The third and, mercifully, final presidential debate featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton also turned out to be the most conventional. Fox News’ Chris Wallace did a solid job pressing the candidates on issues in Las Vegas; giving them space to spar, but not enough space to spiral out of control.
Of course, not even a strong moderator will deter candidates from misleading, lying, and prevaricating all night. And since we know Trump’s performance will be comprehensively fact checked by the entire media, let’s talk about Hillary.
1. Hillary Does Not ‘Respect the Second Amendment’
Was there anything more ridiculous last night than Hillary’s answer on guns? When pressed by Wallace to explain her opposition to 2008’s landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision, Clinton went through a checklist of platitudes before landing on the following:
You mentioned the Heller decision, and what I was saying that you reference, Chris, was that I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case. Because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was protect toddlers from guns.
Hillary brought up “toddlers” a few more times, because little children are mostly adorable and no one wants to see them shot.
The thing is, the Heller case revolves around Richard Heller, a then 66-year-old police officer in Washington DC, who was allowed to carry a gun in a federal office building to protect politicians and strangers, but not in his home to protect himself, his family, or his property. Also of note, the Heller decision had nothing to do with toddlers or saving toddlers’ lives or toddler gun safety or even toddlers shooting at each other. As my colleague Sean Davis has pointed out, the word “toddler” doesn’t appear anywhere in either the majority or dissenting opinions in the case.
After she was done fearmongering, Hillary went on to say this:
But there’s no doubt that I respect the Second Amendment, that I also believe there’s an individual right to bear arms.
No, she does not. Heller ended Washington’s “total ban on handguns” — which was SCOTUS’s description of the gun-control laws in DC. It codified the Second Amendment as an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Hillary admits she supports an effective ban on all handguns (for the toddlers), which is what instigated Heller. What “application” of the decision does she oppose if not the individual’s right to own a gun?
2. Hillary Does Not Support Any Limits on Abortion
Let’s move to the only constitutional “right” Hillary believes shouldn’t have any constraints: abortion. Last night, Clinton reiterated her support for legal abortion on demand for any reason through the entire pregnancy. Although Clinton is free to hold this position, she’s not free to make stuff up.
Martin Haskell said 80% of the partial-birth abortions he performed were “purely elective.”
— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) October 20, 2016
For starters, the idea that Clinton, the woman who in 2008 argued that Barack Obama’s health-care plans were too modest, wants to keep government out of health-care decisions is worthy of 8,000 Pinocchios. Yet this is how she couches her support for unlimited abortions:
Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make.
While one hopes pro-lifers remain sensitive to the heartbreaking, painful decisions women make, Hillary’s insinuation that most late-term abortions are to save the life of the mother is not backed up by evidence. Abortionist Leroy Carhart was taped admitting that he often performs elective late-term abortions at 26 weeks “or more.” Martin Haskell, the pioneer of partial-birth abortion, was once taped acknowledging that 80 percent of abortions after 20 weeks were “purely elective.”
The evidence comports with Haskell’s claim. The pro-life Charlotte-Lozier Institute, using data from medical literature and late-term abortion providers, found that the majority of these procedures are not performed for “maternal health complications or lethal fetal anomalies discovered late in pregnancy.” The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute found that in “many ways, women who had later abortions were similar to those who obtained first-trimester procedures.” Which is to say convenience.
Though Hillary acknowledges that Roe v. Wade allows limits, she has never supported a single one. Today’s health exemption allows abortion to end the life of a viable fetus for nearly any reason at all.
3. $200 Billion Is $200 Billion More than Zero
To review: Hillary Clinton said these words in this very order: “I’m not going to add a penny to the debt.”
Even if Clinton could tax the wealthy at a 90 percent top marginal rate, and raise rates on corporations, and enacted every other trickle-down tax on consumers she desires, and there’s still no way she would not add to the national debt. If she failed to enact her agenda and did absolutely nothing as president (we should be so lucky), Hillary would still add to the debt. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which accepts her economic plan on its face, found that under it debt would rise from $14 trillion to more than $23 trillion over the next decade — with her plans adding $200 billion.
You, like me, might find this estimate implausibly low. But even in the fantastical world of contemporary progressive economics, $200 billion is a lot more than a “penny.”
4. Yes, There’s Evidence of Clinton Foundation Corruption
When Wallace asked Hillary about the Clinton Foundation’s play-to-pay scheme, she pivoted to a rant about the various charitable accomplishments of her organization — “making environments in schools healthier for kids,” and so on. Hillary spoke about these altruistic acts as if they precluded her foundation from engaging in corrupt acts. They do not. Listen, just because mafia families handed out turkeys to the community on Christmas doesn’t mean they weren’t involved in protection rackets every other day of the year.
In the end, Hillary wouldn’t answer the question. This is as close as she came:
WALLACE: And the specific question went to pay for play. Do you want to talk about that?
CLINTON: Well, but there is no — but there is no evidence — but there is…
There may be no prosecution, but there’s extensive “evidence” that the Clinton Foundation was a center of influence-peddling.
How else does a Clinton donor find himself on a government intelligence advisory board even though he has absolutely no relevant experience? Hillary’s never been asked this question personally, as far as I know. We do know from some of the emails Hillary attempted to destroy that her charity’s officials sought and gained access to State Department personnel while she was in charge. We can suppose that sheiks from various theocracies didn’t donate hundreds of millions of dollars to the Clinton Global Initiative because they were concerned that little girls weren’t having salubrious lunches at their local elementary school.
Moreover, we also know through an Associated Press investigation that more than half the private citizens Hillary met or spoke with while secretary of State also happened to donate to her foundation. These people kicked in around $156 million to a foundation that also procured giant speaking fees for her husband. The whole thing is so innocent that the Clinton Foundation had to refile its tax returns for the past five years after it failed to properly disclose millions in donations from foreign sources when she was at the State Department.
5. No, We Don’t Always Accept the Outcomes of Elections
As I’ve noted elsewhere, Donald Trump has decided to engage in a destructive campaign to preemptively blame his imminent loss on electoral fraud. Liberal commentators have treated his strategy as if it were the most horrifying thing ever (until tomorrow’s most horrifying thing ever). The only story that mattered after the debate, according to numerous pundits, was Trump’s obstinate refusal to promise to accept the results of an election before the election had happened.
We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them.
Well, for starters, it’s highly debatable that all our elections have been fair and free. White Democrats, for example, were rigging elections for years. And though it’s not a perfect example, in 2000, Democrats, knowing full well they had lost Florida, attempted to invalidate votes and overturn the results until the Supreme Court forced them to stop. Only then, when completely out of options, did they concede to the Republican. Actually, many liberal pundits and politicians never stopped questioning the veracity of the election, even after numerous media organizations counted all the voters and proved the election hadn’t been stolen. Like many of the contentions we heard in Las Vegas, it was a lie peddled for political purposes.