For any number of reasons, the Trans Pacific Partnership has become a political football across the spectrum. Conservatives have become more leery of free trade deals, liberals look askance at the labor and environmental clauses. As it is a legacy accomplishment for Barack Obama, it has posed an unusual set of problems for Hillary Clinton.
Clinton gave at least 45 speeches pimping the TPP:
“The TPP negotiations are a part of the Obama administration’s so-called pivot to Asia. Early in his presidency, Obama outlined a plan to put more energy and focus into the Asian Pacific, especially in terms of economic development. While serving as Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton expressed support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in at least 45 public speeches, according to a roundup of quotes by CNN.”
She has said over and over the deal is the “gold standard” for trade deals:
CLINTON: “So it’s fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. 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. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”
She repeatedly touted all the good things it was going to do:
CLINTON: “And through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we’re working with Vietnam and seven other nations to lower trade barriers throughout the region, as we ensure the highest standards for labor, environmental, and intellectual property protections. Vietnam was an early entrant to the TPP, and we’re hoping we can finalize the agreement this year. And the economic analysis is that of all the countries that will be participating — Australia, Canada, Mexico, others — of all the countries participating in the TPP, Vietnam stands to benefit the most. So we’re hoping to really see this agreement finalized and then watch it take off.”
Then she became a candidate for president and had to get to the left of Bernie Sanders on trade.
Facing an increasingly tough primary fight against Bernie Sanders last October, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic nominee, tried to distance herself from her push to negotiate the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal during her time atop the State Department (2009-2013). After months of taking positions on the deal that were criticized – even by members of her own party – as vague, Clinton said the deal wasn’t what she’d hoped it might be. Since then she’s held fast on that position, weathering a primary fight that was anything but expected from the populist, self-described Democratic socialist Sanders, who has repeatedly railed against the TPP.”
Now she has taken it a step further. Her publisher is bringing out another edition of
Chairman Hillary’s Little Red Book Hard Choices (actually, I would have expected Bill Clinton to use this name for his memoirs.) Just a Stalin used to airbrush the images of purged comrades from official photos, so has Hillary treated her record on the TPP.
Clinton “deletes” her thoughts on TPP from “Hard Choices” pic.twitter.com/qqSHtB4pLk
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 10, 2016
The account of the TPP has basically been excised.
Also found in the original is a paragraph where Clinton discusses her efforts to encourage other countries in the Americas to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement during a regional conference in El Salvador in June 2009:
So we worked hard to improve and ratify trade agreements with Colombia and Panama and encouraged Canada and the group of countries that became known as the Pacific Alliance — Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile — all open-market democracies driving toward a more prosperous future to join negotiations with Asian nations on TPP, the trans-Pacific trade agreement.
Clinton praises Latin America for its high rate of economic growth, which she revealingly claims has produced “more than 50 million new middle-class consumers eager to buy U.S. goods and services.” She also admits that the region’s inequality is “still among the worst in the world” with much of its population “locked in persistent poverty” — even while the TPP that she has advocated strongly for threatens to exacerbate the region’s underdevelopment, just as NAFTA caused the Mexican economy to stagnate.
Last October, however, she publicly reversed her stance on the TPP under pressure from fellow Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. Likewise, the entire two-page section on the conference in El Salvador where she expresses her support for the TPP is missing from the paperback.
It seems like owning her own record was a “hard choice” Clinton could not make.