Friday, April 8, 2016

My thoughts on Bill Clinton arguing with Black Lives Matter protesters.

Bill Clinton stands behind his wife at a benefit concert. Reuters. 

Clinton's remarks at a Philadelphia rally. 

Bill Clinton loudly criticized Black Lives Matter protesters at a Philadelphia rally. Reuters. For more then 10 minutes, Bill Clinton went on a rant as BLM hecklers bashed his wife over a 1994 crime bill. The protesters are mad about remarks that Hillary Clinton made in 1994 where she called black criminals "super-predators" that needed to be "brought to heel". Bill Clinton responded to the hecklers by saying "I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,". He also said that "You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter". Bill Clinton also claimed that the protesters were lying about Hillary Clinton's record. Criminal justice reform has been a major issue this campaign season. Black Americans make up a disproportionate number of incarcerated prisoners in America. Both Clinton's have said that they regret the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act's impact on the incarceration rate. 

My Comment:
Before I say anything else, if you watched any of Bill Clinton's speech, you will be shocked at how unhealthy he looks and sounds. The man is 69 yeas old but he looks and sounds even older. His voice has also really changed from what I remember. He sounded horse and a couple of times his voice started to give out. In fact, I would say that Bill Clinton looks even worse then his wife, Hillary, who has also gained quite a bit of attention for her perceived ill health. I think having to go through their 4th presidential campaign, two successful, one failure and one undecided, is really taking a toll on both Clinton's health. I would not be terrible surprised if one or both of them didn't make it to November just based on how they sound alone. 

On to the actual article. This is another example of the left eating each other and, of course, I am all for it. In the past Black Lives Matter has largely left Hillary Clinton alone, but it appears that those days are over. Now BLM seems to be willing to attack anyone and everyone for the most trivial things. In a primary season where the GOP is ripping itself apart over stupid reasons, it is nice to see the Democrats getting into the action.

I hate to say it, but I think Bill Clinton is probably the one who is in the right here. He may be a woman abusing jerk who never should have been president, but the protesters were out of line. Disrupting a speech, no matter who the candidate is, is a stupid thing to do. I gotta give Bill Clinton a lot of credit for not just ignoring them but actually countering the protesters points. I don't know if I agree with what he said in rebuttal, but I do admire him for actually having the courage to stand up to these idiots. That kind of, courage is rare to see in the Democratic party these days, and even though I dislike Bill Clinton, I think he was correct to stand up for his wife. Indeed, candidates like Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders immediately backed down when confronted by Black Lives Matters protesters. Only Bill Clinton and Jim Webb disagreed with them publicly. 

Does this hurt or help Hillary Clinton though? I think it might do a little of both. Hillary Clinton already polls very well among the black community and her opponent, Bernie Sanders, is largely despised by them, even though Sanders tries to pander to them extensively. Having her husband come down hard on BLM could hurt her. BLM seems to have a lot of influence and they could shift black voters into voting for Sanders or staying home on election day. 

It really depends on how popular BLM is among black people. I have no idea how to answer that question. As far as I know there hasn't been any polling to find out one way or the other. Certainly on social media BLM is popular with black users, but that's hardly an accurate sample size. Even if it is though, I don't think Blacks are going to suddenly abandon Hillary Clinton for Bernie Sanders, especially when BLM doesn't get alone with him either. And I bet there is a large but silent group of black people that dislike BLM for their actions, even if they agree on their policy recommendations.

I do think that there are going to be a lot of White, Asian and Hispanic Democrats that are going to like Bill Clinton standing up against BLM. There is no doubt that the Democratic party focuses on the African American community at the expense of other minority and majority groups. These are the key voters that Hillary Clinton has been hemorrhaging to Bernie Sanders and to a lesser extent, Donald Trump. I am guessing at least some of them will appreciate Bill Clinton finally standing up to BLM. 

As for the protesters specific claim, was the 1994 bill a good one or a bad one? I don't think anyone really knows for sure. There was a major drop off on crime in the mid 1990's that continues to this day, but it is all but impossible to determine if the bill is what caused it. Indeed, I have heard dozens of theories as to why the crime rate is dropping off and the crack down on crime in the 1990's is just one factor. Other possible factors include the lower levels of lead in the atmosphere, demographic changes, the loosening of gun control laws and even the rise of video games and pornography (yes really!) It's very hard to tell if one or all of these factors played a role. And even if the bill did work, it's hard to determine it if outweighed the damage it is accused of doing. In short, I don't know, the experts don't know and there is no way that BLM knows! 

I do think that there were some very bad parts to the bill. Obviously I am totally opposed to the assault weapons ban. The fact that gun crime has dropped dramatically even after the ban was lifted shows that gun control has little to do with gun crime. I also think the three strike law was pretty stupid. Sure, it put some very bad people away, but it also hit a lot of people that should not have been put away for life. 

I would generally agree that criminal justice reform is needed. Ironically enough, the cause Black Lives Matter cares about the most is the one they ensured would not happen. I have said before that the mood for conservative Americans was optimal for reform a few years ago. When the Bundy Ranch standoff and IRS targeting scandal happened, everyone on the right was saying that the federal government was out of control and that we desperately needed reform. There was starting to look like real momentum for changing the police state from both parties. 

And then Ferguson happened. And Baltimore. And the riots in Chicago. And the cause of police reform when right out of the window. BLM pissed away any appetite the American people had for reform. The police state looks a lot more attractive when people are rioting for reasons that make no sense. Right now, where there was once great bipartisan support for reform, there is only fear. Indeed, compare the reaction to the Bundy Ranch standoff and the shooting during the Oregon standoff. In the first Bundy and his followers were treated as heroes and in the second, nobody cared that the FBI shot a guy under suspicious circumstances. The only difference between those events is every thing that BLM has done in the past couple of years. 

Finally, I think that if we really are going to fix the complaints of both BLM and everyone else, the Black community is going to have to ask some hard questions about themselves. Yes, young black men are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate, but they also commit crime at a disproportionate rate. Even after you control for things like poverty and education. BLM would have you believe that the only reason that is true is because of racism. As long as that is the only politically acceptable answer to the question, nothing will ever change. 

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