When Hillary Clinton was asked about her contradictory positions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, she said, "I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn't meet my standards. My standards for more new, good jobs for Americans, for raising wages for Americans.”
She didn’t, of course, say that she “hoped it would be the gold standard,” she said that it “sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field,” which sort of evokes a paraphrase of an old saying, “hope in one hand and lie in the other and see which one fills up first.” The original saying does not use dishonesty as an alternative to hoping, it uses the product of the south end of a northbound dog, but…
Be that as it may, people do change their mind, as Clinton has admitted she has done on other issues, but she has never said why she has done so. I have no problem with a change of mind, provided that the person offers an explanation of why the change occurred.
If something changed in the content of the TPP or if Mrs. Clinton learned something about it which she did not previously know, then it is perfectly reasonable for her to oppose it now while having previously supported it, but to remain credible she needs to provide us with an explanation of what changed in the treaty or what she learned that she did not previously know.
She has not even claimed that the content of the TPP has changed since she was supporting it as Secretary of State. She has said that “with what I have learned about it I am not in favor of it,” but she has not explained what it is that she has learned, and has offered no explanation why she will not tell us specifically what she has learned.
In the absence of any other explanation for her change of position, why should we not assume that she has merely shifted with the political breeze, saying whatever she thinks will prevail in terms of primary election votes?
“With what I have learned” is simply nowhere close to a sufficient explanation. Mrs. Clinton is remiss in expecting us to accept that insufficient answer; the media is grossly remiss in not demanding a more forthcoming response from her; and voters are remiss in continuing to support her campaign without a better explanation.
But this is the nature of our political discourse today; empty soundbites devoid of actual meaning or content, which the media and public accept as sufficient.