Hillary Clinton slaps Barack Obama in the face over TPP.

Now, I understand that people have different opinions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). That’s all right. But what’s very important right now is that people not project their own opinions on this news:

Just days after the U.S. and 11 nations released a monumental trade deal that still faces a fight in Congress, Hillary Clinton says she does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Speaking with Judy Woodruff Wednesday, the Democratic presidential candidate said that as of today, given what she knows of the deal, it does not meet her bar for creating jobs, raising wages for Americans and advancing national security.

…and instead understand that, for Hillary Clinton, this has nothing to do with jobs, wages, and/or national security. Seriously. Don’t talk about ‘broken clocks,’ don’t say ‘well, she at least got one thing right,’ certainly don’t say ‘Gee, now I have to oppose the blessed thing.’ In short, do not assume that this is an honest or principled position from her. Doing so will eventually burn you.

Why?  Because Hillary Clinton doesn’t actually care one way or the other about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She’s just coming out against it this publicly because Barack Obama is publicly in favor of it. Oh, sure, Bernie Sanders hates the TPP himself, and Hillary’s sweating Bernie Sanders these days. But she’s probably sweating Joe Biden more, and Joe Biden’s reportedly on the cusp of declaring a run. And right now Joe Biden is more or less committed to favoring the TPP, because, again, Barack Obama is publicly in favor of it and if Joe Biden runs for office he’ll be running as Obama’s third term.  Best to keep him looking as fringe as possible by highlighting how much progressives naturally hate free trade deals, yes?

Also, let’s be honest: Barack Obama only supports the TPP because it’s his trade deal. In an alternate timeline where [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] won in 2008 and Obama was still the junior Senator from Illinois, the man is at this very minute fulminating against free trade.  And Senator Hillary Clinton is probably arguing the other side, largely because that timeline’s President McCain would have reached out to her early in order to get the trade deal past Congress in the first place.

None of this means that anybody out there has to suddenly change their opinions on the TPP, simply because Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama have all taken a position based on sheer political expediency.  But – and this is an important ‘but’ – there can be a distressing tendency among activists sometimes to ‘take what they can get.’  In this particular case, what they are getting is the political equivalent of a variety of rotten tree limbs.  I genuinely suggest that nobody risk their weight on them; you’ll just end up on the ground with a broken collarbone, and a pain-flecked feeling of shame.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Rooting for injuries is fine.