If there’s a problem with running only a single candidate for your party’s nomination, it’s that they’re forced to be all things to all people. Hillary Clinton must reach out to moderate Democrats, independents, and the extreme left in one tight campaign. And already, that strategy is showing signs of fray around the edges. She is being forced to appease the left wing with an echo of the old Occupy Wall Street propaganda that landed with a thud several years ago.
Inconceivable, Clinton wrote in an email to her supporters, that American families are still struggling “when the average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes.” According to several analysts, such a populist sentiment comes as a surprise from the Clinton campaign. It appears geared towards liberals who want desperately to pull Senator Elizabeth Warren into the race against her will.
Of course, addressing income inequality is nothing new for the Democratic Party. President Obama has mentioned it frequently as both a candidate and as an elected leader, though he seems as ill-prepared to do anything about it as the rest of the left. In that way, he comes across like the Occupy movement itself – the message of which seemed to be…”well this sucks.” Maybe it does, but it’s not clear what a potential or presiding president is going to do about it.
But of course it sounds good. You can’t go wrong taking shots at millionaires when your audience is stretching their paycheck to next Friday. It’s the liberal equivalent of the oft-heard Republican phrase – restore this country! It doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s a great applause line.
But if this signals a major component of her candidacy, well, Houston we have a problem. It has been said that Hillary will try to keep her husband out of the spotlight for the duration of her campaign, but she’s making an awful mistake if she abandons the only strong suit he had. As an economic centrist, willing to compromise, Clinton managed to keep both workers and CEOs happy. He gets far more credit for the booming 90s than he deserves, but it’s to his wife’s detriment that she copies Obama and not him on matters of financial concern. There are points of Obama’s presidency that are up for debate, but the economy is not one of them. He has been a disastrous force for private enterprise.
Putting the politics of it aside, though, it’s troubling to wonder what Democrats are actually willing to do about these “fat cat” CEOs and their outsized paychecks. What happens when it goes beyond rhetoric and into policy? Are we going to see Hillary propose passing a salary cap for private CEOs? The only thing scarier than that thought is the sober realization that a great many Americans might be willing to support such a thing.