Politics drives Hillary to break with Obama on trade

Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Congratulations, Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton is officially “feeling the Bern”. (And yes, the prospect of a Joe Biden candidacy played a role as well.)

That’s the obvious conclusion to be drawn from Clinton’s announcement Wednesday that she would oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty negotiated by the Obama administration since taking office in 2009. It’s a decision driven largely by the politics of getting the Democratic nomination, where union support is critical, rather than by policy. And it suggests that Clinton knows she has a fight on her hands.

It also has implications for the general election, allowing Clinton to campaign on a more populist theme against a Republican nominee who is almost certain to support the treaty. (The exception would be Donald Trump, who opposes the deal because, well, those who negotiated it are very stupid people — total losers really — who didn’t write “The Art of the Deal.”)

The truth is that nothing in Clinton’s pro-business, pro-trade establishment background would lead you to expect such a position. Much of the agreement was negotiated during her tenure as secretary of State, a period of time in which she was strongly and publicly supportive of the pact, calling it the “gold standard” of trade treaties at a point when it was less friendly to liberal causes than it is today. So when Reince Priebus calls yesterday’s announcement “a case study in political expediency,” I think that’s right, unfortunately.

My own inclination is to back the treaty until given good reason otherwise, which will mean taking a closer look once its details are released and listening to the subsequent debate.  That’s in part because I have a hard time imagining the Obama administration participating in a sellout to multinational corporations, as harsher critics of TPP describe the pact, and in part because the best approach to globalization is to maximize its benefits while acknowledging and adjusting to its consequences, including income inequality. It’s that second half of the equation in which we’ve failed as a government and culture.

And as Clinton knows better than most, geopolitics also plays a role. Bringing 11 nations in East Asia into closer trade relations with the United States is important as a counter to a resurgent China, and rejection of the treaty in Congress after years of negotiation would undermine us internationally is much the same way, but in a different way, as rejection of the nuclear deal with Iran.

So does Clinton’s opposition doom the TPP’s chance for passage in Congress, where at least some Democratic support will be necessary to get it through the House? I doubt it. If the votes aren’t there next spring, when the measure is scheduled to come up, it would probably be delayed through the presidential campaign and then voted upon after the election, when policy rather than political considerations can take precedence.

And that too is probably part of Clinton’s calculation.

Reader Comments 0

522 comments
freezboy
freezboy

the culture part of why we fail is all ego driven....my success at some else's expense....there has to be winners and losers...and if I win I am more important....this is the end game for american style capitalism....if it isn't already upon us...

freezboy
freezboy

."It’s that second half of the equation in which we’ve failed as a government and culture."....this will be what has to change for it to be any more special than what we already have with others in the world....massive amounts of people need to be raised up

lvg
lvg

Hillary not very pleased with Obama sicking the FBI on her. Wonder who Obama will campaign for if Biden enters the race?

juvenal
juvenal

what's next-getting rid of Qdaffi was stupid? after she refused to talk with him?

LeninTime
LeninTime

The other part of the Bookman column to spit out your coffee at: 

"And as Clinton knows better than most, geopolitics also plays a role."

***
Plays a role? You think? 

That's like saying the Nazis' Four Year Plan of 1936 had a geopolitical component to it.

It's ALL geopolitical. Not just part of it.

gotalife
gotalife

Make no mistake, if a gop President wins with another gop congress, they will unite to repeat the w disaster.


Don't fool yourselves.

gotalife
gotalife

Sander's and Clinton's proposals are great but still needs congress to vote for it.


I hope the free pass for congress is over.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@gotalife What proposals ? he only sure thing about Hillary and Bill is their position on funding their Foundation by whatever means necessary 

BabyCakesATL
BabyCakesATL

TeeHee..Chris Matthews just described the GOP House fiasco as "a toilet overflowing onto the carnival lawn"..

