By Robert A. Vella
Like an escaped prisoner struggling for freedom, Hillary Clinton is being slowed-down by a heavy ball-and-chain. No matter how far she runs, no matter what she says or does, President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal is dogging the Democratic Party presidential nominee like a bloodhound.
This issue isn’t going away anytime soon, either before the November election or long after it. Powerful transnational corporations and their neoliberal supporters in politics are determined to subordinate the democratically-enacted laws of the world’s sovereign nations under a global corporatist authority. To them, setbacks such as the recent U.K. Brexit vote and the rhetorical anti-TPP positions of both major U.S. presidential candidates are just small bumps in the road. They know they’ll get to their destination eventually. They have the money and the power, and that’s all they need. The aging body of democracy is stumbling on its last legs.
From Campaign for America’s Future – Don’t Be Fooled. TPP Is Still Very Much Alive. Help Kill It For Good:
There are lots of stories in the media claiming that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead for now.
And why wouldn’t TPP be dead? Both presidential candidates say they are opposed to TPP. Various Congressional leaders have said that it is unlikely to come up. Nancy Pelosi has spoken out against it. Harry Reid says he opposes it. All labor and environmental organizations along with most consumer, health, human rights and other progressive-aligned groups oppose TPP. Six Republican members of Congress who voted for the “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) have sent a letter opposing TPP. Even the Tea Party opposes TPP, calling it “Obamatrade.” Under these circumstances, the very idea that it could come up for a vote at all, never mind that it might even pass, is an insult to democracy.
But here’s the thing: Wall Street wants TPP and the giant multinational corporations want TPP. And what Wall Street and giant multinational corporations want from Congress, Wall Street and giant multinational corporations usually get from Congress. It’s not like insulting democracy is a big no-no to that crowd. So did you really think TPP would just go away?
Does This Sound Like TPP Is Dead?
Monday, The Hill, President Obama optimistic Congress will pass TPP this year, (emphasis added, for emphasis)
President Obama said Monday that he remains optimistic Congress will pass an expansive Pacific Rim trade agreement before he leaves office amid anti-trade election year rhetoric from Democrats and Republicans.
… On Friday, deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters that the president is “acutely aware of the politics around this.”
“But that’s not going to stop him from getting this done,” Schultz said.
Schultz said that the president “absolutely believes this deal should pass this year.”
Monday, Washington Post, With time running out, Obama to make final push on Asia trade deal that Clinton opposes, (emphasis added, for emphasis)
Administration officials said Obama intends to reassure Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong during a White House meeting that Congress will ratify the TPP before the president leaves office in January.
… The White House is eyeing what is expected to be a brief lame-duck session of Congress after the Nov. 8 elections as the final window…
In yesterday’s edition of Bloomberg Politics‘ With All Due Respect show (video link), two back-to-back segments illustrated the bizarre dichotomy between campaign rhetoric against free trade and insiders’ quiet confidence that such deals can’t be stopped. At the 31 minute mark in the show, Clinton campaign economic adviser Gene Sperling reiterated Hillary’s insistence that she would not support TPP in its current form, that she would only support free trade agreements which wouldn’t devastate the American middle class as has been evidenced in the past, and that she wanted to put TPP in her “rear-view mirror.” Then, at the 37 minute mark, Third Way senior vice president Matt Bennett – former deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton – admitted that what candidates say on the campaign trail has little to do with how they’ll govern once in office. When pressed by one of the hosts (Mark Halperin, John Heilemann) who asked if Hillary is “lying” about the TPP, Bennett said that no, she isn’t lying, but that as an “internationalist” she will nevertheless support free trade.
Obviously, this image of Hillary’s untrustworthiness is continuing to be a problem. Fortunately for her, she is running against a candidate – Donald Trump – whose public statements are so erratic that no one can trust him on free trade or any other issue. The man is mentally disturbed, in my opinion.
So America, grin and bear it. This is your choice in perhaps the most important election in modern U.S. history. Good luck, I think you’re going to need it.