Whenever politicians categorically deny something, you should be suspicious. Instead, they like to use “weasel words” that will allow them to say they had to change directions. It’s dangerous to be unequivocal. Remember when GHW Bush said, “Read my lips: No—new—taxes!” Then, of course, reality set in, and he had to find a way to cover expenses. And he was doomed.
In this case, it’s about Hillary Clinton’s almost Shermanesque statement on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), according to Breitbart.
Hillary Clinton is reassuring supporters in Warren, Michigan that her anti-trade position on Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership is not simply political positioning. “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president,” she said.
Really? CNN reports that Hillary praised TPP 45 times, before Bernie Sanders started getting a lot of attention for being against it.
And her confidant, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, in an interview with Politico, gave her a headache during the convention, saying she’ll change her mind.
“I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules — but Hillary understands this,” he said in an interview after his speech on the main stage at the Democratic National Convention. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy.”
Pressed on whether Clinton would turn around and support the trade deal she opposed during the heat of the primary fight against Bernie Sanders, McAuliffe said: “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”
To be fair, the TPP is designed to gang together 11 Pacific countries to try to contain and compete with China—which is not part of the partnership. But the point is, doing what you say you’ll do. Hillary denied McAuliffe’s comments. And now, she has to deal with President Obama’s new offensive.
In a surprising move, considering that he’s been campaigning for Hillary, Obama is sending TPP to Congress.
Friday’s notification is the clearest signal yet that the White House is serious about getting Obama’s legacy trade deal — the biggest in U.S. history — passed by the end of the year, as he has vowed to do despite the misgivings of Republican leaders and the outright opposition of a majority of Democrats in Congress.
The thing is, “free trade” is a Republican issue. Even in Bill Clinton’s term, it was Republicans who passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The current Republican Congress could pass any trade agreement it wants, with a minimal number of Democrats. And note that House Speaker Paul Ryan has been a champion of trade. Just last week, he appeared before a donor meeting and spoke on it, to standing ovation, according to Brietbart.
House Speaker Paul Ryan received a standing ovation from wealthy donors after denouncing the views of Republican voters, who are skeptical of so-called “free trade” deals. . .
Ryan reportedly assured donors that he will work to “win some of these fights” and advance their agenda on trade — presumably meaning that Ryan plans to push through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, supported by GOP donors. . .
In 2015, Ryan acted as President Obama’s “partner” in his effort to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In a 2015 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Ryan described the TPP as a “historic” agreement, which “would mean greater access to a billion customers for American manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers.”
Meanwhile, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has also been for free trade. The only reason he has balked is the popular mood—and his unwillingness to give Obama any victory of any kind, as he suggested to Politico.
“The biggest problem right now is the political environment to pass a trade bill is worse than any time I’ve been in the Senate because we’re right in the middle of this presidential election year, [and] the candidates are all against what the president has negotiated,” the Kentucky Republican said in an interview with Agri-Pulse’s Open Mic. . .
McConnell said. . .he couldn’t make any guarantees about a Senate vote on the trade deal in the lame-duck session, as many supporters are hoping for. It’s understandable that President Barack Obama would want the deal to pass while he’s still in office, “but that’s just a matter of bragging rights,” he added.
The Washington Times ran an article saying Hillary is killing TPP, but is she?
Hillary Clinton vowed Thursday to kill the Pacific trade deal that she helped push just a few years ago as President Obama’s top diplomat, hoping to win over wavering liberals and steal some of the anti-trade thunder from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Obama wants TPP. Ryan wants TPP. McConnell wants TPP. Trump hates TPP. Hillary says she opposes it. But opposing is not the same as “killing.” As noted, Establishment Republicans are pro-free trade. They know if Trump wins, global trade will suffer. And even though McConnell would love to keep Obama from being able to take credit for TPP, he knows that Hillary has tied her own hands on the subject.
The only way TPP can pass is with support from Obama, Ryan, and McConnell in the “lame duck” session between the November election and Inaugural Day in January. And Hillary can continue to say—truthfully—“I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.” It’ll be passed without her.