Hillaryious

katemckinnon

I will not be inclined to find any of this funny should Mrs. Clinton become President, as that is the day that laughter dies. But until then, and because I don’t think it possible for a vapid cipher of nothingness to con Americans into making her Queen, The Hillary Clinton Experience is an uproarious one.

The Washington Post saw fit to run a countdown clock on its website to mark the time since Hillary last took questions from the press (40,150 minutes between Q&A’s for those keeping score). Kate McKinnon has committed her considerable talent to what could perhaps become the best Saturday Night Live political caricature ever. But what makes this all such a riot is how the media is coping with it all, which is to say they don’t know how to deal with it. Should they cover her more aggressively and demand that she get involved in the daily give-and-take, if only to better prepare her for the general? Or should they adopt a satisfied detachment and remark on how savvy Clinton is to go this route considering her 100% name I.D. Right now they fall somewhere in the middle, with the more professional journalists angry at the situation and hungry to do their jobs versus the sycophants and hacks of cable news who will offer the same critique no matter what she does: “Bravo.”

It wouldn’t be this way if the Democratic Party were not so bereft of political talent and not married to a single candidate whose only virtues are her last name and gender. If Hillary had real competition the liberal press would be hounding her and demanding that she speak with the implicit message that there are other options and “we’ll spurn you in a second if you can’t convince us you’re the genuine article. We’ve done it before.”

Hubris and arrogance are not typically mined for their comedy, but man alive is Hillary funny in her entitlement. When Alex Seitz-Wald refers to your entourage as a “palace guard” on MSNBC, you might want to reexamine your methods. If I was a handler for a candidate whose sense of entitlement dwarfed her actual accomplishments, I would probably caution against her acting arrogant and above it all, especially when scandal threatens to follow you throughout. And of all the transparently self-serving no-no’s, the one that would sit at the top of my list would be Citizens United. I would say, “don’t talk about Citizens United.” All progressives loathe Citizens United v FEC but you know who really truly despises it? Hillary Clinton. That’s because the whole case was about her. Citizens United wanted to produce and air a critical documentary on Hillary Clinton in 2008, a fairly standard practice (Michael Moore, anyone?) and well within the law and of course protected under the First Amendment. But that is not how the left views speech these days. They wish to control the flow of money to campaigns by granting the FEC the power to regulate which political speech is kosher and which is not. Calling this a slippery slope is like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground. They screech in terror about billionaires and disclosure and “dark money” when in reality they are saying that bureaucrats at the FEC should set the landscape for political giving. If a federal agency has the power to declare movies and books critical of politicians invalid then it is game over for the First Amendment. And I get that progressives move closer everyday to making repeal part of the DNC platform, but Hillary? Citizens United went to the Supreme Court because Hillary Clinton was unhappy about a movie made about Hillary Clinton. The Supreme Court said the First Amendment still stands and therefore it is well within the freedom of a corporation to make whatever damn political movie it pleases. Naturally, this does not sit well with Hillary and the left, but if anyone should be recused from criticizing Citizens United it is Hillary Clinton. That she went right ahead decrying big money in politics anyway (she who made $30 million in 2014 by giving speeches) shows the level of hubris and entitlement at play. Matt Welch looks at this and sees a “wonderfully clarifying campaign slogan for you: Elect me, and I’ll try to put my critics in jail!”

On CNN Jeff Zeleny offered that “this criticism was threatening to overtake her message” as he reported on the earth-shattering news that Hillary did in fact take questions from the press on Tuesday (five questions). The pros who want to do their jobs are beginning to chafe at Her Highness’ indifference to them. Jonah Goldberg suspects it may be time for the press to start punishing her.

Normally, when a politician tries to break the media’s food bowl, the media defends itself. Instead, I keep watching broadcasts that treat her gingerly. Sure, they mention how she isn’t taking questions. But they also say things like “Clinton took questions from voters” and “Clinton met with small businessmen to talk about the economy” and then they let her get her soundbites in. I can see the case, as a matter of journalistic ethics, for letting her get her message out. Though such ethics are often selectively applied to Republicans the press hates.

