Unlike the economic illiterates who vote in Democrat primaries (and/or for Donald Trump), I think the TPP is a good idea. If you want to know why, you can read some of my friend Scott Lincicome’s work on the subject – but defending TPP is not the point of this post.
The point is that there is a reason Democrat primary voters are having an exceptionally hard time choking down the idea of another Clinton in the White House, and that is the obvious extent to which the Clintons’ ideology and allegiance is transparently for sale. The Washington Examiner today reports on the latest example:
Former President Bill Clinton raked in millions of dollars from special interest groups in the weeks just before and after his wife announced her presidential campaign, including $325,000 from a group that pushed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Hillary Clinton came out against the trade deal in October under pressure from her rival, Bernie Sanders, and his progressive supporters. Sanders denounced the agreement early in his campaign, arguing the deal benefits major corporations at the expense of American jobs.
Clinton’s support for TPP was a major liability for her early on in the campaign and was one of the single biggest factors that led to the rise of Bernie Sanders in the polls. Early on in the process, Clinton expected to breeze through this primary without a serious challenged from anyone, much less Sanders, so she felt comfortable sticking with her pro-TPP position. Only after it became clear that Sanders posed a legitimate threat did she recant in public.
Many Democrat voters perceived – correctly, I am sure – that Clinton was less than a genuine convert on this issue, and that after being elected, she would continue her evil free-trade-supporting ways. One of the specific issues they wanted to know is what, specifically, Clinton had promised to these groups in exchange for her massive speaking fees:
Hillary Clinton gave six paid speeches in the three months of 2015 before launching her campaign. She has defended her acceptance of huge speaking fees, which became a lightning rod for criticism on the trail, by arguing she was not thinking of running for president when she delivered the speeches.
However, the former secretary of state gave her final paid speech, for which she earned $260,000, less than a month before she officially kicked off her campaign.
Well, if you want to know what she said and whether she promised to be for deals like the TPP after she became President, then tough luck, because Hillary’s not releasing transcripts of those speeches.