Persident Obama and Japan Prime Minister Abe
Persident Obama and Japan Prime Minister Abe

Just saw President Obama on the Chris Matthews show making the case for the Trans-Pacific free-trade agreement… It was not an Obama I was accustomed to seeing. It was eerie — he kept talking, and I kept agreeing with what he said. I’ve never experienced that before. I wondered if I was hallucinating.

I suspect that most Republicans will agree with him, too. Indeed, when it comes to getting fast-track negotiating authority through Congress, Obama probably can count on far more Republican support than Democratic.

Good for Obama. Those aren’t words you often hear from me on this blog. When the president supports win-win economic policies, I am happy to back him.

So, if there’s a vote in Congress, and if the Trans-Pacific trade agreement wins support mainly from Republicans, what does that do to the narrative that Republicans hate Obama so much that they’ll shoot down anything he proposes? Perhaps a new narrative will emerge. Perhaps the country will come to understand that Republicans are not opposed to Obama — just (most of) his policies. If Obama were willing to triangulate like President Clinton did, perhaps he could carve out bipartisan support for his initiatives and we could get something accomplished in this country. That would be something to celebrate.


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19 responses to “Obama, I Hardly Knew Ye”

  1. jesus h keeeerist – Bacon!

    you mean he’s not a mama-loving socialist after all?

    The illegal Muslim from Kenya otherwise known as the POTUS said: ” we cannot hide from global competition”

    and – ” our workers have to become better educated to compete successfully against their counterparts in a 21st century economy.”

    so what do the Repubs want to do ? kill Common Core, of course.

    so don’t get too enthused just yet… we’re still dealing with crap-load of knuckle-dragging neanderthals who will no doubt – put yet another ObamaCare repeal in the Trade Bill no doubt….


    so.. how about that Obama… he’s tricked Bacon into believing him!


    1. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

      The secret to understanding that is by analogy:

      Republicans/Conservatives love families. But will not spend a penny supporting a needy parent. They are also very firm believers in the institution of marriage, as long as it is between a man and a woman and a woman and a woman and a wo…

  2. virginiagal2 Avatar

    I’m not much of a fan of fast track for TPP. The provisions leaked through Wikileaks show a pretty hard skew in favor of large multinationals.

    It isn’t just trade – people think this is just about tariffs – it isn’t. It gets into our enforcement of intellectual property law, environmental laws, labeling laws, labor laws, immigration law – basically freezing our ability to regulate as we see fit.

    I’m not a fan of random regulation, but I’m also not a fan of handcuffing ourselves. In fact, the proposal allows corporations a private right to challenge US laws in court, and to get regs set aside.

    If it was going through Congress, or at least available for public view, I wouldn’t be so worried. As it is, the big corporations have had input, but the public hasn’t.

  3. Amazing how a trip to London and observing bird crap on icons of philosophers of freedom and liberty can put one’s thoughts sadly into suspension–and see the world fresh thru larryg’s eyes…

    1. I’d always understood that England was socialism on steroids and could not understand why a bastion of Conservatism would want to see the fine example of modern civilization if it had anything to do with that nasty socialism.

      I mean England is one of those Agenda 21 countries, right?

  4. “…one of those Agenda 21 countries…”
    What do you/what does that mean?
    Please inform/illuminate.

  5. I guess you are taking a nap at this time/for this definition…
    And here I thought , I would get the definite answer.

  6. Jim:

    If this goes through you might have to start paying for the porn you watch on the internet!

    Obama is a buffoon who is deeply into the pockets of big business. Say what you want but George W Bush sent Bernie Ebbers and other dot com miscreants to prison. Barry OBlowhard took a federal payoff from big banks to stifle whistleblowers and keep their executives in pinstripes rather than prison stripes. Now, he’s cooking a secret deal to help his friends in Hollywood.

    1. A valid issue. Hopefully, it would get flagged during the fast-track review by Congress.

      1. virginiagal2 Avatar

        Problem is, fast track means up or down vote only.

        So if it gets flagged, you can’t fix it. You can only vote yeah or nay.

  7. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

    Republican/conservative priorities are truly fascinating:

    1. Negotiate trade with tremendous impact on our jobs and almost no oversight from Congress – No Problem;

    2. Ask for authorization to use force without geographical or chronological restrictions (that is, go to war against everyone forever) – No Problem (actually this is not accurate: the Republicans are upset that Obama does want a 3 year limit to wage war against the Islamic State. They want no limits);

    3. Take a chance on peace (with Iran?) – THAT IS A MAJOR ISSUE! Absolutely UNACCEPTABLE! Why, that better be grounds for impeachment and everything else.

    Perhaps are fellow Republicans and Conservatives here can explain why peace is unacceptable but perpetual war is. And please do leave out the WMD and mushroom clouds – we’ve been down that road before.

    1. NoVaShenandoah, Just can’t get over the fact that the Republicans are actually siding with Obama for a change, can you? Heh heh heh.

      1. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

        I must say, it is confusing.

        Just like 2 office mates I have who are usually exact opposites. They even argue when they agree. But there have been a couple of times when they truly agreed … and I did not know how to react! 😉

      2. up until this point – the GOP has been saying that Obama loves unions and gets his voting and financial support from Unions.

