Upside Down: McConnell Praises Obama on Trade, White House Scolds Reid

Dave Johnson

This week’s news reports make it seem as if President Obama might be preparing to jump into the Republican presidential primaries, using trade as his issue. He should be careful, though: That’s a (very) crowded field, and using trade to empower corporations over government to enrich billionaires and cut American wages and benefits is not their only issue. But, by using the trade issue, he could at least attract several billionaires to fund a campaign.

Here are a few sample stories just from the past couple of days.

The Hill: “McConnell praises Obama for a change“:

“I thought what he did last year in speaking the truth to his base was welcome and shows that he is intent on working with us to get both the Trade Promotion Authority in place and to subsequently approve, hopefully, [the] Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.”

The Hill: “WH takes on Reid over trade“:

The White House is criticizing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid for his promise to block a vote on fast-track trade authority for President Obama.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner called on Hillary Clinton to also turn against Democrats, with his spokesman saying, “This White House has failed to convince a single Democrat leader in Congress to stand with the president on trade.”

Zach Carter at The Huffington Post, “Republican Billionaires Love Obama’s Trade Deal“:

Last week, dozens of New York City’s power elite signed a letter to the state’s congressional delegation, urging lawmakers to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership now in negotiations. Democrats in Congress largely oppose the TPP, and Republican leaders have said they don’t have the votes needed to pass it without Democratic support.

… Labor unions and environmental groups, two traditional Democratic allies, have argued that the TPP will exacerbate income inequality and give corporations new tools to undermine key regulations. Corporate lobbying groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have supported the trade deal, saying it will boost exports and economic growth.

An Open Letter To The President

Dear President Obama,

When Mitch McConnell says you are “speaking truth to [your] base,” your White House is blasting the Democratic leader in the Senate, Speaker Boehner is calling on Hillary Clinton to join you in taking on Democrats (wow that’s good election advice!) and billionaires are on your side against unions and environmental groups … isn’t it time to step back and take a look at what you’ve gotten yourself into?


Every Democrat, every Progressive, every labor union, over 2,000 advocacy organizations, faith groups, health groups, democracy groups, consumer groups, LGBT groups, immigrant rights groups, consumer groups, everyone who has had their job moved out of the country, everyone afraid their job will be moved out of the country, every company that wants to manufacture and/or do things in America, collectively known as We the People.

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