After having stated she is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and opposes a lame-duck vote on that agreement after the election, President Obama on Thursday endorsed his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, in her bid for the presidency. Then the president, a few hours later, appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and did this:
Yes, that’s President Obama with Jimmy Fallon, using a “Slow-Jamming the News” segment to promote the TPP.
Jamming the TPP
An account of the segment is at Politico, “Obama slow-jams the news, swings at Trump“:
… Obama kept up the straight-man routine: “But I believe that it is of the utmost importance to work alongside other world leaders. That’s why I signed the Iran nuclear deal. That’s why we reopened diplomatic ties with Cuba. And that’s why I negotiated the new trade deal called Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.”
“Now, hold on there, Prez dispenser — are you saying you’re down with TPP?” Fallon asked.
“Yeah, you know me,” Obama responded, before explaining the trade deal’s merits. “Look, Jimmy, the TPP allows American businesses to sell their products both at home and abroad. The more we sell abroad, the more higher paying jobs we provide here at home. It’s that simple.”
Fallon then asked, “So what you’re saying is, this trade deal will help put everyday Americans back to—”
“Work, work, work, work, work, work, work, he put us back to work, work, work, work, work, he put us back to,” sang Tariq, in the style of Rihanna.
Obama finished: “Work, work, work, work, work.”
… “And that is how we slow jam the news,” Fallon concluded.
Obama finished with an “oh, yeah.”
Because We Don’t Already?
“The TPP allows American businesses to sell their products both at home and abroad.” Because apparently American companies don’t already sell their products in throughout Asia, Europe, Australia and every other continent?
TPP is not about “trade.” Even the government’s International Trade Commission (ITC) predicted TPP would bring almost no economic benefits to the U.S. economy. TPP is really about enabling further corporate domination of the world’s political and economic systems.
Here’s The Thing – Clinton Opposes TPP
The President’s push for TPP undermines Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton is opposed to the TPP, and opposed to bringing the TPP up for a vote in the “lame duck” congressional session that follows the election. And voters are certainly opposed as well.
One of the strongest arguments Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump is using to woo voters is his opposition to trade bills like the TPP. Too many people have lost good jobs, or are afraid of losing their jobs, or know people who have been or are afraid of being laid off as their job is shipped out of the country because of past “trade” deals. Too many people are working for less pay or haven’t seen a raise because of past trade deals. And the TPP will make this even worse.
Democrats can help Clinton in the election by passing a strong plank in the party platform opposing the TPP and similar “free trade’ agreements. The plank must also demand that Democrats do what they can to stop a vote on TPP from occurring after the election.
At the Democratic National Committee platform hearing on Wednesday, Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch called for such anti-TPP language in the platform.
“It is really important that the platform make clear that a future Democratic president will not send the TPP to Congress,” Wallach said, “and that if a vote happens during the lame duck session, that a Democratic president [in this case President Obama] will not give notice of implementation, because even if a vote happens this year, it will be the next president who has to decide if it’s going to be enacted. it does not go away if there’s a lame-duck vote.” (You can watch Wallach’s testimony on the America’s Future page on C-Span.)
The platform should also take a strong position opposing “free trade,” when used as a vehicle to move jobs and production out of the country and drive down American wages. Instead the party should call for a new approach to trade that brings labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, LGBT, health, democracy and other “stakeholder” groups to the negotiating table along with business interests. Democrats should stand for an approach to trade that lifts stakeholders on all sides of trade borders.