Yesterday, Amy Klobuchar and Kurt Bills met in Duluth for a debate that MinnPost accurately called “low-key.” Bills took the day off from his teaching job, from which he hasn’t seen fit to take a leave of absence for his Senate campaign. Apparently he thinks his campaign is just as much a long shot as the rest of us do.
It was the first of their debates I’ve had a chance to watch. Bills did better than I expected at times, but not so much that it’s going to improve on his zero percent chance of winning, as forecast by Nate Silver. Bills’s trouble is that he really is an extremist with some crazy ideas, and when he talks for too long, those crazy ideas invariably rise to the surface.
In particular, Bills called for ending the Fed’s “dual mandate” to minimize inflation while maximizing employment. He believes the Fed should ignore unemployment and focus solely on minimizing inflation. If Bills had his way, the Fed would have done nothing in the wake of the Great Recession. In fact, he went so far as to claim that the Fed’s policies to combat the recession are leading to rampant inflation and hurting the middle class.
If you’re wondering exactly where to find the rampant inflation that’s supposedly tormenting us, you’re not alone. In fact, inflation has remained steadily below the Fed’s goal of 2%. But Bills is committed to an ideology and an apocalyptic worldview that tell him the Fed’s actions must mean impending doom. And in service of that unsupported ideology, he’s willing to put millions out of work with extremist Libertarian policies.
For this ideology, as well as his support for unpopular Republican budget proposals, such as Paul Ryan’s and Rand Paul’s, Klobuchar did not hesitate to label Bills an extremist during their debate. Bills’s response to the attack was an odd non-sequitur: “Why would she attack me and call me extreme? I’m a public school teacher. How extreme is that?”
What an odd thing to say. Mr. Bills’s occupation has absolutely nothing to do with how extreme his policy views are. I suspect he offered such a red herring because even realizes that he’s too extreme for Minnesota. That would explain why he doesn’t seem to think his candidacy merits a full-time campaign.
You can watch the whole debate after the break, courtesy of The UpTake.