposed to the aid, so much as they wanted the auto industry to make big cuts in pay and benefits by 2009; Democrats wanted to give the auto industry a few more years to cut its debts. The end result was that Congress didn’t set up a separate bailout for the auto industry, and Bush was forced to draw on the Wall Street bailout to prop up the automakers.

Phillips continues:

Clinton and Sanders were both in the Senate at the time, and contrary to what Clinton implied Sunday, both supported the idea of an auto bailout.

Sanders argued that letting the auto industry go under was too big of a risk for middle-class workers — it could lower wages across all sectors of the economy and have a ripple effect on states like Vermont that were fairly far removed from the auto industry. He was quoted by Vermont Public Radio at the time as saying:

The problem is if you don’t act in the midst of a growing recession, what does it mean to create a situation where millions of more people become unemployed? And that could spread, and I have serious concerns about that. I think it would be a terrible idea to add millions more to the unemployment rolls.

But Sanders was vehemently against the larger $700 billion bailout to prop up the banks. (As evidenced by his presidential campaign, Sanders is no fan of Wall Street.) So he voted against the bank bailout.

The bank bailout was so big it had to be doled out in portions. In January 2009, Senate Republicans tried to block the Treasury Department from releasing the second half of the money, some of which was designated for the auto industry. Sanders, based on his opposition to the Wall Street bailout, voted against releasing that money as well.

That vote gave Clinton the opening she needed to hit Sanders as anti-auto bailout on Sunday. “If everybody had voted the way he did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed, taking 4 million jobs with it,” she said.[My boldface.]

Phillips sums up:

Clinton is technically correct that Sanders voted against releasing the money that went to the auto bailout, but Sanders can also correctly argue that he supported the auto bailout when it wasn’t tied to the Wall Street one.

I’ll add this: Taking Clinton at her word, she believes that if everybody had voted the way he did, the auto industry would have collapsed, taking 4 million jobs with it.  The operative words in the sentence in which she said this are: “I believe that”.

I suggest that we do take her at her word, which is that she believes that the Democratic-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate, together with an outgoing Republican president who supported the auto bailout and an about-to-be-inaugurated Democratic president who did too, would not have separated the finance-industry bailout from the auto industry bailout, and instead would have allowed the industry to collapse.  Which makes her about as in touch with reality as Donald Trump is.

The alternative is what Phillips says; that:

Clinton clearly figures the auto bailout may prove to a big factor going into Tuesday’s primary in Michigan and the one next week in Ohio, where both candidates are hoping to do well and where the auto industry is big. So it seems like she’s willing to take the gamble that fact checkers may call her out for her tactic Sunday — but that voters won’t.

In other words, the alternative is that Clinton is a sleaze bucket who is willing to demean voters by incessantly misrepresenting facts about things that are really important to them.  And that it hasn’t occurred to her that this is exactly the kind of thing that has gained her a reputation among Democrats and millennials as dishonest.  She is dishonest and has run her campaign against Sanders as a taunt that she can get away with sleights of hand that amount to brazen misrepresentations because she’s, well, Hillary Clinton.  And a woman.

Fielder’s choice, folks.  But establishment Democrats need to reckon with her decision to employ an army of campaign consultants who feed her gimmicks, sleight-of-hand falsehoods, and comments that taken at face value suggest that she is an idiot.  She falls back on this stuff whenever new polls are about to be released showing Sanders gaining again, which is why today’s poll didn’t surprise me.

She also said in that debate—she reiterated it; she’d said it before recently—that she thinks Donald Trump, the billionaire who  likely will be the Republican nominee, accepts large speaking fees from the finance industry and pharmaceutical companies. Which is the only way to make any sense of her absurd claim that she need not release the transcripts of her highly-paid speeches to finance-industry folks and other major players in the lobbying-campaign-donations industrial complex.  If Clinton is Trump’s opponent, then under the terms that she herself has set for releasing the transcripts of her paid speeches to these industry folks, her refusal next fall to release them will play a large role in the campaign.  But so, now, in the primaries, should the cascade of manipulative and ridiculous statements that she spouts.

 

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Michigan Republican Senate Candidate Terri Lynn Land Declares Federal “War Generals” Incompetent. The Targeted Enemy Being Michigan.

[Michigan Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn] Land, a Byron Center Republican, had defended presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s anti-bailout position two years ago and noted that GM had become known as “Government Motors.” She declined to revisit the topic Wednesday during a brief exchange with reporters, which she cut short following the forum.

“I’ve always supported auto workers,” Land said. “Detroit put Michigan on wheels. They’re the backbone of our economy here in Michigan. It’s great that the autos are doing well. I support the autos, and what I want to do is go down to Washington D.C. and make sure we have a competitive environment here in Michigan and that you don’t over-regulate, you don’t overtax and you don’t over-burden Michigan families.” …

Land used the forum to tout her credentials as a former Kent County Clerk and Michigan Secretary of State while suggesting that “the federal government has declared economic war on Michigan.”

— Terri Lynn Land dodges auto bailout question, clarifies call for ‘free’ Internet after Senate forumJonathan Oosting, MLive.com, yesterday

Uh-huh.  I mean, if you’re conducting a war, you really shouldn’t deliberately give the enemy the ammunition it needs to regroup and fight back.  Michigan’s economy was down for the count in 2008-09, when suddenly the federal government’s economic war generals handed the enemy, Michigan, the only lifeline anywhere in sight. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

These generals should be court-martialed for treason. Or at least for gross incompetence.

Count me among the (apparently) very few politics watchers who think these Republican Senate candidates will not make it to November spouting utter gibberish and disconnected cliches, and win.

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