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Dec 29 2016

Blame Obama and the Trans Pacific Partnership

A certain class of Institutional Democrat, the Neo Liberal Bi-Partisan Centrists, is anxious to blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat, which while shocking is not surprising, on Russia, the Intertubz, the Hippies, or Bigots (about whom the truest thing I’ve read is that not all Trump voters are Racists, but all Racists voted for Trump).

They are of course trying to avoid personal blame for what can only be called an abject failure. As Atrios puts it, you had one job. Of course they blew it, the history of our Neo Liberal Elites is a cacophony of catastrophe coasting on credentialism, arrogance, and privilege by a group of mendacious morons (I’m being kind, it’s the highest functioning level of sub-normal intelligence. Unsupervised Cooking!).

I’ll be charitable and not mention the manifestations of this attitude in the campaign, or at least not yet while the wounds are raw, and instead draw your attention to the current Administration (at least for the next 3 weeks).

Eliding the destruction of the 50 State Strategy constructed by Dean, the constant assault on Civil Rights by the Police State (“I don’t think anybody could have predicted” that the tools of mass surveillance, torture, and assassination could fall into the hands of fascists, except of course for us Hippies who did) and the deterioration of the Economic condition of the Working Class (especially the Black and Hispanic Working Class who were also being slaughtered in record numbers by militarized and out of control Cops), I’ll move right on to Obama’s Folly- the Trans Pacific Partnership.

TPP: How Obama Traded Away His Legacy
Lori Wallach & Murshed Zaheed, Huffington Post
12/28/16

Donald Trump is preparing to wipe President Barack Obama’s legacy from existence. The Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank and protections for the environment and immigrants all are set to disappear in no part small part thanks to President Obama himself and his relentless advocacy for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) right through Election Day.

And President Obama still won’t face the sorry truth, this week declaring that he would have beaten Trump if he had been the candidate. After years of siding with corporate America to pass various job-killing trade deals over the opposition of congressional Democrats, he announced that it was “nonsense” that anyone should have the view that “Democrats have somehow abandoned the white working class.”

Yet in fact, post-election polling and exit polls confirm that Trump flipped decisive states because he connected with voters’ fury about job-killing trade deals.

Trump’s omnipresent attacks on “rigged” trade deals resonated with communities devastated by mass job offshoring. Polling shows that Americans viewed President Obama’s TPP as a corporate power grab that would cost more jobs, lower wages and raise medicine prices.

Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania by 23,000, 11,000 and 68,000 votes, respectively. The number of people in those states certified as having lost jobs to trade since the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, is 78,331, 159,252 and 182,017 under just one government program that captures a fraction of trade-related job loss.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s closing argument for Clinton at a Michigan rally the day before the election was to “continue this journey of progress,” effectively promising a third term of an Obama presidency that had spent the past two years prioritizing the implementation of a trade deal despised not only by working class Midwesterners, but the entire Democratic Party base. At the Michigan event President Obama also declared that the “trade war“ Trump was threatening by renegotiating NAFTA, imposing tariffs on vehicles made in Mexico by Detroit’s automakers and opposing the TPP would hurt the economy.

This followed scores of Obama administration events and op-eds touting the benefits of the TPP in swing states during critical stages of the campaign, despite pleas by Democratic congressional candidates and party strategists to desist.

Was it coincidence that Clinton lost the western Wisconsin counties along the Mississippi River, which have historically always voted Democratic? Or did Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s Oct. 12 event there to release a TPP-promoting report have unintended consequences?

Did U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman’s prominent Oct. 19 “Philadelphia Inquirer” TPP op-ed contribute to flipping eastern Pennsylvania counties that voted twice for President Obama?

Support for the TPP signaled to those whose lives have been turned upside down by the trade policies of the past 25 years that the Democratic Party did not care about them. That message was conveyed repeatedly to the administration and Clinton campaign by union officials who heard it from their angry members.

(I)n the arc of the Democratic betrayal of working people on trade, more damning was President Obama’s flip-flop. He campaigned in 2008 against George W. Bush’s U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, engaged in a primary battle to be more anti-NAFTA than Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and initially put the TPP on ice in 2009.

He then proceeded to push the South Korea deal after modest tweaks, claiming it would create 70,000 new American jobs. By early 2016, the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea had doubled as exports dropped and imports soared. This trade deficit increase equated to about 100,000 more U.S. jobs lost, plugging the import/export data into the formula the administration used to predict job gains.

And then, although the damaging Korean deal was literally the template for the TPP, Obama proceeded to make it the capstone of his administration. The pro-TPP campaign was more vigorous than any other previous Obama initiative.

The deal was dead before Election Day, having never gained majority support in Congress during the 10 months after President Obama signed it.

But President Obama’s election-year obsession with the TPP sent a message to American workers that was deadly to Hillary Clinton’s campaign as it elevated Trump to the White House and ultimately damaged – if not destroyed – the president’s own legacy.

Hillary’s tepid opposition under pressure from Bernie and the failure to adopt an anti-TPP resolution at the Democratic National Convention simply served to reinforce the concept, true or not, that she was the candidate of the status quo and her fundamental honesty was questionable. Barack Obama did a terrible job and stroking his ego by positioning as a third term of transparent corporate corruption was a clearly losing strategy from the beginning. Not that The Donald is a prize but again you had one job and you blew it spectacularly.

If you want to waste money on consultants I can be just as wrong at half the price.

An unmitigated disaster, and Neo Liberal Institutional Democrats have nobody to blame but themselves.

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