Hillary, the TPP, and me

    19th International AIDS Conference Convenes In WashingtonAs a caustic Clinton critic and tenacious tart-tongued TPP traducer, my reaction to Hillary's announcement that she opposes the multi-nation "free trade" deal should be obvious.  I would openly question her commitment to the working Americans she says the partnership will hurt.  I would doubt that she really cares that giveaways in the deal to pharmaceutical companies will hurt consumers.

    I would note that she has spoken in support of the deal on a number of occasions. I would attribute her apparent change-of-heart to a desire to stymie support building within labor unions for Bernie Sanders and to render still-born a potential Joe Biden candidacy.  I might go so far as to worry that Clinton is not likely to veto the TPP if she's elected President next year and it is presented to her in the early days of 2017.  Justifying this concern, I would remark on the wiggle room in her announcement that based on "what [she] know[s] now" she is "now not in favor of it".

    But my initial reaction was not cynicism.  In fact, Hillary's decision to forsake her corporate backers and speak out against the TPP delights me.  Likewise, I applaud Clinton for opposing the Obama administration's decision to permit Shell to drill in the Arctic and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.  Her call Thursday to break up the big banks and for taxing computerized securities trading is also most welcome.

    Clinton and her political team may believe they need to take these positions to guarantee victory in the Democratic primaries.  They may have even explained to well-heeled funders that it's in the latter's interest to prevent Sanders from gaining more traction and to try to keep Biden out of the race - especially since a Biden candidacy would boost the Democratic socialist.  Ultimately, Sanders in the White House could prove very costly to billionaire Democratic donors if he can enact his proposed tax hikes on the rich.  So the Spielbergs, Pritzkers, and Katzenbergs who back Clinton have good reason to grin and bear her swerve towards allocative equity.

    But customary Clinton carpers needn't look too closely in the mouth of this gift horse.   Her volte-face against the financial elites demonstrates real political bravery as expected assaults from the likes of the Washington Post's editorial page and columnist Ruth Marcus have materialized.  It may even have real world implications if Clinton's announcement sways moderate Democrats to deny President Obama a TPP victory.  Moreover, fairness requires progressives who have taken issue with her for "being kind of moderate and center" to praise her when she says the right things.

    None of this means I am reconsidering my support for Bernie Sanders.  His progressive record is decades - not weeks - long and nearly unblemished.  But Clinton has certainly strengthened the case that she is an ally in the fight for economic and environmental justice.



      Hillary could just quote Keynes :

    When the facts change I change my opinion . What do you do , Sir?

    That would no doubt be greeted by responses  such as  'He never did say it. She's lying again' (yawn) or alternatively 'What to we care about something said by some "limey" '?

    Or worse a completely illogical  combination of the two. But hey "logic smogic whatever Hillary does is wrong."



    As newspapers have proved, it's so much more important to make a quick decision on a long-standing policy issue than to actually make a slow careful informed analysis because reporters and often politicians understand time stamps and deadlines and "who's first" in the horseback and little else about intricate contradictory details of any government situation. Easier to say "all foreign trade is bad" and ignore any of the benefits of the last 30 years that go along with the bad and work on the specific problems. Horse trading like math is a lot tuffer than just picking a number and reading race results.

    Good post, Hal. Fascinating dynamics between Hillary and Bernie. So Bernie is cover for H. pulling to the left which is less offensive for our Oligarchs than seeing Bernie actually elected. Could it ever be that the rich feel they already have enough money?

    "You can never be too rich or too thin."

    Did you see the article today, DK?, that 158 families have so far in this cycle contributed about 50% of the campaign "contributions"? Unbelievable.

    The public has known this for a long time that the politicians are addicted to this money.  It is easy money and they don't have to campaign as hard.  I think Bernie tapped into this and that is why he is doing as well as he is.  He is also working very hard as well as his campaign. It is hard to swallow that less then 200 people own our government. 

    I think most of us agree that citizen's united and money in politics is the most detrimental force in government. But I don't think unilateral disarmament is the answer. That Sanders isn't taking any large donations doesn't make me feel better about him, it makes me feel worse. If he wins, great, it worked. It's sad to have to say it but in today's world I'm worried that he won't have enough money to compete with all the cash his republican opponents will have.

    It's sad to have to say it but in today's world I'm worried that he won't have enough money to compete with all the cash his republican opponents will have.

    You skipped a step didn't you. Are you confident that he will have enough money to compete with his Democratic opponent? And, is the source of his Democratic opponent's money essentially different that that of the Republicans. 

    There was an article by Edsall in NYT comparing wealthy donors of both parties. Regarding the amounts given by "Super Wealthy" and "Wealthy", the total amounts of these two quadrants are, given the time lines, roughly equal between the two parties. I'll bet only Ben and Jerry are supporting Bernie and herein lies the problem. I don't see how the Democrats can win if their media expenditures, for example, are much less than Republicans. In a sense Bernie has gotten a free ride from Republicans so far, but I would hate to see the crap Republicans would throw at him in a general election and if he couldn't maintain their pace of spending, I think he would lose. I heard a Bloomberg commentator this morning call him "angry" and I thought how vulnerable he would be to a meme such as that. Do you want an angry socialist giving away your money?  

    Last I saw, Hillary had about $45 mill donated, $15 mill private PAC money, while most Republicans were almost all private PAC, like Carly at 90%+ since she's just a shill and same with Jeb. Bernie had near 0 PAC, which makes it rather hard to survive.

    Yes but Bernie raised $26 million in small donations alone and can keep going back to that well.  He also does better than any other candidate (except perhaps Trump) on social media and he spends less than any other candidate.

