The Strongest Deal Possible?
“The president should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak [Trans-Pacific Partnership] agreement would have on our workers to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible. And if we don’t get it, there should be no deal.
— Hillary Clinton, speaking today in Des Moines, Iowa
I have to confess that I’ve been somewhat sympathetic to Clinton in her decision, until today, to avoid speaking about the TPP, mainly because she plays no role in the decisionmaking process. Unlike Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Clinton isn’t a member of Congress. And she wasn’t likely to persuade any Democratic members of Congress one way or another simply by weighing in publicly on it. And by the time the new president is sworn in in January 2017, Congress will have long earlier decided the issue.
Had she taken a public stand against it before last week’s vote, it would have been simply a gratuitously political act.
Now that that vote is over, it’s fine for her to discuss it. But not tautologically. Obama says the current deal is the strongest deal possible. That is, he says that the counterparties would not agree to any of the changes and additions that the pact’s US critics (most prominently Warren, Sanders and Joseph Stiglitz) say are necessary to make the agreement a benefit rather than a detriment to the American workforce and others who would be effected (by the patent provisions that would pertain to pharmaceuticals, for example).
What does she mean when she says that Obama should listen to and work with his allies in Congress who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible? And that if we don’t get it, there should be no deal? Does she mean that unless the pact’s terms are what Pelosi and the other congressional critics of it say is necessary, there should be no pact?
Presumably so. The other alternative is that she means that Congress should approve the fast-track process once they’re convinced that the terms negotiated are the best possible ones that the other parties will accept, but she negates that possibility when she says, “And if we don’t get it, there should be no deal.” But then, why didn’t she just say it, outright?
She’s so consumed by her strategy of never saying anything actually specific about anything that her statements come off as some combination of a Rubik’s Cube and a Rorschach test for the listener. I wish she’d start speaking in straightforward sentences and paragraphs—sentences and paragraphs that lead somewhere other than a cul-de-sac.
I disagree with you on whether she should have said anything prior to the vote. She’s in an election and we are trying to asses what she would do if elected. The TPP was a test and she failed it in her usual way. She waited to see how the wind blew.
Now, if she had no competition who was very clear as to what they would do and why they would do it thus not waiting for the wind to blow but instead realizing that the position in contest can actually make the wind blow….
And, it still might past muster if not for this noted at C & L today:
In a separate interview, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook rejected the suggestion that his boss has been on the sidelines of the trade issue. […]
Mook argued that it’s not a problem that Clinton hasn’t taken a stance since the administration hasn’t made the text of the TPP deal public, and called the current dispute between Congress and the administration “about procedures and parliamentary this and that.”
My comment there: If that is truly how Clinton feels, then I think we have our answer. It’s the corporatist version of the dog whistle. Whistling to the money lords. Such an answer is what one would expect from a DLC/New Dem who is trying to convince the citizens she is for them.
It should have been a non-acceptable answer to the host.
Still not getting that people are more awake today than when she ran last time. 2 Dem presidents presenting themselves as progressive, populist, liberal and yet no real fight from them for the 99%. There is 1/5 years to go.
She’s pedaling truthiness. Does she really think the people are not going to be fully awake by 11/16?
Well, if Clinton doesn’t understand that a key problem was precisely that this vote on fast-track was taking place before the text of the deal was made available to Congress, and if she really thinks the issue of fact-track approval is unimportant—”about procedures and parliamentary this and that”—then she’s seriously stupid. That’s a different issue than the ones I was talking about.
If I may be just the slightest bit hyperbolic, why are we talking about the best deal possible in the “trade” deal at all? TPP is so much more an investment protection and intellectual property rights protection agreement (thanks for mentioning the latter) that is just about right to call the trade aspects window dressing. I will work like crazy for her if she is the nominee, but this speech makes me want to hold my nose even worse, and seriously question whether she’s the right nominee.
well, if congress is going to fast track something it hasn’t read
then clinton is in good company.
the trade deal is not about trade. it is about giving away the sovereignty of the united states to the international corporations.
Madame secretary is as unlikely to articulate a policy yielding “the best, strongest deal possible” (for workers) as she is to criticize her husband’s policy re: NAFTA.
The anti-democratic aspect of that deal was just a prototype for the “trade deals” yet to come. If she was bothered by the implications of the TPP re: US sovereign regulatory rights her tenure as Secretary of State should have provided an ample bully pulpit, no? (The US started negotiating to enter the agreement in Feb 2008).
She is running to complete her husband’s 3rd term. If you imagine he objects to anything about the TPP you’re not seeing the Bill Clinton I know (and don’t trust).
Well no matter how much lipstick you put on Hillary she is a corporate centrist–always has been and always will. She is still vastly better than anything the GOP has to offer and nobody challenging her from the left can beat whatever GOP clown ultimately emerges–she may not either but she will have a good chance if some part of the left will hold their noses and vote for her..
We have a year and a half to go. The people have been getting wiser since We’re the 99 movement. The polls clearly show what the people want and it I what Sanders is talking.
That being the case, the only way the repubs can win is if they move to the left of where they are to actually present a “slightly right of center” position. They don’t have it in them to do that. Their perception of where the nation’s at is so skewed and they are so tied to their ideology that to move even a bit left (as in still right) would mean a mental break down. They have to defend their position to their death.
Take a look at the chart at this page from 2014: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/29/1302820/-Someone-finally-polled-the-1-And-it-s-not-pretty
The only confounding voting issue is the current voter districts as that is what is messing up what this nation needs to do: change congress.
