The general rule for modern Democratic candidates is to voice skepticism for trade agreements in the run-up to elections, and then warm up to them once in office. The electoral dynamics are simple: organized labor remains strong within the Democratic party even if they are a much-diminished force in the overall picture Stateside. I bring this up because there are so many articles coming out about how Hillary Clinton has allegedly changed her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership enlargement. Here is a representative quote:
Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she opposes the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, marking a significant break with the Obama Administration as she heads into the first Democratic presidential debate.To make a long story short, like Obama and her husband before her, masquerading as a trade-o-phobe during election campaigning to please organized labor constituencies is standard practice. Witness the 2008 nomination process where it was [surprise!] the supposedly trade-hating Obama--under whom TPP was concluded--criticizing Clinton for jumping on the FTA-bashing train late during the 2008 campaign:
In an interview with PBS NewsHour, Clinton said that while she is still reviewing the deal, she is “worried” it benefits drug companies and does not address currency manipulation. “What I know about it as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,” Clinton said. “I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about the agreement, but I’m worried...”
“I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about the agreement, but I’m worried,” Clinton said. “I’m worried about currency manipulation not being part of the agreement. We’ve lost American jobs to the manipulations that countries particularly in Asia have engaged in.”
In Ohio, where union workers are a major presence and the manufacturing economy is hurting, Sen. Barack Obama attacked Sen. Hillary Clinton for her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement, called NAFTA.Some people never learn, If elected, I am sure that Missus Clinton will support TPP ratification Stateside after reading the TPP text "more carefully"--or something along those lines. Unlike Obama who was a senator in 2008 when running for president, she doesn't even hold any office at present, so what does it matter if the "opposes" TPP?
"Yesterday, Sen. Clinton also said I'm wrong to point out that she once supported NAFTA," Obama said. "But the fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for president. A couple years after it passed, she said NAFTA was a 'free and fair trade agreement' and that it was 'proving its worth.' And in 2004, she said, 'I think, on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York state and America.' "
The Clinton campaign says Obama is wrong, that Clinton was critical of NAFTA "long before she started running for president." We looked into Clinton's past remarks on NAFTA and concluded that she has changed her tune, from once speaking favorably about it to now saying the agreement needs "fixing."
As an aside, the China-aimed currency manipulation concern about TPP is the most asinine thing I've ever heard. First, China is not a party to the @#$%^& agreement. Second, even if it were, it is drawing down and not increasing its foreign exchange reserves, implying that it is trying to maintain the value of its currency.