With Both Presidential Candidates Claiming To Be Against The TPP, President Obama Kicks Off Campaign To Ratify It

from the so-that'll-be-interesting dept

Even as the candidate that President Obama is supporting, Hillary Clinton, has been increasingly insisting that she really (no, really) is against the TPP (despite being for it prior to this campaign) -- and even as Donald Trump has been vehemently against it, despite trade agreements usually getting strong support from the GOP -- President Obama is making a big push to get the TPP ratified by Congress. It needs a majority vote in both houses of Congress to be ratified in the US. Last week, we noted the weird situation where everyone's position on the agreement appeared to be wishy-washy, though mostly for all the wrong reasons.

But that's not stopping Obama from having his cabinet make a big push to get it approved by Congress:
Among those who will hit the road will be Secretary of State John F. Kerry; Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter; retired Admiral Michael G. Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama; Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the United States Pacific Command; and William Cohen, a former Republican senator and defense secretary under President Bill Clinton.
Of course, everyone knows that it won't be voted on until after the election.

Although the administration’s push will begin in September, no vote on the accord will occur before the election. Just as the White House and congressional Republican leaders mostly agree on the economic benefits of trade, they have parallel political interests in delaying debate.

Republicans do not want to provoke attacks from their presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, who called the trade accord “a rape of our country,” or hurt other Republican candidates. Mr. Obama does not want to make trouble for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who has struggled to persuade voters of her sincerity in switching from support of the pact to opposition. This month, during an economic address in Michigan, she declared, “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.”

But, of course, that seems like it could also make a so-called "lame duck" vote pretty damn awkward as well. Yes, after the charade of the election is over, perhaps politicians will revert to their previous positions supporting the deal, but even at their most cynical, it seems a bit crass to do so right after the election. It would just underscore how absolutely full of shit they were during the campaign season. Maybe that doesn't have political consequences... but it should.

Filed Under: barack obama, congress, donald trump, hillary clinton, tpp, trade agreements


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 3:56pm

    "Trust me, once you no longer have any power over me for the next four years I'll totally keep my word."

    Yes, after the charade of the election is over, perhaps politicians will revert to their previous positions supporting the deal, but even at their most cynical, it seems a bit crass to do so right after the election.

    When it comes to politics there's no such thing as 'too crass' or 'too cynical'. Both sides know full well that voting for it before the election stands a good chance to harm the chances of their respective candidates, so they'll wait until it's too late to change the votes before voting for it anyway.

    After all, if they were planning on voting against it then doing so pre-election would only stand to benefit the candidates with regards to the voters, the entire point of delaying the vote is to render the public backlash moot by removing the ability of the public to immediately vote against the ones who voted in favor of TPP.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 4:12pm

    Where should he spend his capital?

    I seem to recall that his nomination for the Supreme Court has been under a bit of a stall. It sure would be nice if he spent some of his political capital on that other branch of the government nobody seems to care about. Sadly, he is making it quite clear where his priorities are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LAquaker, 22 Aug 2016 @ 4:17pm

    Same reaction creates the same result

    http://www.green.republican/
    http://www.green.democrat/

    5-15% in 'safe' states will start unraveling America's straitjacket

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 22 Aug 2016 @ 4:27pm

    what is the non-money reason

    Has anyone established what (if any) benefits besides monetarily the TPP will have for America?

    I mean I find it hard to believe that an entire presidential cabinet would try pushing for this if money was the only reason it would help the individuals.

    Is the motivation political to get it passed or anything other than supposedly the GDP going up and protectionist laws for industry?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 5:06pm

      Re: what is the non-money reason

      bob ?
      bob ?
      are you okay, bob ?
      seriously, anyone who doesn't KNOW that 'money' is at the root of ALL these decisions hasn't been paying attention...
      bob, have you been spending all your time reading novels, bob ?
      wander over to the non-fiction aisle, bob, i highly recommend zinn's A People's History of the United States...
      ...um, it will only hurt for a while...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        bob, 22 Aug 2016 @ 5:20pm

        Re: Re: what is the non-money reason

        Oh I get that probably all the politicians voting for it are getting some kind of a kickback from somewhere. But seriously are there any other motivating factors for the push of the TPP other than money?

        If there aren't that fine I'm just curious if anyone has gearshift any or has their own.

        Like is this treaty supposed to help government in country X be more pro-American?

