January 6 2014
The Hillary Clinton rumor mill is hard at work today. Will she run in 2016? Will she be the first female president? I’ve written about it before for Ricochet, but here’s a little something more.
Let me be clear: I think it’s a wonderful thing that women of any political stripe can run for higher office. Earlier generations fought hard for women to have this opportunity and Hillary Clinton will serve as role model for many women with political aspirations and a thick skin.
Democrats frequently claim that electing more women is important because female lawmakers are more attuned to issues that matter to women and their families: health care, workplace discrimination, education. But here’s the problem: Clinton, like so many female Democrats, supports legislation that will actually hurt women.
One piece of legislation stands out in particular. In January 2009, Senator Clinton sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). This was likely more of a nod to feminist groups on the left than a serious effort on Clinton’s part (as similar bills pop up every couple of years); but it’s a perfect example of why Clinton’s gender would never be enough to get my vote.
Despite the bill’s title, the PFA would not have created equal pay. It simply would have expanded the definition of “wage discrimination,” made it easier to file class-action lawsuits, and opened businesses up to greater litigation and uncertainty—all of which would have been devastating to job creation. Ultimately, this bill would have hurt women by perpetuating the myth of the wage gap, making women far more costly to employ, and advancing the narrative that women are a victim class in need of special government protections.
While Democrats framed this in terms of "protecting" women, they overlooked the fact that women and their families benefit tremendously from a flexible work environment. For instance, some women may choose to accept a lower salary if it means they have the ability to work part-time, have flexible hours, or work from home. The PFA would have discouraged employers from making such options available. (And, no doubt, as Clinton told Marie Clare in an interview in 2012, she values those choices that so many women (and men) benefit from today.)
Certainly Democrats are focused—perhaps preoccupied—with sending women to Washington in a way the Right at least ought to consider. They seek out qualified women, ask them over and over again to run, and train them. And they’ve done a darn good job at it. But it goes without saying that, for me, having a woman in the White House is only really exciting if she favors reining in big government.