Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

How much does Hillary Clinton want to be president? Enough to go the full Warren?

The best argument that Hillary Clinton won't run for president in 2016 is that she will wake up one day and realize what a caricature she would have to become in order to win the nomination from today's Democratic Party.

Actually, make that: what a caricature she is becoming:

Goldman Sachs, KKR, Fidelity and others might want some of their money back. They sure as heck created at least two jobs for once-and-future politicians on the speech-giving circuit.

The usual Clinton defenders immediately screamed "out of context!" And it's true that this thought, such as it was, came in between a line about raising the minimum wage and a line about tax cuts for "the top and for companies that ship jobs overseas." So, along with this line about jobs being created by something other than corporations and businesses, we have Clinton:

1. Reminiscing about when she "voted to raise the minimum wage" as a senator in 2007, after which "(m)illions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure" -- but ignoring that these minimum-wage increases were concurrent with the economy going into the toilet. There weren't a whole lot more families earning more or feeling more secure circa 2008 or 2009 -- but there were a lot more people consigned to minimum-wage jobs !

2. Indulging the same kind of economic know-nothingism that we've suffered through here in Georgia, which requires one to ignore that the decline of American manufacturing continued apace during her husband's presidency even though he supposedly "brought arithmetic" to Washington.

3. Neglecting to mention that, even after adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage remained higher last year than in all but two years of Bill Clinton's presidency -- while the top marginal tax rate is just as high as it was during the Clinton years.

Why is Hillary resorting to shifting not only herself but her husband's presidential record to the left? I think it's because, to use a football analogy, she is that wide receiver running across the middle of the field who drops the ball after hearing footsteps ... the footsteps of Elizabeth Warren.

Warren, the professor turned first-term U.S. senator, epitomizes the hard-left fantasy of what a Democrat ought to be. She's a career academic who views the real world through ivory-tinted glasses and preaches a highly ideological populism. If you want to see more U.S. companies trying to move their headquarters (and more) outside the United States, more capital sidelined on foreign shores instead of being injected into the American economy, more small businesses unable to get the credit they need while low-income home buyers get more than they can afford, and more of everything Barack Obama promised but couldn't always deliver, then you want Elizabeth Warren to be the next president.

Faced with this prospect, Hillary Clinton could either try to nudge her party back toward the center it has steadily abandoned since her husband was elected. Or she could decide that one lesson of her 2008 primary loss to a more left-wing opponent was: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Her statement that corporations and businesses don't create jobs is a pretty clear sign she knows she'll need to take the latter route to win.

If she goes that way, Warren might decide not to run. But then Hillary would be the one who has to explain why her party's economic philosophy sounds more and more like something a comedian would say .

She would also be the one who has to explain that the economy is driven by middle-class workers whose paychecks come from ... something other than corporations and businesses. And that they get these paychecks to make or sell products that come from ... something other than corporations and businesses. And how the first step in economic growth comes from people buying something, not from people taking risks and forming corporations and businesses to offer that something in the first place.

Maybe she wants to be president that badly. We should find out soon enough.

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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.