It was a strange sight.
Standing behind a podium emblazoned with her city's logo, last week Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, a liberal Democrat, reversed her position on increasing the minimum wage and announced her decision to veto legislation that would raise it.
In a union questionnaire signed during her campaign for mayor, however, Pugh addressed the very initiative she would come to reject, writing at the time, "I am aware of the current initiative to raise the minimum wage in the City Council to $15 per hour and when it reaches my desk I will sign it."
It did, and she did not.
Just short of four months into her term as mayor, Pugh took to the podium on Mar. 24 to explain her unmistakable flip-flop in the same language routinely deployed by fiscal conservatives. Like watching Margaret Thatcher's words come from Meryl Streep's mouth, Pugh's meek, and uncomfortable, recitation of her opponents' talking points was transfixing.
Hiking the minimum wage, Pugh explained, would cause employers to flee the city and result in a loss of job opportunities available to Baltimoreans. Given the "economic impact" of the policy, she asserted it was "not appropriate at this time" to implement it.
Pugh carefully walked reporters through her journey to the decision, emphasizing that she "did some research" on the potential impacts and spoke with small business owners, ministers, nonprofits, and other stakeholders before coming to her surprising conclusion.
Confronted with the reality of implementing liberal policies pitched as quick fixes to complicated problems like poverty, Pugh discovered things just aren't that easy. This was a politician who held a view and changed her mind when she investigated the consequences. Shocking.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.