On the Clinton press conference call this morning, comm director Howard Wolfson was asked to defend Clinton’s roundly-criticized/derided/debunked “gas tax holiday” proposal. I haven’t gotten the recording yet, so I’ll be back with the exact quote later, but his answer was along these lines: “Presidents sometimes do what experts say and sometimes they don’t,” and sometimes the right thing to do isn’t what the experts say.
We’ve heard this kind of logic applied to poll numbers, and as an argument against merely going with the will of the crowd, it makes sense. Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t the popular thing to do — either because we don’t have consensus as a country, or, you know, because the government is actively lying to us to make the wrong thing to do more attractive.
But in this case, HRC’s people seem to be arguing that she’s committed to doing something stupid just because it’s popular. Which is a lot like her vote on the war, except when it turns out disastrously, she can’t claim to have been lied to.
Of course, if this policy turns out disastrously, McCain — also a tax holiday supporter — will just insist on giving out the gas for free. Perhaps even pouring it on a fire.
UPDATE: Exact statement from the call, per NPR:
“We believe that the presidency requires leadership. There are times when a president will take a position that a broad consensus of quote unquote experts will agree with, and there are times when a president will do something that, the group of experts quote unquote does not agree with.
“And you know, this is something that Senator Clinton believes is the right policy…she believes it’s the right policy in the short term to help consumers who are struggling, and she has, as I said, a very comprehensive plan to deal with this in the long term as well. And she’s going to continue to talk about this and continue to push for it. And I understand that there may be some people who disagree with it and of course they’re entitled to disagree with it. You know, this is something that Senator Clinton believes is important. And presidents listen to advice, get advice, and then, and then act. And that is what Senator Clinton is doing.”