In perhaps one of the most union-friendly speeches of her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton spoke to low-wage workers on a Sunday morning in Detroit, delivering a surreal message of support and solidarity. Ms. Clinton was speaking of her support for the “Fight for $15.”
“All of you should not have to march in the streets to get a living wage, but thank you for marching in the streets to get that living wage. We need you out there leading the fight against those who would rip away Americans’ right to organize, to collective bargaining, to fair pay.”
This is a remarkably hypocritical statement. Women in Ms. Clinton’s senate office earned 72 cents to the dollar compared to what the men earned. Additionally, she supports a $15 minimum wage “only in large cities,” such as New York City. She doesn’t believe people in smaller cities, or living in the country, deserve a $15 minimum wage. In this speech, Ms. Clinton seems to be using a philosophy of omission rather than one of total transparency.
In Detroit’s speech, she essentially echoed the Service Employees International Union’s platform in its campaign for a $15 minimum wage. Apparently, in Ms. Clinton’s mind, Detroit qualifies as a city with a high cost of living. Or, Ms. Clinton was simply telling the low-income workers what they wanted to hear. She did omit her stated desire for a national $12 minimum wage.
Ms. Clinton has mentioned her desire for a national minimum wage of $12 per hour on several occasions. The question becomes, was she serious about a $15 per hour minimum wage when speaking to the workers in Detroit? The cost of living in Detroit is equal to the national average. Is she changing her mind or is Ms. Clinton’s understanding of geographic economies extremely confused?
A spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union, which has funded the Fight for $15 campaign, said the union had no comment on Clinton’s remarks. Apparently, her remarks did not get the union endorsement she was hoping for. (Bernie had already submitted legislation supporting a $15 minimum wage.)
Perhaps Ms. Clinton is on the verge of a flip-flop. She often describes her flip-flops as a an expression of her personal evolution, which sounds fine on the surface. Beneath the surface, not so much. Ms. Clinton’s evolutionary leaps take place only after she discovers the general population has evolved. This is not a leadership trait. This is more about a salesperson trying to make a sale.
There is Senator Clinton’s Iraq war vote, which she said was a mistake. Regarding gay rights she once responded, “I believe marriage is not just a bond, but a sacred bond between a man and a woman.”
In 2003, Ms. Clinton stated, “I think, on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York and America.” Three years later, she said, “NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we hoped it would.”
On gun control, Ms. Clinton has veered to the political right when it suits her. In 2008, at a Democratic primary in Nevada, Hillary Clinton opposed national gun registration. She has said, “I don’t want the federal government preempting states and cities like New York that have very specific problems.” What changed? Now she’s running against Bernie Sanders and gun violence is in the news once or twice a week.
Ms. Clinton is consistently behind the times and seems to lack foresight. Her positions evolve only after they become popular with mainstream America. To hide this weakness, she avoids transparency. These are not the characteristics of a good leader.