Hillary Was Against TPP Trade Agreement Before She Was (Just Now) Against It

ted-rall-aaron-la-timesSkewed News “Looking forward, it seems far better to co-opt the spirit of Bernie’s message than to attack him,” David Axelrod, Obama’s old political strategist, counseled Hillary Clinton recently. “Better to be a champion for fairness and opportunity, and tackle the issue of how to raise wages in a country where they have effectively flatlined for decades, than to kneecap a guy who is relatively popular and is running a positive campaign.”

            Looks like Huma read that, passed it along, and got it signed off upon.

Deep into a presidential campaign in which Bernie Sanders is, if not exactly eating her lunch, forcing her to go hungry (in Iowa and New Hampshire, for starters), Hillary Clinton has announced that she’s opposing President Obama’s proposed “free trade” deal between the United States and Pacific Rim nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,” she told PBS’ NewsHour.

For those who were paying attention — the 0.2% of Americans who are media geeks and don’t suffer our major national political affliction, short-term memory loss — she was for the TPP before she was against it.

Really, really, REALLY for it.

“This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field,” she said in Australia in 2012.

CNN’s Jake Tapper has found 45 instances of Hillary pushing hard for the TPP. (There are probably more, but the Internet only has so much room.)

Like, in November 2012, she said that “we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.” Go read the other 44. You’ll thank me later if you suffer from insomnia.

Since she left her job as secretary of state in 2013 in preparation for her latest run for president, however, she’s refrained from commenting about TPP.

So what, if anything, has Hillary “learned” about the TPP since she was, you know, for it? Nothing. The deal points haven’t changed.

Like so many things Hillary, including her second run to become the second Clinton in her family to occupy the Oval Office, this is a here-we-go-again moment. As then-Senator Barack Obama pointed out during a 2008 primary debate, “The fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she was running for president.”

What she has “learned,” besides the fact that she’s running for president again, is that the vast majority of American voters, and especially Democrats who vote in primaries, disapprove of free trade arrangements like NAFTA and the TPP because they destroy good-paying American manufacturing and other jobs, and export them overseas.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus responded to Clinton’s announcement that “Clinton’s painful waffling on TPP has been a case study in political expediency and is precisely why an overwhelming majority of Americans don’t trust her.”

In 1980, Jimmy Carter ran to the right against insurgent conservative Republican Ronald Reagan. After he lost, analysts said that, given a choice between a fake Republican and a real one, voters will vote for the genuine article every time. This year, we’ll learn if the same dictum applies to real progressive Democrats like Sanders, who have consistently opposed free trade deals despised by average workers, and fake liberals-come-lately like Clinton.

For Skewed News, I’m Ted Rall.

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