        Clearly they were wrong, eh?

        Don’t worry – Bacon might be a conservative LITE but make no mistake – he’s on the same clown bus as the whacko-birds…. they just make him sit in the back.


  8. Jim, I appreciate your revelation, but Obama’s trade position should have come as no surprise. What has always been a surprise to me, from reading “Audacity of Hope,” and his U. of Chicago Law School teaching experience (where I happen to have gone years before) is that he has not been perceived as more a believer in free markets and a Burkean conservative than a doctrinaire liberal. We don’t, of course, have many (if any) such conservatives in the Republican or, of course, Democratic parties. Obamacare is right out of Bismark’s social program.

    Where one (or at least I) can be critical concerns Obama’s foreign policy regarding Ukraine and Syria, but that’s another topic.

  9. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Good grief, Bacon. Redistribution of wealth is the liberal’s goal, whether through the U.S. tax code or through a trade agreement, right? I heard a discussion of this (CNBC?) pointing out that previous trade deals and free trade in general have done more to alleviate WORLD poverty than any other approach. Entire countries now have manufacturing sectors and service sectors and middle class lifestyles that did not exist 30 years ago because we’ve opened our markets and they can beat their U.S. competitors on price. Call a computer help line and who are you talking to?

    Now, I for one don’t believe that the current middle class malaise in this country, the very real erosion in incomes among blue collar and lower white collar employees, is entirely due to free trade policies. But it has had an impact. I’m not siding with Big Labor on this but I can understand why someone who is fighting world poverty would be attracted to free trade and someone trying to protect the American middle class would be dubious.

    Then there are the national defense benefits. I mean, really, why would the Chinese ever attack this country directly and kill all their customers? I’m in agreement on the benefits of free trade, but I’m not blind to the downside. It is kind of like what they say about democracy — the worst form of government, until you consider all the others. Free trade’s trade offs are better than the dangers of true protectionism.

    1. virginiagal2 Avatar

      Thing is, though, the drawbacks to this agreement are generally outside of the scope of what most ordinary people consider free trade.

      Most people think tariffs and the elimination thereof. And most people are for that.

      Free trade is not generally seen as something that can limit the scope of your labor laws, your environmental laws, your public health laws, your intellectual property laws, and your immigration laws.

      But those “non-trade” rules make up most of TPP. And companies will have an individual right to sue under them, to set aside regulations that they feel unduly restrict trade, or get paid damages.

    2. I think folks who are well past getting their basic education – and in middle career – especially those in jobs that are subject to going overseas – are rightly concerned.

      It’s not just factory workers – it’s any job that is down in academic skill from jobs that require 21st century education.

      So many people who have lost their jobs are feel endangered sign up for social security disability that it’s overwhelmed and now in deficit – and making it up (I think) via Social Security itself – which is not good.

      To Obama’s credit – he has advocated “free” community college, and other jobs and education programs and emphasis on the importance of core academic skills in grade school … academic standards like NCLB and COmmon Core –

      Education is paramount in competing for 21st century skills but a lot of people don’t have any confidence in Govt’s approach to do it will actually help them , the unions do not trust that people will get jobs.

      Republicans especially love the idea of free trade and capitalism but they seem to not care about workers – just the folks with enough money to operate a company and reduce labor costs and sell to markets overseas.

      Obama knows the truth – and that’s you cannot hid from global markets but I do give him credit – he tells the truth about education – that many lack the necessary education and will have to re-train – and that’s hugely intimidating to people who know their educations are not excellent.

      Obama also knows our public schools have to change.. that we are not graduating career-ready kids..except for the ones that go to 4-yr college and even those tend to go for the less rigorous curriculum…

      The key is education – more rigorous – and demanding – our kids will have to attain proficiency levels equivalent to Europe and Japan.

      the terrible truth is – we have gotten lazy … we like simple problems.. we don’t like having to dig deeper for more understanding. we seek College Degrees that are “not too hard”. More and more higher paying jobs like doctors in this Country go to folks with foreign surnames.. and the
      younger ones are totally technology proficient with computers and smartphones and specialized machines..

      We send our kids to school and want them to be “happy” more than on a mission…. but make no mistake – kids in other countries are on a mission these days.

      I’m just surprised that folks were surprised at Obama’s thinking because it’s been clear – especially about education – from the beginning . The only thing they did not know was his specific attitudes toward free trade – which don’t surprise me at all. because he’s said over and over that education is critical in a global economy …. not sure what others who were surprised were thinking …. maybe that “education” is just a standard “liberal” idea?

      certainly the animosity from the GOP over Common Core – without them advocating a real alternative besides “local school s – local control” … and in general opposition to standards is inexplicable.

      So the GOP is all for global trade but they do not seem to have a real plan for education… yet another lack of a viable alternative to things they oppose.

      people have Smart phones will hardly a clue how they work – but they are driving innovation and change in just about anything business.

  10. sorry about the really numerous “gross” grammatical errors above.

    you can tell I was one of those kids who got moved from school to school back when there was even less standards for education!

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