Commentary Magazine


Two Positions and Two Tall Tales in One Stop For Hillary

At a campaign stop in Philadelphia today, Hillary Clinton proposed an anti-crime package that would put 100,000 more cops on the streets of the U.S.

It’s a good thing, too: Another part of her package calls for letting imprisoned crack users back out on the streets to mix it up with the extra cops. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is all part of a plan to reduce recidivism and achieve fair treatment for blacks and whites under the law. Crack users “are disproportionately black,” and “the law punishes them more harshly than powder cocaine users, who are predominantly white.”

What’s wrong with stiffer penalties all around? Wouldn’t that take care of the imbalance and encourage less recidivism, at least in theory? The problem is, though, it wouldn’t help Hillary achieve her real goal—which is, as always, taking every position so that everyone approves. She wants more cops walking the beat to show she’s tough on crime, but she wants to reduce crack-related sentences to show she’s sympathetic to certain segments of the criminal population. This isn’t about anti-recidivism. It’s about a return to the big house. Another Clinton wants to be president and is employing Clintonian triangulation to get there.

Once again, the self-congratulatory fibs are on display as well:

Claiming that her husband’s administration “reduced crime to historic lows” in the 1990s, Clinton argued that “we have to get back to doing what we know works.”


“President Bush could have built on the successes of the 1990s,” she said, but instead he “slowly but surely chipped away at all of the building blocks.”

According to the Disaster Center, while the national crime rate did indeed plummet during Bill Clinton’s two terms, there were certainly no “historic lows.” In 1993, when Bill Clinton took office, the crime rate per 100,000 American inhabitants was 5,484.4. In 2001, when he left, it was 4,162.6. But the table also shows that before 1971, the rate was routinely lower than Bill Clinton’s best numbers. So, no historic lows–just a routine, Clintonian one. Furthermore, the crime rate has continued to drop every year of the George W. Bush administration, at least until 2006 when the data stops: the rate for that year is 3808. (And though the above crime breakdown doesn’t reflect the prosecution of high crimes, I’m pretty sure the impeachment rate has plummeted under Bush, as well.)