But why peddle the fiction that she is having authentic conversations with Iowans? When President Bush was selective about who he took questions from, the press ate him alive for it.

And Bush was far more open to the press than Hillary’s being (and he was the president). And Hillary is running unopposed which makes the press’s role much more important. Why not err on the side of the truth, particularly when the truth hurts? Every meeting with pre-selected human props should be described that way. Every “event” should be reported in hostile — and more accurate! — terms. “Mrs. Clinton held another scripted and staged event today where volunteers asked pre-arranged safe questions the scandal-plagued candidate was prepared to answer . . .”

I understand the press is liberal, but they also have a very high opinion of themselves. The Clinton campaign is making fools of them. It’s time for some payback.

One can dream.

Climate Sanity

Shikha Dalmia of Reason has an excellent piece today on how ideology colors our engagement with the climate change issue:

Why do Republicans so stubbornly resist the climate change story? It’s not like when a tornado touches down, it spares them, targeting only Democrats. Conversely, why are liberals so eager to buy the climate apocalypse? It’s not like they can insulate themselves from rising energy prices or job losses that a drastic energy diet would produce. The answer is that each side is driven by concerns over whether this issue advances or impedes its broader normative commitments, not narrow self-interest.

The right’s chief commitment (which I share) is to free enterprise, property rights, and limited government that it sees as core to human progress. So when the market or other activities of individuals harm third parties or the environment, they look for solutions in these principles. If overgrazing threatens a pasture, to use a classic example, the right’s answer is not top-down government diktats to ban or ration use. Rather, it is to divvy up the pasture, giving ownership to farmers—or privatizing the commons. The idea is that what individuals own, they protect; what they don’t, they abuse.

But there is no pure free market or property rights solution to global warming. There is no practical way to privatize the Earth’s atmosphere or divvy up pollution rights among the world’s seven billion inhabitants in 193 countries. This creates a planet-sized opening for the expansion of the regulatory state. Hence, right-wingers have an inherent need to resist the gloomy global warming narrative.

This is a massive conservative blind spot. But it is, in many ways, matched by liberals’ tunnel vision.

It is no secret that liberal commitment is less to promoting individual liberty and more to curbing capitalistic greed, which the left views as the great enemy of social justice and equality. At first blush, environmentalism and egalitarianism appear in conflict given that the environment is something of a luxury good that rich folks generally care about more than the poor.

Indeed, this conflict is why the 1960s New Left, driven primarily by humanistic concerns such as eradicating poverty and eliminating racism, shunned the emerging environmental movement for over a decade, according to University of Wisconsin’s Keith M. Woodhouse. Many in the New Left condemned the first Earth Day in 1970 as “the white liberal’s cop out” and believed that a preoccupation with overpopulation, for example, was “racist hysteria.”

Lefties and enviros merged into the modern-day progressive movement only when the New Left was persuaded that environmental degradation and social injustice were manifestations of the same greed-ridden system. Global warming, in a sense, combines this twin critique of capitalism on the grandest possible scale, indicting the rich West for bringing the world close to catastrophe by hogging a disproportionate amount of the global commons, leaving less for the developing world.

This is why, despite the demonstrated impossibility of imposing a global emission-control regime after the failure of the Kyoto treaty, liberals continue to demand that the West unilaterally cut emissions, even though this will arguably make little difference to global temperatures. It is a matter of cosmic justice, as far as they are concerned.

  Indeed, if there is any doubt that liberal alarmism no less than conservative skepticism is driven by ideological commitments—and not a realistic assessment of actual risk and achievable solutions—research by Dan Kahan of Yale University ought to put it to rest. He found that when geo-engineering—pumping sulfates into the atmosphere to deflect heat—is offered as the solution to climate catastrophe instead of emission restrictions, liberals become far more questioning of global warming science. Why? Because, presumably, it does nothing to curb Western greed. Conversely, geo-engineering makes conservatives far more accepting of the science, likely because it avoids Big Government.

