Chamber of Commerce expects Clinton to support TPP as president
by Gaius Publius
If Hillary Clinton is elected president, will she support TPP anyway? Clinton has been pro-"free trade" deals, including very pro-TPP until just recently, when she announced her opposition.
How strong is that opposition? Tom Donohue, chief of the powerful pro-business lobby Chamber of Commerce, thinks it's not very strong at all. He expects, if elected, she will follow her husband's earlier lead (he actually brought that up) and get "practical."
Here's a clip:
Chamber of Commerce chief Tom Donohue explaining to viewers on the Bloomberg wealth channel how the wealthy plan to pass TPP despite public opposition (source). That's the beautiful snow of a Davos resort in the background.
This is the essence of money talking about money at a place where money's private jets have gathered (the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland). From the Bloomberg News introduction:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue discusses his stance and outlook for the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. He speaks from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on "Bloomberg ‹GO›."
In the conversation above, note first that the reason he thinks the Senate can't approve TPP until after the election is that too many Republican senators would be made vulnerable by voting to approve it. Before the election those senators couldn't vote for TPP and still preserve their seats. After the election, or in a lame duck session, that restriction is lifted.
In other words, he knows and admits that even Republican voters hate TPP. But the wealthy want it anyway, and they're willing to wait a few months to get it. Even if it wins by "two votes," as he explains above, it still wins, as do they.
Second, he thinks Clinton will revert back to the family pattern — remember, "two for the price of one" was a Clinton claim — and become "practical" once she gains power and frees herself from having to make promises to voters. Listen starting at 2:45 in the clip (my transcript and underscored emphasis):
Host 1: "Why aren't you in some trouble whether it's a Democrat or a Republican? It's not just Trump. Hillary Clinton has said she's against TPP.
Host 2: "Bernie Sanders!"
Donohue: "Bernie Sanders is one deal. What Hillary Clinton is doing in this primary is trying to run one step faster than the senator from Massachusetts [does he mean Warren, or is this a misspeak?], who has been threatening her and pushing her to take these far far progressive, very very left steps.
"If she were to get nominated, if she were to be elected, I have a hunch that what runs in the family is, you get a little practical if you ever get the job."
Host 1: "We used to call it triangulation, right, back in the old Clinton days."
For me, the key word is "hunch." Because until Clinton releases the text of her speeches to all corporate clients, and not just to the banks, you'll never know if his "hunch" didn't start with someone whispering in his ear, "Don't worry, Tom. You know I don't mean it." After all, the list of Clinton ties to money goes on and on. For an excellent recent analysis of the cross-pollination of gifts and favors, read this, "The Clinton System," from the New York Review of Books.
Donohue is not no one — he and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are each a very big someone in the world of money, a world that both Clintons have a united and decades-long familiarity with. Just a very small taste of what's in the NYRB article, this paragraph (my emphasis):
In March 2011, for example, Bill Clinton was paid $175,000 by the Kuwait
America Foundation to be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at its
annual Washington gala. Among the sponsors were Boeing and the
government of Kuwait, through its Washington embassy. Shortly before,
the State Department, under Hillary Clinton, had authorized a $693
million deal to provide Kuwait with Boeing’s Globemaster military
transport aircraft. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton had the
statutory duty to rule on whether proposed arms deals with foreign
governments were in the US’s national interest.
That's both damning and given the way of the world, at least ours, par for the course. A $175,000 "thank you" to one of the Clintons after the other removed the last hurdle to a nearly $700 million deal involving the same two parties — that's some "system," as the article calls it. There are countless examples of this in the NYRB piece. Coincidence? You decide.
Does Donohue think he knows something?
I think Donohue above is dropping one of those "nudge-nudge" hints to the wealthy, a hint that once they get rid of Sanders (they being the bipartisan insider establishment that runs this beneficial game), everything will continue as before. It sounds to me like he knows something, and he's very comfortable passing it on to Bloomberg viewers interested in the Davos tales.
My suggestion: If you want to avoid another 2009 neoliberal hangover from policies you didn't vote for ... the time to act is now, in the primary. I strongly believe we won't get another chance like this in our lifetime. In 2024 we'll be in an entirely remade world.
Speaking of people who know something...
Ms. Warren in the quote above — she maybe knows something too. TPP signing is due this week. Watch this space.
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