Cynthia: It’s like deja vu all over again this week. President Obama is playing the Bill Clinton “triangulation” card with Republicans over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and the New England Patriots got caught cheating again.
The only fresh air out of Washington seems to be freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren rallying Democrats to drive a populist hard bargain in a somewhat stinging rebuke of President Obama.
Maybe Sen. Warren can pummel Roger Goodell with equal might. Tom Brady is a union member, after all, and the deflated balls problem seems to be contained to Massachusetts.
Mike: Elizabeth/Bernie v. Barack/Hillary. It’s a preview of 2016! But I cannot fathom why congressional Democrats now want to neuter the President in trade negotiations, while originally sticking their heads in the sand when it came to Iranian negotiations.
Maybe consistency is silly, but you have to give the GOP points — they want the opportunity for up-or-down votes on whatever foreign deals Obama makes. Democrats are mimicking Goodell with these inconsistent reactions, but I think a bipartisan review can recognize the Wells report is full of holes.
Cynthia: The only senator who voted against the Iran deal was a Republican freshman with an over-inflated ego. Hillary Clinton has more experience and expertise on foreign policy than any other candidate running or thinking about running. She doesn’t have to wade into quagmires now with the election 16 months down the road. She’s stated her values about trade deals and is wisely running out the clock.
And to your point about consistency, are Republicans supporting the TPP because of its stringent environmental and labor provisions? Or is it because the expected trade deal imposes a minimum wage and protects workers freedom to form unions?
Mike: Nothing says “leadership” like a presidential candidate avoiding the details of debate on major national issues.
But Republicans aren’t united on this. They are split over the TPP, although we don’t really know what’s on the table. That’s the chicken-or-egg problem of fast track — you can’t see the deal until it’s finally negotiated and ready for a vote. To quote another Democratic woman, we need to pass it to find out what’s in it.
Cynthia: I expect an “independent” GOP-commissioned Wells Report on Hillary hiding the ball any moment.
The real point is America has the opportunity to improve the quality of life for people around the globe through higher wages and better working conditions, while protecting the environment and boosting small business opportunities. Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal editorial boards support a deal on Fast Track. Heck, President Obama and Mitch McConnell are hand in hand on trade.
This legislation is an important litmus test, Mike. Is the U.S. Congress held hostage to protectionist extremists of the far left and the far right? And its success is critical to Obama’s legacy. If the TPP trade deal fails, he’s likely to be so…deflated.
Mike: You’ve hit on the competing principles. Should we work to lift the greatest number of people out of poverty, even if they are not American, or should we work solely to advance the greatest economic gains within our borders? Everyone is “generally aware” that a hypothetical version of the TPP could exist where both those objectives are met.
That is why the Democrats should join with the GOP to give Obama authority — who’d ever have thought I’d write that? And if Obama makes a bad deal, then Congress should shut it down. Call it the Malcolm Butler corollary.
Cynthia: Do you really think it’s more probable than not that Congress can move with the agility of a young cornerback to make a game-winning play at the 1 yard line in the final moments of the Trans-Pacific Partnership bowl?
Mike: If the final deal is bad, absolutely. Becoming a shutdown Congress, Gronk-spiking the TPP, and placing Obama on “Boehner Island” could raise their popularity level and leave America better off.
Cynthia: Banished to Boehner Island? Now there’s a punishment worth crying about.