        Is it meant to be a punishment for the countries that were not part of the treaty?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          art guerrilla (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 6:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: what is the non-money reason

          1. one way or another -some even legal!- it is money that is motivating the kongresscritters, etc, as well as the beneficiaries of the tpp type 'trade agreements'...
          2. if you dont know, most of the provisions have fuckall to do with trade, and everything to do with the korporatocracy enacting their own uber-laws that supercede sovereign natio s laws...
          3. it is, in short, the rulebook used in a race to the bottom...
          4. lastly, spot on : non 'trade' aligned countries will be pressured to conform or be left behind... OR, that is the mafia-like spiel being peddled by our betters...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          blue skies (profile), 23 Aug 2016 @ 1:53am

          Re: Re: Re: what is the non-money reason

          Just today dutch online magazine the Correspondent has an article diving into that: the possibility is that the rather new Chinese investment bank AIIB is making a lot of US politicians a bit uneasy. (amongst other reasons because various EU-countries contributed to the founding of that bank-giving them some influence in the banks policies).

          The article discusses the possibility that treaties like TPP and TTIP could be an attempt to keep the world under US control.

          Dutch article:
          https://decorrespondent.nl/5128/Maak-kennis-met-de-grootste-bank-ter-wereld-waar-je-niets-va n-weet/626188141216-bd4f4663

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 22 Aug 2016 @ 4:39pm

    Question

    1. Why does Obama want to ratify it so badly?>
    2. Why do some politicians want to ratify it so badly?

    Why is it covered under so much secrecy that many countries don't want their own people knowing it, and have it voted on before anybody reads it?

    Is this democracy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 5:54pm

      Re: Question

      1. Why does Obama want to ratify it so badly?>
      2. Why do some politicians want to ratify it so badly?


      Many politicians believe (correctly, fwiw) that good free trade helps boost economies and creates a better global world. So they get focused on that. I had a good conversation with a Congressional Rep who talked about visiting Vietnam and how limited some markets are for small businesses there, and how a more open markets could help raise those people out of poverty. And that's true.

      What they miss is how the TPP itself isn't really about free trade. It has some tariff reductions, but it also has a ton of other regulatory things in it, such as intellectual property. And that's where the problem is.

      Why is it covered under so much secrecy that many countries don't want their own people knowing it, and have it voted on before anybody reads it?

      Meh. At this point the document is and has been public for a while. This was a legitimate point during the negotiations. And the reasoning then, stupidly, was that having public debate without understanding the nuances of negotiations (the give and take parts) would make concluding a deal impossible. I don't think this is true, but that's the official reasoning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 6:25pm

        Re: Re: Question

        Meh? Serious? The government trying to keep things secret from the people is Meh for you just because it has been leaked?

        I just lost a lot of respect for you sir! This secrecy and the habits of these corrupt people which you falsely claim have hearts in the right place is a farce! When did you get put on the payroll? Congress and the collection of maggots you just talked up are the #2 problem in America just after the mindless electorate that keeps them voted into office.

        These politician are experts in keeping the curtains drawn and constantly wheel and deal behind closed doors. These people sought these positions for power and glory. Very few actually care. Anyone that can stand in the halls of congress for long are not good people because no sane man could feel clean there!

        The corruption of the American government is so well established that we now view much of the corruption as nothing more than business as usual! Like places in the world where children are murdered and no one bats and eye because they are just used to it, they think nothing of it!

        yea, Meh right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 6:49pm

          Re: Re: Re: Question

          … just because it has been leaked?
          Perhaps you were unaware that the text has been officially released?

          We made President Obama’s big TPP trade deal searchable”, by Philip Bump, Washington Post, Nov 5, 2015
          On Thursday morning, after months of questions about the contents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated and championed by President Obama, his administration released the agreement in its complex entirety.
          (Hyperlinks omitted.)
          (Via Wikipedia.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 6:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Question

            … just because it has been leaked?
            Perhaps you were unaware that the text has been officially released?

            Oh, and fwiw, here's the Techdirt story from Nov 6, 2015.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Craig Welch (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 9:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Question

            To be pedantic, The Obama administration did not release the TPP text. It was released by New Zealand, the official repository country for the agreement. https://www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz/text

            Other countries then published it on their own websites.

            I've often read it as "Obama decided to release the text". He didn't. The 12 nations decided.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 7:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Question

          Meh? Serious? The government trying to keep things secret from the people is Meh for you just because it has been leaked?

          Uh, it hasn't been leaked -- it's been *released* in the official version for anyone to read in all it's glory, and it's been up on the web for almost a year. Here's the full text on the USTR website: https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/trans-pacific-partnership/tpp-full-text

          So, yeah, "meh." That "meh" was not to the secrecy that enveloped it for all those years, but it seems silly to argue that they're trying to pass a secret document now when it hasn't been secret for nearly a year. I *agree* that the negotiations in secret were a problem, but the document has been released now.

          I just lost a lot of respect for you sir! This secrecy and the habits of these corrupt people which you falsely claim have hearts in the right place is a farce! When did you get put on the payroll? Congress and the collection of maggots you just talked up are the #2 problem in America just after the mindless electorate that keeps them voted into office.

