Senator Hillary Clinton has been running for president pretty much since she was first elected to the Senate. But after all of that time, after all of the trips, press conferences, debates, and ads, what do Michiganders really know about Clinton’s plans? On issue after issue, she has avoided taking strong positions, has contradicted herself, or has simply refused to answer any questions. Despite the almost constant news coverage, the only thing any of us really know for sure about Senator Clinton’s plans is that she wants to live in the White House again.
That’s not good enough. It’s not enough to be ambitious. It’s not enough to want to be president. The people deserve presidential candidates who want to be elected for a reason. We deserve candidates who take principled stands on important policy questions — yes, even the controversial ones. We deserve a president who has a vision for our future.
Senator Clinton may have many policy plans — but if she does, she hasn’t been eager to talk about them. So we’re left to guess: Did she or did she not have a plan to reform the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was set to hit 23 million Americans with unexpected tax increases this year? First, she said she had a plan. Then she said she’d defer to the chairman of the House tax-writing committee. Then, when he announced a plan that would raise taxes by a record-breaking $1.3 trillion, Clinton refused to give a straight answer whether she supported his plan or what she would do next.
That’s not the first time she has tried to have it both ways when it comes to the economy. How would Senator Clinton help Michiganders who need assistance? Just last week, she said that she wanted to “put money in people’s hands.” That sounds all well and good, except that one of the centerpieces of her campaign is taking money out of people’s hands. Not only did she vote in the Senate for the largest tax increase in history, but she has actually said on the campaign trail that she’s “going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” The people of Michigan don’t need the government to take more of their money. They need a strong economy, so they can earn and keep more money for their families.
How about health care? Senator Clinton tried this once before in 1993, with a plan to have the government take over our health care system, with accountants and bureaucrats in Washington making decisions about care instead of patients and doctors. Her new plan isn’t quite identical, but the guiding philosophies behind it are the same: more government, higher taxes, and less choice. Her plan will increase the power bureaucrats exercise over the health-care system, instead of doctors and patients. And though Senator Clinton insists the plan would create “no new bureaucracy,” it manages to spend $110 billion per year just to start. That’s a lot of money, and Senator Clinton admits that she will raise taxes in order to pay for it, but even by her own calculations, that would only cover part of the cost. Where will the rest come from? She won’t say.
On national-security issues, Senator Clinton seems more interested in appealing to left-wing activists than in offering serious answers to issues that directly affect our nation’s safety and security. It wasn’t long ago that she was telling audiences she opposed setting a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Now, she not only supports a deadline, but she says she always did. In spring of 2006, Clinton said that she would “of course” support funding for the troops. But less than three weeks later, she joined only 13 other senators to vote against funding our troops. Three weeks was all it took to change her mind.
That’s just a start. Senator Clinton won’t give a straight answer on whether or not she has a plan to reform Social Security — or even whether she believes the impending bankruptcy of our national retirement system is a ‘crisis.’ She has gone back and forth on whether she does or doesn’t support giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Clinton tells us she is the most experienced candidate, but refuses to release millions upon millions of pages of documents from her tenure in the White House to back up her claims.
A presidential election is not just about telling the American people what they want to hear. It’s about trust and leadership. If Senator Clinton won’t level with Michiganders — or any voters — about what she would do in the White House, if she doesn’t want to take positions on the hard issues now, how can we trust her to lead our nation?
— Mike Duncan is chairman of the Republican National Committee.