So Much for Expecting Enlightenment on Trade Policy

Free Trade

I had harbored some hope that politicians would behave like adults when it came to addressing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. As noted in my previous post, the benefits of free trade are clear and overwhelming, the American public appears more ready to accept and support trade deals, and there is bipartisan cooperation between congressional Republicans and the Obama administration to ensure that the president will have fast-track authority with which to push through a trade deal.

Unfortunately, those congressional Democrats decided to stand in the way by “voting to hold up consideration of ‘fast track’ trade authority unless related measures are guaranteed to proceed alongside it”:

On one level, this is a stunning rebuke of the president by his own party on an initiative of substantial international and economic concern. And yet, one should have expected that in the 7th year of an unpopular administration, led by a president who demeans rather than persuades, a tough vote would end in defeat for Obama.

[. . .]

One should also keep in mind Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for how all of this has turned out. She did not lift a finger to help the White House. She may have a greater appreciation of the power of the left, but that may incline her to race to positions in the primary she finds hard to live down in the general election. Her decision to ditch the president also raises an interesting possibility: Will the White House stick by Clinton in the next 18 months, protecting her from further disclosures and scandals?  That remains to be seen.

Of course, I am sure that the White House will “stick by Clinton,” as winning the next presidential election remains important. However, as I indicated in my previous post on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, once upon a time, Clinton supported the deal. Now . . . well . . . she won’t tell us. A profile in courage, I tell you.

It is worth noting that some of the senators who voted against giving the president from their own party fast-track authority did so for the silliest of reasons:

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown threw a grenade into the ongoing war of words between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and President Barack Obama, a war that reached new heights with Tuesday’s dramatic setback of Obama’s trade agenda in the Senate.

Brown, one of the top Democratic leaders of the uprising against Obama’s trade push, criticized the president for what the senator saw as “disrespectful” comments toward Warren and suggested that Warren’s gender may have played a role.

When asked how Obama was being disrespectful of the Massachusetts Democrat, Brown replied: “I think by just calling her ‘another politician.’” He continued, “I’m not going to get into more details. I think referring to her as first name, when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps? I’ve said enough.”

Well, not enough to prove his case. But enough to show the rest of us that Sherrod Brown has no business being in the United States Senate.

(Photo Credit.)

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