          Wow. Calm down. You made a mistake. You thought it hadn't been released. It has. Don't freak out and make bullshit accusations about me that are false.

          These politician are experts in keeping the curtains drawn and constantly wheel and deal behind closed doors. These people sought these positions for power and glory. Very few actually care. Anyone that can stand in the halls of congress for long are not good people because no sane man could feel clean there!


          The curtains are now open. Though I will disagree with you: there are some -- a VERY SMALL NUMBER -- of members of Congress (some of whom have been there for a while) who are, indeed, fighting the good fight for good things. It may not be true of the majority, but don't confuse tenure with bad intent.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 6:51pm

        Re: Re: Question

        The real reason that Obama wants TPP passed is because he believes that he will win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 4:53pm

    If you want proof of how pointless this 'democracy' is the candidate approval rating is at an all time low.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 5:20pm

    Or he could always go with issuing an executive order and forcing it through like he does everything else he wants but congress refuses to give him.

    Ruling as a king seems to be his style.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 5:58pm

    "Both"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Mayor, 22 Aug 2016 @ 7:56pm

    A CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN RE A CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO THE TPP SCRIPT

    Just in case!... and whether you're FOR or AGAINST the TPP (I'm against it!)!... the US citizen's weapon is called, the "American Constitution"! And the Constitution's defenders-- in part!-- are legions of civil litigators! And the funding for such civil litigators, is Crowd Funding! Go to it! Oh!... and Techdirtians/ Techdirtites!... you'd be wise to call upon both constitutional lawyers, and Crowd Funding oficionados, to do a Techdirt piece on the implications of a Crowd Funding Campaign re A CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO THE TPP SCRIPT! Enjoy!
    .
    Please!... no emails!
    .
    P.S.: Those seeking STANDING for such a Constitutional challenge... in addition to the many supporters of the Crowd Funding effort itself!... would be a WHO's WHO of the brightest minds in American politics!-- to say the least!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 22 Aug 2016 @ 8:21pm

    9 hole

    I guess the President only played 9 holes of golf instead of 18?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    OGquaker, 22 Aug 2016 @ 10:19pm

    Money; the only prophet left

    Amazing Cornel West Speech, Green Party Convention at University of Houston, Texas
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyXoYZuYzm8

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    boomslang, 23 Aug 2016 @ 4:31am

    I have a feeling that one of the reasons for the TPP push is that Clinton wants the deal to go through before she's elected. That way she can say she's against the TPP during the campaign while still having it passed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2016 @ 7:13am

    The ttp is a joke ,it seeks to impose tough patent and copyright laws on other countrys designed to benefit
    american
    fim,record companys and increase the price of drugs
    and It,s an attack on any countrys rights to make laws
    re food standards and consumer protection .
    it,ll increase the cost of drugs and mean that millions of people in india and africa will not be able to afford to
    buy medicine .
    Its designed to mainly protect large corporations
    and let them sue any country for lost profits
    if for instance company x cannot frack in national parks
    or land near rivers .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2016 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      Correct except multinational firms not american firms...

      Correct me if I am wrong but a corporation just has to have an American presence in order to bribe, er 'lobby' the politicians.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JustMe (profile), 23 Aug 2016 @ 8:08am

    The problem with Lame Duck

    Is that the Republican's screwed themselves with the whole "the people should decide" Supreme Court appointment (despite the PEOPLE deciding TWICE who to put in the top job). Seems like TPP is just as important as a judge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TimothyAWiseman (profile), 23 Aug 2016 @ 9:03am

    Gary Johnson Supports it

    Since you didn't mention Gary Johnson's position, he openly supports the TPP. This is one of the ares where I respectfully disagree with him. But, he has at least said that there are parts he does not like, he just thinks the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 23 Aug 2016 @ 11:20am

    The reality is that Trump is against the TTP because it would cost him money, and Hillary is wishy washy on it because there is no benefit in the election in enthusiastically supporting it.

    The song will change in January, when Hillary takes over and suddenly she will like TTP again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 23 Aug 2016 @ 11:47am

    Talk is cheap

    Of course Obama is trying to ratify TPP. Media companies worth $trillions can't be denied.

    Clinton, Trump say they don't support TPP? Talk is cheap, and when one of them is in office, I'm betting you'll find out just how cheap it is.

    Hey, a joke: "Q: How do you tell when a politician is lying?" Oh, you've heard it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2016 @ 5:04am

    What Congress does may not matter, as a lot of the TPP countries are already reportedly negotiating a new replacement for TPP that will not include the US.

    So even if Congress does approve TPP, it could well be replaced by a new agreement where the USA will not be invited.
    China would be in and the USA would be out.

    It looks like TPP is dead, regardless of whether Congress approves of it, or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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