Republicans in Congress can read polls and letters from their constituents as well as Democrats, and they, as most Democrats already have done, are starting to realize that it might not be wise to rubber-stamp the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the rigged fast track trade promotion authority process that will be used to pre-approve it. The tea party and the right generally are starting to ramp up their own opposition.
87 Percent Of Republicans Oppose Fast Track
I noted in the recent post "A Look At The Fast Track Bill Shows It’s The Wrong Thing To Do" that polls show that many conservatives are opposed to fast track and the TPP, and that in Congress, "many 'Constitution-based' Tea Party Republicans are opposed to it." Those polls show that "Republicans overwhelmingly oppose giving fast-track authority to the president (8 percent in favor, 87 percent opposed), as do independents (20 percent-66 percent)."
Strong Buchanan Op-Ed Against Fast Track, TPP
(Ultra, ultra, "original German") conservative commentator, presidential advisor (Nixon, Ford, Reagan) and former (twice) Presidential primary candidate Pat Buchanan recently wrote an op-ed that many people following trade issues will agree with, regardless of whether they usually are on the left or the right side of political arguments. In Obama’s Republican Collaborators Buchanan begins:
Pressure for fast track is coming from two sources.
First, the editorial pages of papers like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post that truckle to the transnational corporations that provide the advertising revenue stream keeping them alive.
Second, Obama is relying on Congressional Republicans who, for all their bravado about defying his usurpations, know on which side their bread is buttered. It’s the Wall Street-K Street side.
Fast track is the GOP payoff to its bundlers and big donors.
Buchanan continues, noting that we are again hearing "all the tired talking points about free trade, soaring exports, jobs created, etc." He writes about how we have become dependent on imports, "for the necessities of our national life and the vital components of our weapons systems." He notes that where wages used to grow, now it's, "income inequality, the growing gap between rich and poor, and wage stagnation" and asks the key question: "Did $11 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I have anything to do with this? Or do we think that the 55,000 factories and 5-6 million manufacturing jobs that went missing in the first decade of this new century had no connection to those huge trade deficits?"
Please go read the entire Buchanan piece and tell me if you can find a word in it to disagree with. (Maybe a few.) When it comes to trade and trade deficits, Buchanan is a "patriot" in the real sense of the word.
Tea Party Opposes Fast Track, TPP
Speaking of "patriots," the Tea Party Tribune ran this Monday, "More Problems in the Form of the Trans-Pacific Partnership":
Barack HUSSEIN Obama ... Uncle Joe ‘Bite-Me’ Biden ... Hillary’s many scandals ... now coming to light is that ‘We the People’ and our beloved country were screwed yet again by this man’s policies and politics…and true to form the media is trying its best to make sure it’s all kept hush-hushed.
And, sadly, it’s a screwing being aided by a Republican-controlled Congress…most specifically the Senate Finance Committee…too afraid of the race card being used against them to dare cross Obama or NOT give him what he wants.
So to that effect on April 16, 2015, Congress, working through the Ways & Means Committee, gave this most traitorous of all presidents authority to unilaterally affect…to ‘fast track’*…international trade agreements that would allow foreign corporations to sue the U.S. government for actions that undermine their investment ‘expectations’…as in their ‘expected’ but NOT proven future profits. Known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)** Obama will have…once this is passed…the full authority to move forward with final negotiations on agreements that could lead to a major…and I mean major…increase in the number of foreign workers coming into the U.S. and that in turn would allow for a corresponding possible loss of U.S. sovereignty…possibly giving Obama, the U.N., or a combination of both, complete control over U.S. immigration policy.
The Hill must have seen this and Tuesday carried, "Trade vote stirs angst on the right":
While much of the attention in the trade fight has focused on the divide between President Obama and liberal Democrats, Republican leaders are facing dissent within their own caucus because of currency manipulation and immigration concerns.
“The polling is bad, and some people are getting nervous,” said a GOP senator who requested anonymity to talk about his conversations with colleagues.
[. . .] While the trade deals are popular with the business community, they are controversial among the conservative base in states — such as Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina and South Carolina — where Republican incumbents are running for reelection next year.
“Why would any Republican give President Obama more authority?” said Ed Martin, president of Eagle Forum, a conservative advocacy group.
Beyond the procedural argument, Martin said a growing number of people in the GOP base think free trade agreements are harmful for the working class and bad for jobs.
One tea party group is already running ads in New Hampshire. The Huffington Post has the story in, "Tea Party Group Brings Trade Deal Opposition To New Hampshire Primary":
Americans for Limited Government, a conservative group founded by wealthy activist Howard Rich, will begin radio ads in New Hampshire on Thursday, calling on Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to oppose the fast-track legislation moving through Congress. All three senators are running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
“Congress is getting ready to give Obama more power, just when we’re getting ready to choose his replacement,” the ad says. “If Congress gives Obama fast-track power, he’ll use it to write more regulations for our economy – for the entire world. Rules that the next president won’t be able to change.”
... Groups like the American Jobs Alliance, United States Business and Industry Council, Tea Party Nation and Eagle Forum have announced opposition to the pact. The Americans for Limited Government ad directs listeners to the American Jobs Alliance website, Obamatrade.com.
... Patrick Davis, a Republican strategist, said GOP voters’ views of free trade have changed since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the early ’90s, especially in northern Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and South Carolina.
“The base voters, Republican voters and even Tea Party voters, are economic voters,” Davis said. “Those in Washington in the Republican leadership are at odds with their base over this issue because Republicans and Tea Party types have seen wages go down, lost wages and lost jobs since the last time we did a big trade deal.”
Finally, the always entertaining Breitbart recently headlined," Hollywood Swinging Hard for Trans-Pacific Partnership,"
Hollywood moguls and the vast majority of leftist entertainers have joined forces in a last-ditch effort to bully wavering Democratic lawmakers into backing President Obama’s fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as the centerpiece of what he calls his “pro-trade agenda.”
TPP is so controversial that the Administration has refused to show anyone the document. But what it does do is “trade” the right for U.S. entertainment interests to gain lucrative enhanced-copyright protections with 12 nations, in exchange for the elimination of all tariffs that punish unfair business practices.
Stop The Train Wreck
"Trade" deals like the TPP, and the rigged fast-track process designed to rush these trade deals through before the public can rally opposition, are great for Wall Street and the CEOs of giant, multinational corporations. But they are bad for the rest of us, regardless of our political leanings. The only question is can public opposition overcome Wall Street's money and stop this fast-tracked train wreck in time?