    Hal, she's raised over $75 mill and will easily break $100m by end of year. She's rather a symbol for say half the population, and considering Obama raised $500 million and the Dems spent another billion, it's hard to understand how you think the nation's Democrats are cashed out. Wishful thinking on your part.

    In the 3rd quarter, Clinton raised $28 million, Sanders raised $26 million.  Clinton headlined 58 fundraisers during that period, Sanders held 7.  Why do you think this symbol, who is praised here for welcoming corporate funding, has to work so hard to barely outraise Sanders? http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/30/politics/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-fu...

    Bernie gives lots of speeches and raises money on the internet. Does that make him Captain Marvel? They each have their own strategy. I don't rightly give a shit.

    I'm not that concerned about it in the primaries because I support Hillary and I'd be happy if Sanders won. Either way a good democrat wins. It's the general election that I'm worried about. I'd be more worried about the primary if I thought Webb had a chance or if Biden got in the race. I don't like Webb at all and don't think Biden would be a good president.

    I don't think there's enough evidence for you to conclude that Clinton would run stronger in the general election because she accepts corporate funds.  In fact, there's evidence that suggests just the opposite.

    Keith Ellison supports Bernie Sanders, but I suspect most of the Black Caucus is supporting Hillary Clinton. One Sanders gets past the two mostly white states that make the first two Primary states, he will face rejection by black voters in South Carolina as things stand now.


    The debates may help Sanders gain inroads with minority voters.


    Without minority voters, Sanders can't win the Primaries or the Presidency. 


    It's not a conclusion Hal. It's just something I think about and worry about. There is evidence that money plays a role in a campaign. Those expensive and imo stupid superficial tv ads actually work with the many low information voters. We'll see how it plays out.

    I hear you.  I worry too.  But accepting corporate funding is a double-edged sword.  Part of Trump's appeal, according to his supporters, is that he is self-funding his campaign.  http://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2015/10/01/donald-trumps-...

    The problem with not unilaterally disarming is that taking SuperPac money compromises you.  Nobody, not even Ben & Jerry, will support Bernie with no strings attached.  Now, I'd probably like most of B&J's strings - but what happens when a bill comes up that taxes super-premium ice creams on the ground that 1) they're bad for people and 2) they're a luxury item that the rich consume disproportionately.  There are legit arguments against the ice cream tax but Bernie would obviously be compromised by having taken the B&J money.

    This doesn't mean he shouldn't do it.  Maybe, he can find a few truly altruistic billionaires who will bankroll him.  But still, the optics wouldn't be great. 

    On the other hand, there's value in a flat refusal to take corporate bucks.  For many, including me, this is one more reason to vote for him and may explain why he is doing much better than most expected.

    I don't have a problem with a voice for corporates. I have a problem with them drowning out every individual as well as sleazing their way out of all taxes. A company that employs 100,000 people and serves 50 million has a need to be heard, no?

    Corporatists still have a voice.  Each one can give the maximum individual donation to Sanders and has as much say over Bernie's campaign as anybody else - they just don't have more say.  This, in my view, is ideal.

    In my view it sucks. If a company's making $20 billion in profit and paying its share of taxes, it likely has some serious issues that require more attention than one man one vote idealism. It's hard to see why I should applaud union organizing but dismiss the economic and people organizing called "corporations". Why even have political parties? Too much money, too big - elections should be every man/woman for him or herself. Down with groups! Up with individuals! Workers of the World Disband! I see the light...

    Billion dollar corporations have a billion ways to make their voice heard.  They get what they want far more than they should.  I'm amazed you believe a CEO is entitled to a bigger voice than any one of his/her employees.

    Right. The quid pro quo's. (please)

    But without the quid you don't even get a chance to be pure vanilla.

    People are compromised to the degree that they are compromisable. Sanders, or any politician, could make a symbolic stance and take no campaign cash but still compromise for the high paying private sector job reward or the speech fees after leaving office. Many politicians do that. Or he could take the cash and not compromise.

    I hate the system as it is and would like to see it changed. But this is the system we've got and the republicans are going to milk it for all it's worth. My first focus is that a democrat wins and sometimes that requires some sacrifices to pragmatism.

    PS to add:  I hate when politicians take silly symbolic stances that hurt their chances in the election. For example the stupid flag pin controversy that Obama faced. I agreed with everything he said about the flag pin but it was a potent emotional issue. Was it really worth fighting that fight, did we really want to die on that hill? In the end Obama conceded defeat, bowed to pragmatism, and put on the flag pin. I hate that Sanders calls himself a socialist. He's a liberal democrat that fits well in the far left tradition. But playing that stupid symbolic game is going to hurt him in the general. There are a significant number of people who just won't vote for  a socialist. My first focus is for a democrat to win. Therefore I'm in favor of pragmatism.

    Again, I think Sanders reaps real political benefits from refusing corporate funds while I recognize it costs him in other ways.  Moreover, I don't see it as a purely symbolic stance the way you do.  Hillary is indeed compromised by her eagerness to accept funding from corporate interests as is every Republican.

    I agree.  I welcome any support against the TPP or Keystone Xl Pipeline.  Hillary saying early on she would let us know after she was elected about Keystone was seriously lame so she kind of had to do something on that one.   She did not have to come out against TPP, however I don't have great confidence in that after so much expression of support on it leading up to this.  I am perfectly happy to see Hillary moving closer to being a Bernie Sanders supporter.  That's a good thing.

    I do a lot of moderating in the Bernie 'Verse and I have learned that 'everyone' can be a Bernie supporter.  He attracts people across party lines and ideologies.  That is exactly the kind of unity and coalition we will need in order to make Bernie's/Our agenda a reality.

    I have seen the idea expressed somewhere that Clinton's new position on TPP is a shot across the bow against Biden. As Vice-Pres he is obligated to support Obama on TPP. 

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