Live from Council Bluffs, it’s Hillary 5.0

Madam Hillary returned to Council Bluffs, Iowa, yesterday, and Nebraska attorney Dave Begley gave it up for us to deliver this on the scene report. Dave writes:

Hillary threw down a number of markers yesterday. Her presentation was much improved from the two previous times I have seen her. She drew laughs from the crowd and was much warmer and more personal than in her previous appearances.

She spoke for about 45 minutes and did not take questions. She led off her talk with the 5,000 percent price increase for a generic orphan drug produced by Turing Pharmaceuticals. This event was covered by the New York Times about two weeks ago. Two days later the Clinton campaign tweeted out her new drug price control plan. Since then, the drug and biotech stocks have crashed.

Clinton said that she would “take on the drug companies” and compel them to sell drugs “at affordable prices.” “Affordable” was left undefined. She asserted that America pays the highest drug prices in the world and described the personal drug arbitrage in states bordering Canada.

I follow the biotech industry and believe we are on the verge of cornucopia of new lifesaving drugs. One company has a drug in testing to cure some forms of blindness with one shot. There are cures for Hepatitis C. Other new drugs for cancers and even Alzheimer’s are in the works. How much is a cure for blindness or Hep C worth?

I do know that a major cost of getting new drugs to market is the FDA approval process. She had nothing to say about that, of course, or about how the rest of the world takes advantage of American drug innovation. A great amount of capital (human and financial) is now applied only in America to create amazing new drugs. Will the companies that take that risk be rewarded? Or will the incentive for innovation be shut down?

My question to Madam Hillary, if I would have been allowed to ask it, was whether her campaign will now refuse all donations from drug and biotech companies and their lobbyists. Or will she shake them down under the threat of imposing price controls?

She drew laughs about how she mailed her most recent book to the GOP presidential candidates. Alluding to Carly, she said that all of her accomplishments as Secretary of State were right there in the book. Clinton claimed that she put together the international coalition that imposed sanctions on Iran. She also claimed that she “stopped conflict in the Middle East.” (As we can see.)

Hillary played the gender card but in an odd way. She drew big applause when she said women should be paid equally with men. She then recited a story about a young man in New Hampshire who told her that he was paid one dollar more an hour than his mother in the same job even though she had a longer tenure. Query: How come the Obama Labor Department has not fixed this problem in seven long years?

The young woman who sat next to me backs Hillary because of her stance on gun control. She was a sweet person but just not well informed. Hillary played right to her when she said she supported “common sense measures to stop gun violence.” She said a President Clinton would close the (alleged) gun show, Internet and three day background check loopholes.

Pressure from her has impelled Clinton to propose that all students at public colleges graduate debt free as long as the students work ten hours per week. It just wouldn’t be fair to have those benefiting from their education have to pay for it as well.

She not only supports Dodd-Frank, she wants its coverage expanded, details to be worked out later. The implicit message to insurance companies and others is to get out your check books now or look out below.

She flogged her plan for a national infrastructure bank and more green energy companies. While Hillary claimed our infrastructure was crumbling, I was wondering where all that 2008 stimulus money went. And, of course, no details on the high cost and low output of green energy, or the costs it imposes on us through crony capitalism.

Clinton said she would defend Planned Parenthood. She would attempt to get rid of “dark money” in campaigns and even seek to amend the constitution to override the First Amendment as construed in the Citizens United case in which she was the de facto real party in interest.

All in all, an improved Hillary.