Hillary Clinton must be psychic, because during the first Democratic presidential debate, she claimed to have read a government document that has not yet been made available for the public to read.
When Anderson Cooper asked Clinton about her reversal of her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she replied, “I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards.”
There are two problems with what she said.
First, the final form of the trade agreement has not yet been released to the public for viewing, and as PolitiFact points out, the negotiations pertaining to the agreement have been conducted in secret.
Indeed, over at the The MaddowBlog (of the Rachel Maddow Show), Isaac-Davy Aronson writes, “Given that the White House spin on the final deal is so good, why come out against it now? Why not wait until the text is released and then claim the fine print leads her to reject it?”
In a report for National Review, political reporter Joel Gehrke reports the following:
A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest how Clinton could have reviewed the deal given that the text of the agreement has not yet been made public. “Yeah, I noticed that, too,” Earnest said. “It certainly is relevant for you and others to say the details matter in this instance. We would agree; that’s why we spent more than five years negotiating the agreement. And we look forward to, as soon as possible, being able to put forward the text of the agreement so that everybody can review it and make their own judgments.”
In short, Hillary Clinton could not have already read the TPP in its final form.
Second, in her response to the debate question, Clinton said, “I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard.” Except that she didn’t say “I hoped.” While visiting Australia as Secretary of State, Clinton gave a speech in which she said, “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.”
In his post on the MaddowBlog, Isaac-Davy Aronson gives the real reason why Clinton is opposed to the TPP: “Hillary Clinton is now running in a Democratic primary in which the most motivated voters are virulently opposed to this deal, and labor unions, an indispensable source of money and organizing for any Democratic nominee, have made it their number one issue.”
So, Hillary Clinton supported the TPP until she learned that her support of it would cost her primary votes and the support of labor unions.
Clinton being disingenuous about the TPP has been noticed by people on the political left. In his closing comments, Isaac-Davy Aronson writes the following:
On other issues, including gay marriage, Clinton has claimed a genuine evolution in thinking. Why not say she used to support TPP but after traveling the country and listening to Democratic voters, she has decided she cannot support it after all? Being a politician and making decisions on the basis of politics is not inherently a bad thing. Many Clinton supporters see her willingness to accede to political realities as evidence of her acumen and ability to win and to get things done. But unions and progressives may wonder why Hillary Clinton is not making more of an effort to telegraph that she is a genuine ally.
To answer Aronson’s question, perhaps Hillary Clinton isn’t a genuine ally of TPP opponents. Perhaps she will say anything in order to get elected. After all, she claimed to have already read something that she couldn’t have already read.