Clinton Friend, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Now Pretends Hillary Never Supported TPP

from the that's-just-wrong dept

The whole silliness around Hillary Clinton and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement just keeps getting sillier. She should admit what pretty much everyone already recognizes: she supports the deal. She could then explain why she supports it and perhaps the public could have an honest and open conversation about the nature of these agreements. As we’ve noted more than once, we tend to support free trade here at Techdirt, but the TPP agreement is barely about free trade. It’s mostly about investment and creating other regulatory/protectionist barriers. But Clinton’s constant flip flopping on the issue is silly. Back in 2012, she declared the TPP to be “the gold standard” in trade agreements. It was only last fall, after she started facing primary pressure from Bernie Sanders, who was against the agreement, that she flip flopped and said:

?As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,? Clinton said, later adding, ?I don?t believe it?s going to meet the high bar I have set.?

It got so ridiculous that Clinton deleted the section of her memoir where she talks about her support of the TPP. That’s just literally trying to rewrite history.

Meanwhile, pretty much everyone has assumed that after the election, she’d flip flop right back into supporting the TPP. Back in February, the head of the US Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, made it clear that he fully expected she’d flip back, and this week a US Chamber of Commerce employee who spoke at the Democratic Convention (officially as a member of “Republican Women for Hillary”) has also said she expects Hillary to flip back and support the agreement.

But, of course the bigger headlines came when the Clintons’ close family friend and advisor, current Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, admitted that he fully expected she’d support the TPP after the election. As we noted, this resulted in a bunch of other Clinton supporters to scream loudly about how this was crazy and Hillary was never going to support TPP. Apparently the message got back to McAuliffe, who when approached at a bar late at night by a Gawker reporter now claims not only that Hillary will never support the agreement, but that she never did in the past either.

She?s wrong. I support it. She doesn?t. She never supported it. I create jobs in Virginia, I always supported it. We?re best friends. She has never supported it.

Except, of course, she has supported it, quite clearly in the past. And almost certainly still is. I understand the political calculations here. Historically, Democrats (especially the progressive wing) have generally been against free trade. So these agreements (even when they’re actually good!) are usually a tough sell to Democratic voters. But this is a weird year. Because while these agreements have almost universally been supported by Republicans, this year Donald Trump suddenly hates them — not for all the legitimate reasons to hate them, but mainly because he doesn’t understand how international trade works.

But wouldn’t it be nice if Clinton could just come out and say what she really thought about the TPP and have an open conversation about it, rather than playing this “wink wink nod nod” game where basically everyone knows her true position, but she won’t say it?

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Comments on “Clinton Friend, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Now Pretends Hillary Never Supported TPP”

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Deimal (profile) says:

Its toxic

TPP is (imo rightfully so) an extremely toxic issue right now. Im pretty sure shes trying to convince bernie supporters (who are rabidly against it) she’ll block, while dancing back behind the scenes to CoC and certain businesses that shell still pass it post election.

Im not sure which should be believed or what her actual stance on it is.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Its toxic

I mistrust any change of stance that any candidate makes during an election campaign. They are rarely more than posturing.

So, in my opinion, the safest thing is to assume that Clinton’s real position now is exactly what it was before she started campaigning: she’s very much in favor of the terms of the TPP.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Its toxic

The amazing part is that anyone would believe any of her backpedaling enough to take the risk of voting for her against the opposition. People are so naive. Even if she is telling the truth, as unlikely as that is, election backpedaling should be regarded as false as a matter of common sense policy.

What amazes me is that this shows how undemocratic our nation really is. The TPP and expanded IP laws are not what the people want, the fact that politicians oppose it during elections evidences this, yet we still managed to have them push for laws that no one wants during non-election periods.

If, as the shills here would have us believe, IP and TPP critics are only a small vocal minority then surely politicians would have no problems supporting such measures during elections. A small vocal minority isn’t enough to sway an election, am I right? Unless these measures are being done against the will of a large majority …

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Between the two candidates

I’m pretty sure Clinton is the one that can most be bargained with. She may be pro-TPP but I bet with enough public pressure, her position can evolve.

And finally, finally, people are aware how bad an idea the TPP is.

But the previous president already signed it. It only needs to be ratified by legislature. I don’t know if she can unsign it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Between the two candidates

It’s always so easy for legislators to pass bad laws but removing those bad laws always seems so difficult.

What Clinton could do is put the same amount of effort to undo TPP as Obama did to pass it.

By not removing bad laws any group of politicians currently in place are supporting and hence should be presumed in favor of those bad laws.

Our current Congress, by not making the effort necessary to correct overreaching IP laws (ie: copy protection lengths and the one sided penalty structure) are supporting and hence should be presumed to be in favor of those bad laws.

