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A Government of Laws

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from Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal, Clinton is Already Vowing to Overreach:

This is no small matter. “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands,” James Madison warned in Federalist 47, “may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Madison goes on to paraphrase Montesquieu: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person.”

Or we might consult Thomas Jefferson, namesake of the Iowa Democratic dinner where Mrs. Clinton spoke. In his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Jefferson writes that “the concentrating” of the legislative, executive and judicial powers “in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotic government.”

Progressives long ago came to view the Constitution as a quaint document with no binding power. But until recently, they never were so baldly contemptuous of it. Now liberals consider running roughshod over our governing charter not only fashionable but mandatory. No constitutional niceties will stand in the way of their vision. Which explains why this election will decide whether America will remain, in the words of John Adams, “a government of laws, and not of men.”

HKO

When one condones such power being accessible to an elected official, they would be wise to pause and imagine that power in the hands of their worst nightmare from the opposition. How would she feel about the same power in the hands of a Donald Trump?

This is a good example of pragmatism as a political philosophy at its worst.  Every problem is a crisis and something must be done, the constitution be damned.

The dominant political debate today, after you cut through pieties and the noise is constitutionalism vs progressivism.  The progressives since Wilson have viewed the constitution as a dated document that inhibits needed government action, not as a document designed to restrain government power and protect individual natural rights.  While there is clearly room for interpretation in the lights of two and half centuries of progress, the fundamental precepts of liberty and the problem with concentrations of government power remain and should be respected.

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A Hard Shift Left

from The Wall Street Journal, Fred Barnes writes The No-Growth Democratic Party

In 1997 President Bill Clinton signed the Taxpayer Relief Act, cutting the tax rate on capital gains to 20% from 28%. Senate Democrats voted 37-8 in favor of the bill. House Democrats backed it 164-41. In 2015 Mr. Clinton’s wife, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, wants to raise the current 23.4% rate on capital gains, nearly doubling it for wealthy investors.

In 1982 Sen. Bill Bradley and House member Dick Gephardt, both Democrats, unveiled an ambitious tax-reform plan that would spur economic growth by eliminating loopholes, broadening the tax base and reducing the top rate on individual income to 30% from 50%. What Mr. Bradley and Mr. Gephardt started, President Reagan and Congress finished in 1986. A bipartisan tax-reform package was enacted, with a top rate of 28%.

Now Democrats have a new definition of tax reform. “They want to broaden the base and raise tax rates,” says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former head of the Congressional Budget Office. Rather than promote economic growth—a goal of Mr. Bradley and Mr. Gephardt—this approach is almost certain to hamper it. After nearly seven years of sluggish growth during the Obama era, the party seems to think that even an anemic 2% annual increase in GDP is too much.

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Irresponsibility

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from Cafe Hayek, A Canned Lie:

As ‘responsibility’ is commonly understood in modern English, a responsible person is able and willing to respond to the events in question by personally bearing the bulk of the consequences.

If Ms. Clinton were really to take responsibility, she’d submit herself to a genuinely probing legal investigation or even quit (or at least suspend) her political campaign.  But, instead of her really taking responsibility, her strategic exclamation “I take responsibility” is meant only to make her immune from actually having to take responsibility.

Hillary Clinton, of course, is hardly the only public figure who emits whatever verbal effluvia she or he senses at the moment might distract the public from scrutinizing her or his actions too closely.  Such “I take responsibility” faux-boasts are very common.  But these boasts of responsibility-taking are meaningless at best and, in reality – unless the boaster actually takes a truly responsible action such as resigning from office – are actually more like lies.  Sensible people ought not be soothed or duped by any claim by any public figure caught in some nefarious or reckless activity that he or she “takes responsibility.”

and from Jonah Goldberg at National Review, Who Cares if Hillary Apologized? :

This raises the question: Who gives a rat’s ass? Were you demanding an apology from Hillary Clinton? I wasn’t. I wanted the facts. And those are still in short supply. Which raises a second point: What the Hell is she talking about when she says the State Department “allowed” her private, off-site, server? First off, Hillary Clinton was running the State Department. Does she mean that she allowed herself to do it? If so, this may be the greatest example of Clintonian weasel-wording yet. If she doesn’t mean that, can we have the name of the official who told Clinton it was okay? Can we have the paperwork? Or is the Clinton team still drawing straws to see who gets to take one for the team?

