While she brags about playing the “woman card” in her presidential run, Hillary Clinton recently dealt herself a losing hand by saying that if elected, she would “put my husband…in charge of revitalizing the economy, 'cause you know he knows how to do it.”
So, Hillary’s first act as president would be to subordinate her leadership to “the First Dude” on what voters identify as “the most important problem facing the country today: the economy in general and unemployment.” Handing off Job One on Day One to her husband would hardly be an act of a confident, competent, ground breaking female first president of the United States.
Instead, it’s a repudiation of everything she is supposed to represent: an independent, accomplished woman, qualified to be president. Hillary Clinton’s need to invoke her husband’s mojo and management prowess is actually another sign of her weakness, desperation and duplicity as an Oval Office candidate.
On the one hand, Clinton wants us to believe—in the words of the Helen Reddy song “I Am Woman”—that she is “wise…strong…invincible…I am woman, hear me roar.” But on the other hand, she purred while campaigning in Kentucky that, “…especially in places like coal country and inner cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out," she would abdicate, delegate, or outsource economic and job development to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who last held office 15 years ago, in a very different economy.
She added that, "I've told my husband he's got to come out of retirement and be in charge of this because you know he’s got more ideas a minute than anybody I know."
For those who argue that it is very modern of Hillary Clinton to offer a “2-for-1 Clinton presidency,” there is the counterargument that she has rejected many of her husband’s economic and job creation policies when he was in office.
Bill Clinton governed as a pro-free trade president. He bucked many in his own party by supporting controversial deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, a bill granting permanent normal trade relations to China, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
But these days, Hillary Clinton disavows free trade, as she kowtows to labor unions by opposing the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (which she supported as secretary of state). Even President Obama champions TPP. Indeed, looking at all the flipping and flopping on free trade that Hillary Clinton has done as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, The Washington Post came up with this headline: “Hillary Clinton’s position on free trade? It’s (very) complicated.”
Actually, it’s not complicated. Hillary Clinton’s only consistency is to pander to whatever constituencies serve her ambition and power drive at the time. This time around, though, it is not only unconvincing, it is unbelievable.
If Hillary Clinton is to give Bill Clinton the portfolio on economic and job development, either he must disown the very same free trade policies he boasted led to economic prosperity during his term in office or she is (typically) creating a false and deceiving equivalency. She expects voters to believe that Bill Clinton can bring back the “good times” of the 1990’s even while she opposes what he did to bring about those good times.
For example, as president, Bill Clinton declared in his 1996 State of the Union address that “the era of big government is over.” That same year, he signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, based on his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.”
Yet this year, Hillary Clinton is racing to rival Bernie Sanders’ taxpayer-funded “free-stuff government handouts.” She admitted to The New York Daily News that to pay for her proposed massive expansion of big government programs, she would impose $1 trillion in tax increases on the American people over the next ten years.
Prodded by Republicans to spur economic growth and encourage investment in businesses, President Bill Clinton slashed the highest capital gains tax rate to 20 percent from 28 percent. Prodded to match the anti-capitalism of left wing “Sandersistas,” Hillary Clinton wants the top capital gains tax rate increased to 43.4 percent from 23.8 percent.
As president, Bill Clinton eventually acquiesced to Republican pressures to balance the budget. But, as economist Richard Rahn pointed out, “During her Senate career, Mrs. Clinton sponsored or co-sponsored more than 800 bills to increase spending (a total of more than $900 billion), and only 12 bills to decrease spending (for a total of only about $1 billion). Her net spending sponsorship was also considerably higher than the average Democratic senator.”
If Hillary Clinton’s attempt to ride her husband’s aging coattails is her way of playing the “woman card,” that card is a joker because as her record shows, when Hillary Clinton also tries to play the “Bill card,” it is a counterfeit Bill.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.