Penses
Penses

@BabyCakesATL 

Well, judging from the clownish remarks he has made over the years on "Hardball", I guess he should know about carnivals and overflowing toilets. 

BabyCakesATL
BabyCakesATL

@Penses  One needs to look no further than Faux News for a daily infusion of clownish remarks. 

lvg
lvg

@BabyCakesATL He left out the part about the GOP clowns trying to stop up the toilet with more toilet paper to keep it from overflowing more.

Kamchak
Kamchak

I gotta think Walt Jones knew a little sumpin' sumpin' when he penned that letter day before yesterday.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I'm really trying to finish Ezra's world-class pearl-clutching re: Hils and the TPP, but it's hard not to laugh at stuff like, oh...


http://www.vox.com/2015/10/8/9477965/hillary-clinton-tpp

 the argument here isn't that there aren't reasons to oppose the TPP, but rather that knowing Clinton's record, her advisers, and her past comments about the deal, it's hard to believe Clinton really opposes the TPP deal.


oh LAWDY be, what is in that lady's lil' heart? Ah simply must know!

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Doggone_GA @Visual_Cortex

well, now having actually finished Erza's couch-faint, I'll just say "you hire smart people to run a pretty-looking website and you write some snappy looking headlines. Might want to stick to what you do best, bud, and leave the political soap operatics to the likes of Maureen Dowd."

Normd
Normd

I hear they are starting a "Please don't go, Boehner" caucus...lol

Penses
Penses

@Eye wonder 

"You need more than just new material JR. A lobotomy would probably be a good place to start."

Funny you should say such a thing as I was, in relation to the gun debates, thinking about parenting. Why can't everyone have a loving husband and father like good ole Joe Kennedy?

Penses
Penses

@Nick_Danger

Kennedy, like his sons, was an adulterous, womanizing pig who also had a lobotomy performed on his daughter. There's no "insult" in saying that, any more than saying Pol Pot was a psychotic mass murderer. If you don't like hearing truthful things, ask Jay where he his sand is. ;-) 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Penses @Nick_Danger

There's no "insult" in saying that, any more than saying Pol Pot was a psychotic mass murderer

What's awesome about Penses is his firm sense of proportionality.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@Penses @Eye wonder "Funny you should say such a thing as I was, in relation to the gun debates, thinking about parenting."  For the sake of the children, please choose something else to do.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

Republicans once again circled their wagons and started shooting inward.  They've managed to take out Boehner and McCarthy.  Who's next for that merry band of sharpshooters.

KUTGF
KUTGF

LOL.... looks like some Republicans are already suggesting that the next Speaker could be elected with help from the Democrats rather that the Failure Caucus.   

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@KUTGF If true, that's hilarious...since Boehner resigned partly because he did not want to be re-elected with the help of the Democrats

honested
honested

@KUTGF 

EXACTLY!

Let's face it, there must be SOME republiklans that believe in their Oath of Office!

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

One more shot, then back to work.

McCarthy's withdrawal should be a sign to many of you that you don't know squat about what is happening with Republicans.

I posted previously the Conservatives may not have enough votes to elect one of their own speaker, but they have enough to keep anyone out.  The McCarthy out is evidence of Conservative power.  

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

Bs. They can't even govern their own party. And, the last time the gop had congress and the Oval Office the country went to crap.

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb 

Outside of the tiny minority in the misnamed 'Freedom Caucus', who cares?

It's time for the last sane republilkans to realize it is up to them to save America from the fools in the freedom caucus.

All they have to do is drop the 'Hastert Rule' and it's game over for the wrong wing.

fedup52
fedup52

@JohnnyReb Some crystal ball have there.  May be you can sell that to DOD.  LOL

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@JohnnyReb ah, yes, the "real conservative' (tm) meme . . . too bad y'all can't agree on what the definition is . . .

gotalife
gotalife

The Clinton ecomony was great for the middle class that grew upwards not down.


That is called a fact.