The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is getting brutal on the left, and Out Of Damns To Give Mode(tm) President Obama is standing firm on getting fast track authority for it against his critics in the party.
“When people say that this trade deal is bad for working families, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Obama said Thursday. “So I take that personally. My entire presidency has been about helping working families.”
“Some of these folks are friends of mine. I love them to death. But in the same way that when I was arguing for health care reform I asked people to look at the facts – somebody comes up with a slogan like ‘death panel,’ doesn’t mean it’s true. Look at the facts. The same thing is true on this. Look at the facts. Don’t just throw a bunch of stuff out there and see if it sticks,” the president added.
And on Friday, Obama made a surprise appearance on a conference call with reporters and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Obama took what seemed to be a shot at liberal lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and progressive groups for “send[ing] e-mails out to their fundraising base that they’re working to stop a secret deal.” There’s “nothing secret” about the treaty, he said.
But his critics aren’t backing down either, in fact they are truly pissed off over this.
“Belittling progressives who represent the overwhelming majority of Americans in opposition to a trade deal written by corporations in secret is a return to the worst days of this White House,” said Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green. “They are back to caving to corporate interests, forfeiting opportunities for greatness, and, in this case, costing millions of peoples their jobs and economic well being if successful.”
The most frustrating thing, as some liberals see it, is that the White House is spending huge political capital to pass a trade deal the base does not support, while not doing enough in their mind to support liberal priorities.
Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown called president’s priorities “maddening.” “I think if you could get my colleagues to be honest, on the Democratic side, with you – and I think you can mostly – they will say they’ve been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama’s been president,” Brown told reporters Thursday. “That’s just sad.”
Dan Cantor, national director of the progressive group Working Families, said Obama is “wrong” on trade. “If Democrats ever wonder why some people think both parties are in the pocket of Wall Street, secretive trade deals like this are one are a big reason why,” he said.
And David Segal, who runs the Internet freedom group Demand Progress, which also opposed TPP, turned Obama’s comments on their head. ”It’s clearly Obama who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to trade – just look at his disastrous Korea Free Trade Agreement, which he claimed would create 200,000-plus new American jobs but in just a few years has already cost us 60,000 and increased our trade deficit by billions,” Segal said.
All I see is a large, generally-round shaped arrangement of liberals opening fire towards the center and wondering why Republicans control the Senate, 31 Governor’s mansions, the largest House margin since the Gilded Age, and a bunch of state legislatures.
You know what, maybe this trade deal does suck, and maybe we learned nothing from NAFTA, and maybe it’s going to be terrible. But after six years of being in the White House and actually getting us out of the black hole the Republicans put us in, I’m kind of willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt. I mean if you’re a liberal, and you’re still having trust issues with him, to the point that you’re making comments about how “sad” he is, you might want to take a step back and ask yourself why you feel that way, and what that sounds like to other people.
Also if Sen. Brown’s comments are correct, that Democrats “will say they’ve been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama’s been president” what happened to “we don’t know what’s in this trade deal because it’s a secret!” and stuff?
Whatever, fight it out downstairs in the comments.
[UPDATE] Well you certainly are doing that. Quite a few of you are taking the notion that I would give Obama the benefit of the doubt very, very fucking personally, by the way.
I find that interesting.