That rather spicy debate the Democrats engaged in last night didn’t seem particularly newsworthy in terms of policy, nor did we see anything which will wind up changing the overall balance of the race. There was pandering aplenty and a few relatively mild zingers, but aside from that it was mostly the same arguments over who could be more liberal in front of the cameras which has come to define all of the arguments between Clinton and Sanders. But one thing which might be of interest to undecided voters was the almost casual way in which Hillary Clinton abandoned some of her previously held positions in the heat of the moment and adopted the talking points of Sanders as if she’d been saying those things all along.
The first issue where she performed yet another about face was on fracking. These days – particularly during this debate – Clinton is preaching the evils of hydraulic fracturing. One of her Super PACs is currently running ads in New York on the subject every hour on the hour. But Bernie called her out on it last night. Here’s the video.
The Wall Street Journal noted the same thing as Sanders recently, reminding everyone of Clinton’s very different position on the subject when she was Secretary of State.
“This is a new look for Mrs. Clinton, who promoted fracking around the world as Secretary of State. In 2010 she popped into Krakow to announce a global shale initiative, and in 2012 she dropped by Bulgaria to encourage the parliament to end a fracking moratorium. But now that she wants to be President she would regulate out of existence the livelihoods of tens of thousands in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, and across the U.S.A.”
The other and far more “fresh off the presses” flip flop was on the issue of the Fight for 15. Remarkably, Clinton stood onstage and said that she’s been fighting for that idea and would sign legislation to make it the law of the land at the federal level. As The Week immediately pointed out, this was news to Bernie Sanders who has been arguing with her about it for months. Clinton was the one who supported the plan currently in place in New York to have a 15 dollar minimum in the city, but a three dollar per hour lower figure in upstate regions where the cost of living is lower. She also clearly stated that the federal minimum should be somewhere around 12 dollars.
Does Secretary Clinton honestly believe that nobody records her previous statements and that they simply disappear from history once she finishes speaking? This is a complete reversal in her position. You can almost hear the hamster wheels turning in her head as she’s questioned by reporters and reading the polls. “Oh. You don’t like the 12 dollar per hour plan? You want me to say something else? Okay.”
Of course, she’s talking about a subject where she knows quite well that the President has no control beyond the paychecks of federal workers. Congress would need to approve a federal increase of any sort and that’s not likely to take the form of a 15 dollar minimum any time soon. Clinton is just hopping from one political lily pad to the next, saying whatever she thinks her liberal base wants to hear. We can only assume that once she’s in the general election fight (if she makes it that far) she will simply reverse course and say whatever seems most popular in the swing states.
Hillary Clinton’s policy positions and beliefs are a mile wide and an inch deep. Voters should be reminded to not take them too seriously because they all come with an expiration date which is determined by the next set of poll numbers.