Nebraska attorney Dave Begley continues his series on the appearances of presidential candidates in Iowa. Dave gave it up for Power Line readers this past Wednesday by looking in on Madam Hillary’s appearance in Sioux City, Iowa. Dave writes:
Hillary interrupted her vacation to campaign in Iowa. I saw her at Morningside College in Sioux City. She spoke to about 275 people in the student center. The room was too small for the crowd and it was very hot as the air conditioning had not been turned up in advance of the rally.
Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack introduced her. Bill and Hillary saved his campaign for governor so Vilsack owes her big time. Two things of note from Vilsack.
First off he recounted his practice of law in the 80’s when the Midwest was in a severe farm crisis. He did farm bankruptcies. What he failed to mention was that the Jimmy Carter presidency really was the proximate cause of the farm crisis. Carter embargoed grain shipments to the Soviet Union and that tanked farm commodity prices. Interest rates spiked to record levels. And, of course, oil prices went through the roof. Banks and farms failed at a rate not seen since the Great Depression.
Vilsack also said that, “the toughest thing to do is to run for president.” The troops that landed at Omaha Beach and the few Americans that tried to defend the Benghazi compound would probably disagree with that claim. The other side had guns in those life-or-death contests.
Hillary had three main themes: Agriculture, green energy, and college costs.
I thought her green energy proposals were the most newsworthy. She said she would mandate biofuels for use by our military jets. I have no idea if that is even technically feasible, but surely it is uneconomic as otherwise it would have been done already. This idea is just another way to pander to Iowa corn farmers. And, of course, the Street would have to finance all those new biofuel plants. That’s why Goldman Sachs loves Hillary.
The next program is what I call the Elon Musk payoff. Musk is Chairman of SolarCity and he is a master of harvesting the Internal Revenue Code. SolarCity (and other companies) are looking to disrupt and displace the current energy industry with their heavily subsidized solar power panels and wind turbines. Again, uneconomic at $70 oil and much more so when oil is under $40 and natural gas is under $2.70.
Hillary called this her moonshot. She wants 500 million solar panels installed by the “end of my first term.” By the end of her second term she has a goal “that every home” would be 100 percent powered by renewable energy. No mention of the cost to the people paying the bills and apparently we have no choice in this matter. This is the Green version of a chicken in every pot. These two proposals show why both the Street and Green energy people love Hillary. She is their meal ticket.
For agriculture, she touted her Feed the Future program she established as Secretary of State. I had never heard of it. Turns out it is purchasing American food to give to foreign countries when they are not in crisis. It apparently spent $3.5 billion over three years. Pork. Maybe this is her big accomplishment at State that Carly has inquired about.
Clinton recounted a story about when she was in the Senate and she told fellow senators that New York was number two in onion production. They didn’t believe her. I wonder why.
On agriculture and immigration she said the GOP presidential candidates were not listening to farmers. Farmers need foreign workers to pick their oranges, milk their cows and harvest their crops. Apparently Mrs. Clinton is unaware of the fact that Iowa agriculture is mostly mechanized and no oranges are grown in the Hawkeye state.
The biggest applause was when the college crowd was told that a President Clinton would allow them to refinance their student debt at a lower interest rate. La di da. This is a sad and cynical proposal as it doesn’t get to the root of the problem: The high absolute cost of a college education and why price increases have exceeded the rate of inflation for years.
Clinton ended her speech by saying that the Founders didn’t intend to put a King or dictator in charge. She should know as she has had a front seat to the Obama presidency and we have seen the result.