Our international diplomats, by not doing what’s necessary to remove TPP, are actively supporting it and hence should be considered in favor of it. This includes Hilary Clinton once elected president.

There is no excuse for keeping existing bad laws on the books. Politicians are great at putting them there and keeping them there is just as bad an act as putting them there in the first place. The politicians responsible for maintaining bad laws are just as guilty as the ones responsible for putting them there in the first place. No excuses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Between the two candidates

The problem we have now is that we have way way way too many overreaching bad laws. Our laws criminalize and overcriminalize everything and are written by corporate interests.

I don’t want to vote for the politician that’s going to claim that they can’t do anything about existing bad laws. I want to vote for the politician that’s going to actively seek to remove every existing bad law that’s already in place. I want to vote for the politician that’s going to make every effort to do so. A politician that doesn’t do this is just as bad as the politicians responsible for enacting these bad laws in the first place. They’re useless and are allowing these bad laws to continue. The end result is the same, we’re (still) being subject to these bad laws, no different than with the politician responsible for enacting these bad laws to begin with.

If you aren’t actively against existing bad laws and aren’t basing your campaign on removing them you should lose your votes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Its toxic

In fact the majority of the people are so against the TPP that it may very well have cost Hillary her democratic nomination if she hadn’t flip-flopped.

The problem is that once she gets elected her ‘solution’ would be to ‘fix’ what’s wrong with the treaty or to introduce a similar treaty. She doesn’t get it (or, more likely, she dishonestly pretends not to get it). People aren’t in favor of a superficial ‘fix’. They’re not in favor of a superficially different treaty to take its place. They’re against the treaty altogether. They’re against corporate sovereignty, they’re against fast track, and they’re against expanding and extending IP laws past their already ridiculous corporate bought state. They’re against the secrecy behind the treaty with only corporate interests invited until the last minute when it’s too late to do much about it. They’re against corporations buying laws. But Hillary will pretend not to get it once elected instead opting to superficially ‘fix’ what’s wrong with the treaty so that she can then claim that she kept her promise to voters during the elections by fixing what voters were concerned about with the treaty when everyone knows that’s not true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Its toxic

What I meant is that it’s amazing that anyone would switch from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton as soon as she declared her opposition to the TPP or that Hillary would even think that people would be gullible enough to believe her. We as a nation don’t have the political maturity for it to have already been well known to politicians, a long long time ago, that this sort of flip flopping won’t be believed by the general public at all and so they shouldn’t even bother.

Anonymous Coward says:

“not for all the legitimate reasons to hate them, but mainly because he doesn’t understand how international trade works”

I honestly don’t think Trump knows how anything works from just simple business to anything in government. When he speaks he just sounds like a blathering idiot about even the most basic of things and when he says anything about real issues like trade or foreign affairs he’s just downright scary.

Hillary is by no means a genius either, she just goes whatever way her corporate overlords pay her to go, like with the TPP, but at least she has some knowledge of how things really work so usually she doesn’t sound like a complete idiot.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: When did the TPP go public?

According to the article she referred to it as ‘the gold standard’ in 2012, if memory serves the actual text was only made public last year, 2015, so either she was one of the very few non-industry that had access and saw nothing wrong with it, or she was just parroting the spin about it like a good little tool.

Carl (profile) says:

I Support the TPP

The TPP will allow me to create more jobs (elsewhere). The TPP will allow me to circumvent many intrusive government laws and regulations — I even get my own court of law judged by my industry peers, not those heavy-handed U.S. Federal courts (that’s so yesterday). The TPP will codify my right to assure that those sketchy generic drug makers don’t eat into my pharma portfolio profits. The TPP will assure that I can sue just about anybody, anytime, for anything I define as a breach of my intellectual property, which is a welcome relief from all those oppressive U.S. government IP regulations. And there is so much more to love about the TPP. I can’t imagine why anyone would be against this beautiful piece of international legislation.

Yours Truly,
Ollie Oligarch

Anonymous Coward says:

“But wouldn’t it be nice if Clinton could just come out and say what she really thought about the TPP and have an open conversation about it, rather than playing this “wink wink nod nod” game where basically everyone knows her true position, but she won’t say it?”

Yes, it would certainly be refreshing if Hillary Clinton would stop lying through her damn teeth about everything while those who secretly support her would stop reportraying these offenses as if they were “silly mishaps”.


Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: The problem with a negative campain

I’m pretty sure Trump barely knows or cares what the TPP is, let alone can old an opinion on it for more than a few minutes.

Isn’t Pence an avid TPP supporter? I suspect he’d be making the decision.

We’re stuck in a campaign where we have to choose between people we don’t want for president. We have to consider who we want in office less and then vote the other one in.

At some point we’ll want to start looking two to four years ahead to prevent the same thing from happening then where all the affirmative options suck.

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