Yes, skeptics succumb to ideology when we question the big government solutions they propose, but for good reason. A not-insignificant share of the global environmental movement is comprised of the Communist refugees who had no ideological home following the fall of the Berlin Wall until they wandered into the environmental movement, which was quite happy to welcome such a sudden influx of committed leftists. Check out James Delingpole’s Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors if you wish to dive deeper into the “green on the outside, red on the inside” thesis.  None of which is to say the debate is “settled” (that kind of language is the sole property of the left) or that we shouldn’t have robust debates about carbon and energy. But what we’re having today is far far removed from anything resembling an honest and open inquiry. What we have today is a demand from our cultural betters to conform to their latest trendy orthodoxy, or else. And it is the unhinged left that flings words like “denier” and “anti-science” around with all the care with which they deploy “racist.”  It is growing very tiresome.

Ode to Kennedy

I was only 14 when Kennedy simulated oral sex on a microphone next to Rudy Giuliani at the ’94 MTV Video Music Awards, and so I couldn’t quite appreciate what I was witnessing. I recall maintaining an awkward silence at school the next day as the incident dominated cafeteria conversations, because I did not want to reveal that I didn’t understand what the fuss was about. I mean, I got the joke as far as it went, but I didn’t understand the negativity and the boos that greeted the popular MTV VJ as she walked on stage to present an award. As I learned at school, the impetus for Kennedy’s stunt was show host Roseanne Barr’s joke in her opening monologue that Kennedy was performing fellatio on Rush Limbaugh backstage. I didn’t know who Rush Limbaugh was at the time.

Kennedy would slowly fade from my pop radar as MTV gradually transformed from a cutting-edge alternative music channel to the confounding and ridiculous epicenter of a new fad known as reality television. It wasn’t until around 2010 that I rediscovered Lisa Kennedy Montgomery as I was mining the internet for material on a burgeoning new interest: libertarianism. By then Kennedy had switched from Republican to libertarian and found a home with Reason.com and ReasonTV. I was impressed with her work and officially became a fan. Around this time, the Fox Business Network was discovering that their highest rated prime-time political shows shared a libertarian bent, particularly Stossel. So I was intrigued to learn that FBN had given Kennedy her own show and that they were doing so to capitalize on the growing libertarian moment.

To date, The Independents has not disappointed. Flanked by Matt Welch of Reason and Kmele Foster of Free Think Media, Kennedy is simply dynamite as the witty, abrasive, hilarious, informed host. She is clearly having a blast and is easily worthy of two or three laugh-out-loud moments a night, a gift that could perhaps be construed as a weakness when she elicits distracting bouts of laughter from her off-screen panelists. That is but a minor quibble though, as everything from the content to the guests to the bumper music is top-notch. What pleases this viewer most are Kennedy’s biting monologues and asides, such as her take that Huma Abedin “sounds like she’s in the Pentaverate! Or the Sextaverate… which we will get into in a later show.”

I’m an unabashed young(ish) libertarian and therefore the perfect representative of the target market Roger Ailes and the FBN brass are aiming to reach with their pivot to more libertarian programming. Leftists are always quick to point out that approximately 50% of the Fox News Channel’s viewership are 68 and older, which explains the sister network’s drive to attract a younger audience. It isn’t a risk-free proposition, as evidenced by a pretty riotous segment called “Two Minutes of Hate,” which airs grievances from the (one suspects) more rank-and-file Fox News viewer and which makes clear that not everyone in the Fox viewership embraces the libertarians’ sudden rise to mainstream prominence. By my own unscientific calculus though, the show is a hit and will remain so, as long as Kennedy keeps the lively atmosphere humming and the wicked one-liners rolling.

I know it’s silly to get excited about a political panel show, but we libertarians are hungry for our ideas to be heard, and adding a great show like The Independents to a roster that includes Stossel (and used to include the great Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch) can only be seen as good news for the further mainstreaming of libertarian ideology. But if you’re skeptical of these ideas or even outright hostile towards them, you should still watch because Kennedy is freaking hilarious and often zones to the point of “Reaganing.”