I wish I shared your optimism Daniel, but all of the polls show more people self identify as conservative as liberal (even if liberal self identification is at a high water mark in this century)and except for Obama, non conservative voters can not be troubled to vote without massive efforts. Conservatives on the other hand turn out in droves for any election including dog catcher. That means it is up to the independents and while they may be skewing Democratic at the moment, a good many of them will simply not vote for a self described socialist no matter how much sense his policies would make to them. Further I do not see Sanders having the appeal that Hillary will have among women of all but the most conservative stripe. It would not surprise me a bit that if it is a Hillary v Jeb contest that a lot of better educated Republican women will tell their husbands they are voting for Jeb but in the sanctity of the voting booth will vote for Hillary. Bernie not so much.
I read a week or two ago that Hillary Clinton actually voiced serious doubts about the wisdom of NAFTA when it was under debate within the Clinton Administration, Amateur Socialist. And there’s no way to know what positions she took on various parts of the TPP as Sec’y of State.
One thing I strongly disagree with that many liberal Dems say about Clinton is that she’s running to give her husband a third term. I think she’s running because she wants to be the first woman president. And I don’t think she feels wedded to any particular policy of her husband’s. She’s made a big effort to make that clear, and I believe her. The criticism of her that I believe is spot-on is that she mainly supports policy positions only after it becomes clear that that’s the way the wind is blowing. The exceptions are policy positions on the standard women’s issues.
My post, like two or three earlier ones in recent weeks and months, was intended mainly to highlight (yet again) Clinton’s strange and harmful tendency to make statements using a cliché-like phrase or analogy or comparison that actually is either wrong or misleading or irrelevant or incoherent or patently silly.
“….highlight (yet again) Clinton’s strange and harmful tendency to make statements using a cliché-like phrase or analogy or comparison that actually is either wrong or misleading or irrelevant or incoherent or patently silly.”
Maybe Hillary has noticed how well that tactic has been working for the Republicans. They’re in control of both houses of Congress and the leadership, McConnell, Boehner, Ryan, etc. can’t seem to utter a word in public that is based on the realities of any issue.
“. I think she’s running because she wants to be the first woman president. And I don’t think she feels wedded to any particular policy of her husband’s
I agree with this. If there is any policy she is wedded to any degree it is because it is the party line in general which is believed to be based on the current wind direction and strength. Unfortunately, the weather report the party most relies on is the ITB broad cast, “inside the beltway”.
Jack, I think that what the Repubs do is different than what Clinton does. The Repubs make statements that sound coherent as statements when isolated from the actual facts. E.g., the John Barrasso quote in the last paragraph of this Politico article today (h/t, Greg Sargent): http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/gop-rife-with-tensions-over-obamacare-scotus-response-119040.html.
Clinton, by contrast, makes statements that even just facially have a coherency problem.
Warning, I have been a registered Independent for decades.
First, we are about 7 months from the beginning of primary voting. Candidates are still entering the race and Bernie Sanders is not much of a threat for now. It is too early to expect well thought out policy positions. No need to be hamstrung by positions which were never required anyway. Appealing for cooperation within the party is safe. Currently this election is a social affair, first they introduce themselves and they can drag that out as long as they want. Then at some point they will have to begin to differentiate themselves from other viable candidates.
Second, this trade treaty is a minefield for her. She is not ready to renounce TPP, since that would likely offend at least some corporate officers and stockholders. (Campaign contributors) Speaking out for fast tracking TPP would offend the unions. (Campaign contributors) Like it or not the Clinton name is tied to NAFTA and arguing over trade treaties takes up time and oxygen. President Clinton said “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.”
Third, Hillary Clinton was an active young Republican in 1964, became a Democrat in 1968, and was married in 1975 to Bill Clinton, a southerner. From 1976 she saw conservative southern Democratic politics up close and personal. I believe that she is liberal but she understands how to work within practical limitations.
She will be very tough to beat in the primaries. If Bernie Sanders continues to draw crowds and media coverage then he might force her to the left. (More liberal) If she moves too far left then she would be more vulnerable in the general election. I expect her to resist moving to the left and to handle Bernie Sanders with kid gloves.
Bernie Sanders is almost certainly going to lose in the primary elections. Which raises an interesting question. If Bernie Sanders continues to draw crowds and media coverage in the primaries, would he run in the general election as an Independent? That would split the liberal vote and open the door for a Republican President.
Hillary Clinton is the likely winner of the primaries, so she has to keep an eye on all the balls in the air.
We are very very early in this campaign.
“Which raises an interesting question. If Bernie Sanders continues to draw crowds and media coverage in the primaries, would he run in the general election as an Independent?”
I heard an interview and he said if he looses the primary he will work to get the dem candidate elected. He specifically stated he is not running to be a spoiler.
The very last thing that Bernie Sanders would want to do is play the role of Ralph Nader. You can bet the ranch that Sanders will be campaigning for the Dem nominee, not trying to help the Republican beat her.
Beverly Mann wrote “You can bet the ranch that Sanders will be campaigning for the Dem nominee, not trying to help the Republican beat her.”
I agree that continuing his candidacy as an Independent in the general election seems unlikely. Primarily because I don’t see how he gets funding.
But I wouldn’t bet the ranch on any politician.
Perhaps she doesn’t consider it a deal if Obama’s natural allies, now in opposition, are not satisfied with it.