The final night of the Democratic National Convention was impressive for the most part. The delegates were generally jubilant, the speakers were passionate and the atmosphere was genuinely patriotic.
Then Hillary Clinton took the stage. And at that moment, a monotoned politician wasted the perfect layup she had been afforded.
Beginning her speech by referring to the perishing trust with which Americans regard their government, Clinton was oblivious to her own hypocrisy. She described Americans witnessing that our “bonds of trust and respect are fraying.” But in noting this real crisis, Clinton offered no apology to the intelligence officers who trusted her not to jeopardize their work and their lives. From the podium, Hillary Clinton offered only self-praise.
Clinton’s hypocrisy didn’t end there. Once again, she pledged support for government restrictions on free speech in the form of campaign finance “reform.” An especially striking example of hypocrisy came when the Democratic presidential nominee claimed, “My primary mission as president will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States… From our inner cities to our small towns, Indian Country to Coal Country.”
It sounded good. But she’s sounded a different theme in the recent past. It was only in March that Clinton asserted, in West Virginia of all places, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” The contradiction matters for reasons more than truthfulness: it hints to the dark path Clinton would follow; a path created by what one Democratic senator has described as a federal government “trying to drown” the energy sector with regulations.
It needn’t be this way. By embracing new extraction technologies and reducing regulations, we could create hundreds of thousands of sustainable, well-paying private sector jobs. We could also strengthen national security and weaken our foreign adversaries. Instead, Clinton seeks regulations of the kind that will soon increase Californian electricity bills by 47 percent.
Clinton was also deeply dishonest about government spending, taxation, the deficit and our terrifying national debt. This month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the national debt is set to explode. Last year, the CBO predicted that the national debt would be 107 percent of GDP in 2040. But this year, the CBO assessed that figure upwards to 122 percent! Be under no illusions, that future of debt will mean perpetually higher taxes, higher interest rates (which will inevitably hurt the poorest who need loans the most), and economic decline. As I’ve explained, the youngest Americans will be hardest hit.
But it gets worse. Not only did Clinton ignore ideas to reduce the deficit, she proposed hundreds of billions in new spending. Clinton wants huge government spending programs for new jobs and a vast infrastructure program (highly likely to focus on union interests rather than reforms to reduce regulation).
She also proposes utterly unaffordable increases in government health care spending. And while Clinton claims that wealthy Americans could pay for her new programs, existing punitive taxes are hurting the economy and the poorest in our society. Even ignoring the distortive economic effects of new taxes, the sums simply do not add up: there are not enough rich people to pay the bills.
But Clinton’s pledge to penalize U.S. corporations was even more absurd. For the last eight years President Obama has tried soaking American businesses, and the outcome has been disastrous. Further efforts to tax and regulate U.S. corporations will only lead to the transfer of more capital out of America and to nations like Ireland. Clinton’s proposals lead us to one conclusion: the federal deficit is going nowhere but up.
Ultimately however, Thursday night wasn’t about Hillary Clinton. It was about American citizens. And that must be remembered. Contemplative of its rarity in human history, we should celebrate the vitality of our democracy. Whatever the tenor or quality in which it takes shape, American freedom belongs to all of us and must never be taken for granted.
Tom Rogan is a foreign policy columnist for National Review, a domestic policy columnist for Opportunity Lives, a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and a senior fellow at the Steamboat Institute. Follow him on Twitter @TomRtweets.