Gail Santa Maria had put one thing in question form, and that was enough to send Hillary Clinton into her "guns" riff. When Hillary got to the end of that riff, Gail Santa Maria said: "My question is, why does anyone..." And the moderator, Christiane Amanpour, cut her off with a stern "You just had a question. Sorry, ma'am" and moved on. That made me feel bad for the school teacher, who was an unusually timorous lady. And yet... the pacing cannot slow way down for humble little people like this.
But in fact, the school teacher was not too timorous to talk over Hillary and say "74 more" when Hillary said the line "the horrors of the shootings at Sandy Hook and now we've had more in the time since." Hillary's "more" triggered the teacher's "74 more," a repetition of the dubious factoid that is getting lodged in voters' brains. Hillary herself never uttered the dubious factoid, but her "more" made the timid schoolteacher say "74 more." No one is accountable for that heavily inflated number, but we heard it. We heard it as if we were hearing our own internal voice. Yes, we already know that. The number is 74.
Now, let's get into the substance of Hillary's "guns" riff, which contains the amazing assertion that I've put in the post title. She begins:
First of all, I think as a teacher or really any parent, what's been happening with these school shootings should cause everybody to just think hard."Hard" is Hillary's key word. It's her book title — "Hard Choices" — and it's an all-purpose boast and excuse. She's capable of doing what's hard and, when things are hard, one can't be expected to get everything exactly right. And yes, "hard" invites her critics to mock her in a sexual way, as Rush Limbaugh did on his show yesterday: Hard Choices? Hard?!! That's going to make everyone think of Bill Clinton's erections. I'm paraphrasing. What Rush said was: "Now, if Bill had a book and the title of that was Hard Choices with the foreword by Monica Lewinsky, then maybe you might have a book that would walk itself off the shelves."
Back to the town hall transcript. We've seen that Hillary has led off with her core theme: It's hard.
Which seems to say: We all should just first pause and think about how hard it all is. She expands on hardness:
We make hard choices and we balance competing values all the time.This might make you think she's about to give a balanced presentation with careful attention to the opinions and preferences of those who see deep meaning in the right to bear arms. But the values on one side of this values competition dominate:
And I was disappointed that the Congress did not pass universal background checks after the horrors of the shootings at Sandy Hook and now we've had more... in the time since.Hot political subject, yes, but I thought you said there were values here and that it was hard to balance them. Are the gun-rights people just political heat you have to face or do you genuinely contemplate their values?
And I don't think any parent, any person should have to fear about their child going to school or going to college because someone, for whatever reasons -- psychological, emotional, political, ideological, whatever it means -- could possibly enter that school property with an automatic weapon and murder innocent children, students, teachers.
I'm well aware that this is a hot political subject.
And again, I will speak out no matter what role I find myself in.That's the next line because she mentioned politics, and she must always pose as if she has not yet decided to run for President.
But I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation.Yes? Do tell. We're going to balance those competing values? We're going to cool down and actually think about everything? NO! The next thing she says is:
We cannot let a minority of people -- and that's what it is, it is a minority of people -- hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.Whoa! That's the line I was looking for. Read it again and see how shocking it is. Not only did Hillary completely turn her back on "balanc[ing] competing values" and "more thoughtful conversation," she doesn't want to allow the people on one side of the conversation even to believe what they believe. Those who care about gun rights and reject new gun regulations should be stopped from holding their viewpoint. Now, it isn't possible to forcibly prevent people from holding a viewpoint. Our beliefs reside inside our head. And in our system of free speech rights, the government cannot censor the expression of a viewpoint. But the question is Hillary Clinton's fitness for the highest office, and her statement reveals a grandiose and profoundly repressive mindset.
I'm sure if she'd anticipated this criticism, she would have reworded it and made it clear that her point was only that in a democracy, the majority should win. Even that is open to critique. The majority only wins with respect to thing that are determined by majoritarian decisionmaking. Some things are reserved to individuals, and we could have thoughtful conversations — if we wanted to do some hard intellectual work — about what matters belong to the individual and not to the majority. What gun rights are to some Americans abortion rights are to others.
But Hillary leaps over these hard questions.
So, my view is that yes, we need to thrash this out in the political realm.Thrash? Is thrashing "thoughtful"? Is thrashing the balancing of an array of values? Apparently, this isn't even a hard choice. The good people already know the answer:
But the vast majority of Americans, even law abiding gun owners, people... who want background checks that work, information that is shared immediately, and an awareness that, you know, we're going to have to do a better job protecting the vast majority of our citizens, including our children, from that very, very, very small group that is unfortunately prone to violence and now with automatic weapons can wreak so much more violence than they ever could have before.The vast majority of Americans want to protect the vast majority of our citizens. At that level of generality, who can disagree? And I guess she gets to her "vast majority" by including all the people — like the NRA — who want effective enforcement of background checking requirements already on the books. Obviously, no one worth talking about wants murder, but that wasn't the topic we were supposedly about to have a thoughtful conversation about.
Hillary Clinton poses as the coolly thoughtful presider over a national conversation, but if you listen to what she's saying, she already has her answers and she's not going to let hold you hold any other viewpoint. The woman who once famously said...
I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic...... is now ready to deploy the verb "to terrorize" against those who debate and disagree with her.
ADDED: The video (via Power Line):