Which brings us back around to this apology business. Note that she’s apologizing for the narrowest definition of her transgressions, which is a clever way of trying to minimize the scandal.​ It was perfectly allowed…but I should have used two email addresses. My bad. This is a strange way to “take responsibility,” after months of saying you did absolutely nothing wrong and attacking anyone who said otherwise.  If she’s going to apologize for anything, she should apologize for that. Or she could apologize for putting national security at risk. Or she could apologize for violating rules rank-and-file people can get sent to jail for. This “apology” is a response to her falling poll numbers and nothing more. That’s because everything she does these days is in response to poll numbers

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/423744/who-cares-if-hillary-apologized-jonah-goldberg

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Clinton Fraud Hidden in Plain Sight

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From The Wall Street Journal, How the Clintons Get Away With It by Peggy Noonan

excerpts:

I wonder if any aspirant for the presidency except Hillary Clinton could survive such a book. I suspect she can because the Clintons are unique in the annals of American politics: They are protected from charges of corruption by their reputation for corruption. It’s not news anymore. They’re like . . . Bonnie and Clyde go on a spree, hold up a bunch of banks, it causes a sensation, there’s a trial, and they’re acquitted. They walk out of the courthouse, get in a car, rob a bank, get hauled in, complain they’re being picked on—“Why are you always following us?”—and again, not guilty. They rob the next bank and no one cares. “That’s just Bonnie and Clyde doing what Bonnie and Clyde do. No one else cares, why should I?”

Mr. Schweizer writes of “the flow of tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation . . . from foreign governments, corporations, and financiers.” It is illegal for foreign nationals to give to U.S. political campaigns, but foreign money, given as donations to the Clinton Foundation or speaking fees, comes in huge amounts: “No one has even come close in recent years to enriching themselves on the scale of the Clintons while they or a spouse continued to serve in public office.” The speaking fees Bill commands are “enormous and unprecedented,” as high as $750,000 a speech. On occasion they have been paid by nations or entities that had “matters of importance sitting on Hillary’s desk” when she was at State.

From 2001 through 2012 Bill collected $105.5 million for speeches and raised hundreds of millions for the foundation. When she was nominated, Hillary said she saw no conflict. President Obama pressed for a memorandum of understanding in which the Clintons would agree to submit speeches to State’s ethics office, disclose the names of major donors to the foundation, and seek administration approval before accepting direct contributions to the foundation from foreign governments. The Clintons accepted the agreement and violated it “almost immediately.” Revealingly, they amassed wealth primarily by operating “at the fringes of the developed world.” Their “most lucrative transactions” did not involve countries like Germany and Britain, where modern ethical rules and procedures are in force, but emerging nations, where regulations are lax.

The foundation’s website shows the Clintons holding sick children in Africa, but unlike Doctors Without Borders and Samaritan’s Purse, the foundation does “little hands-on humanitarian work.” It employs longtime Clinton associates and aides, providing jobs “to those who served the Clintons when in power and who may serve them again.” The Better Business Bureau in 2013 said it failed to meet minimum standards of accountability and transparency. Mr. Schweizer notes that “at least four Clinton Foundation trustees have either been charged or convicted of financial crimes including bribery and fraud.”

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The Cynics in the Mirror

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Bret Stephens writes in The Wall Street Journal, Hillary’s Cynical Song of Self

excerpts:

Cynicism is the great temptation of modern life. We become cynics because we desperately don’t want to be moralists, and because earnestness is boring, and because skepticism is a hard and elusive thing to master. American education, by and large, has become an education in cynicism: Our Founders were rank hypocrites. Our institutions are tools of elite coercion. Our economy perpetuates privilege. Our justice system is racist. Our foreign policy is rapacious. Cynicism gives us the comfort of knowing we won’t be fooled again because we never believed in anything in the first place. We may not be born disabused and disenchanted, but we get there very quickly.

This is the America that the Clintons seek to enlist in their latest presidential quest. I suspect many Democrats would jump at an opportunity not to participate in the exercise—it’s why they bolted for Barack Obama in 2008—and would welcome a credible primary challenger. (Run, Liz, Run!) But they will go along with it, mostly because liberals have demonized the Republican Party to the point that they have lost the capacity for self-disgust. Anything—anyone—to save America from a conservative judicial appointment.