“I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 25 years and I have a lot of respect for her,” Sanders said, but emphasized the differences between the two presidential hopefuls on several issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“I frankly don’t understand how you could be a major candidate for president of the United States — Hillary Clinton, or anybody else — and not have an opinion on that issue,” he said.
From the Politico article: Bernie Sanders Accuses Hillary Clinton of ‘Cop-out’ on Trade
And with Singapore and a growing list of other countries on both sides of the Pacific, we are making progress toward finalizing a far-reaching new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The so-called TPP will lower barriers, raise standards, and drive long-term growth across the region. It will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and establish strong protections for workers and the environment. Better jobs with higher wages and safer working conditions, including for women, migrant workers and others too often in the past excluded from the formal economy will help build Asia’s middle class and rebalance the global economy. Canada and Mexico have already joined the original TPP partners. We continue to consult with Japan. And we are offering to assist with capacity building, so that every country in ASEAN can eventually join. We welcome the interest of any nation willing to meet 21st century standards as embodied in the TPP, including China.
– Hillary Clinton, November 2012
One of the most memorable political missteps of my generation came on March 16, 2004 when John Kerry stated in reference to supporting the Iraq War:
I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.
It’s hard to look stupid when running against George W. Bush, but that did the trick. He was branded a flip-flopper and the rest is history.
Naturally, Hillary Clinton will be well aware of that gaffe, and her campaign team sharply focused on not letting it happen to her. The biggest issue on the national stage at the moment on which she could be labeled a “flip-flopper,” is undoubtably the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP.
Although the mainstream, much of the alternative media and her greatest rival, Bernie Sanders, have all been asking her to take a stand on this issue; in reality, she has taken a multitude of public positions on it over the past several years. Jake Tapper lists 45 of them in what is some surprisingly good journalism from CNN.
As you read, you’ll notice she didn’t mince words. Adjectives such as “high- quality,” “innovative,” “cutting-edge,” “critical” and “exciting” were all used generously by Hillary to describe the TPP throughout her tenure as Secretary of State.
Here are a few of her highness’ 45 previous statements on the TPP from the excellent CNN article:
After first dodging the issue, on Sunday in Iowa, Clinton said that “the President should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers, to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible. And if we don’t get it, there should be no deal.”
But as members of the Obama administration can attest, Clinton was one of the leading drivers of the TPP when Secretary of State. Here are 45 instances when she approvingly invoked the trade bill about which she is now expressing concerns:
“We also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we shared perspectives on Japan’s possible participation, because we think this holds out great economic opportunities to all participating nations.”
“…let me offer five big-ticket agenda items that we absolutely have to get right as well. This starts with following through on what is often called our pivot to the Asia Pacific, the most dynamic region in our rapidly changing world. Much of the attention so far has been on America’s increasing military engagement. But it’s important that we also emphasize the other elements of our strategy. In a speech in Singapore last week, I laid out America’s expanding economic leadership in the region, from new trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to stepped-up efforts on behalf of American businesses.”
“On behalf of American businesses.” Not on behalf of the American public; and yes there is a difference, look around you.
“…We are welcoming more of our neighbors, including Canada and Mexico, into the Trans-Pacific Partnership process. And we think it’s imperative that we continue to build an economic relationship that covers the entire hemisphere for the future.”
“And with Singapore and a growing list of other countries on both sides of the Pacific, we are making progress toward finalizing a far-reaching new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The so-called TPP will lower barriers, raise standards, and drive long-term growth across the region. It will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and establish strong protections for workers and the environment. Better jobs with higher wages and safer working conditions, including for women, migrant workers and others too often in the past excluded from the formal economy will help build Asia’s middle class and rebalance the global economy. Canada and Mexico have already joined the original TPP partners. We continue to consult with Japan. And we are offering to assist with capacity building, so that every country in ASEAN can eventually join. We welcome the interest of any nation willing to meet 21st century standards as embodied in the TPP, including China.”
“Will help build Asia’s middle class.” Naturally, there’s nothing in here for the soon to be extinct socio-economic demographic formerly known as America’s middle class.
“That means pushing governments to support high-standard trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to drop harmful protectionist policies. It means playing by the rules, respecting workers, and opening doors qualified women. And most of all, it means doing what you do best: build, hire, and grow.”
“So we’re working on expanding it through a far-reaching, new regional trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would lower trade barriers while raising standards on everything from labor conditions to environmental protection to intellectual property. Both of our countries will benefit. And in fact, economists expect that Vietnam would be among the countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership to benefit the most. And we hope to finalize this agreement by the end of the year.”
“This is a very consequential relationship. The multidimensional growth of our relationship with Singapore is an example of the importance that the United States sets on strengthening our engagement in the Asia Pacific. We are working together on a full range of issues, including moving forward on a high-quality trade agreement through the Trans-Pacific Partnership process.”
“Now let me describe briefly four ways that we want to work with you: first, by lowering trade barriers; second, by strengthening the investment climate; third, by pursuing commercial diplomacy; and fourth, by supporting entrepreneurs. We’re excited about the innovative trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. That would bring economies from across the Pacific, developed and developing alike, into a single trading community, not only to create more growth, but better growth.”
One of America’s great successes of the past century was to build a strong network of relationships and institutions across the Atlantic — an investment that continues to pay off today. One of our great projects in this century will be to do the same across the Pacific. Our Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, our commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are clear demonstrations that we are not only a resident military and diplomatic power in Asia, we are a resident economic power and we are there to stay.”
“And both of us understand the benefits of deeper economic integration and fair trade. Minister Rudd was very influential in helping us to work toward a greater, more relevant involvement in the Pacific-Asian institutions, such as joining the East Asian Summit. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is exploring ways to expand opportunity, is critical, and APEC and ASEAN are two other organizations where we work together.”
The TPP is “critical.” Certainly doesn’t sound like someone on the fence.
“The United States is also making important progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will bring together nine APEC economies in a cutting-edge, next generation trade deal, one that aims to eliminate all trade tariffs by 2015 while improving supply change, saving energy, enhancing business practices both through information technology and green technologies. To date, the TPP includes Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the United States.”
“Now, we’ve seen how bilateral trade benefits both sides. Our challenge now is to broaden those benefits. That means we have to look for even more opportunities to increase trade and investment between us. And it means that we work harder to broaden the benefits of trade even beyond our two countries. Australia is an important partner in negotiating the ambitious new multilateral trade deal called the Trans Pacific Partnership. Over time, we hope to deliver a groundbreaking agreement that connects countries as diverse as Peru and Vietnam with America and Australia to create a new free trade zone that can galvanize commerce, competition, and growth across the entire Pacific region.”
“We are looking for ways to broaden and deepen our economic ties and build on the strong foundation we already have. And we think that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a very exciting opportunity. This multilateral free trade agreement would bring together nine countries located in the Asia Pacific region — New Zealand and the United States, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia. By eliminating most tariffs and other trade barriers, and embracing productive policies on competition, intellectual property, and government procurement, we can spur greater trade and integration not only among the participating countries, but as a spur to the entire region.”
” Well, let me say that we discussed at some length, both the foreign minister and I and then the prime minister and I, the way forward on trade. We are very committed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and New Zealand, again, is playing a leading role. And we want to expedite the negotiations as much as possible. So we are exploring ways that we can try to drive this agenda. I am absolutely convinced that opening up markets in Asia amongst all of us and doing so in a way that creates win-win situations so that people feel that trade is in their interests.”
“We are also pressing ahead with negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an innovative, ambitious multilateral free trade agreement that would bring together nine Pacific Rim countries, including four new free trade partners for the United States, and potentially others in the future. 2011 will be a pivotal year for this agenda. Starting with the Korea Free Trade Agreement, continuing with the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, working together for financial rebalancing at the G-20, and culminating at the APEC Leaders Summit in Hawaii, we have a historic chance to create broad, sustained, and balanced growth across the Asia Pacific and we intend to seize that.”
Just in case you still had any doubt where Hillary stands on the TPP. No matter what she says publicly, she’s always been for it, is for it now, and will be for it as President.
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Prepare to be had.