The first day of the Democratic National Convention is over—and the Trans-Pacific Partnership was probably the major punching bag of the night. There is vicious opposition within the Democratic Party over this free trade agreement. An agreement that Hillary Clinton once called the gold standard for free trade deals. She has since walked back her praise. Yet, Donald Trump criticized free trade as well, and is actively trying to court Sanders supporters based on the issue of trade.
The anti-TPP sentiment is stronger here than on any other issue that's been mentioned.— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) July 26, 2016
Sanders forced Clinton to the left on this issue, so what else could explain Clinton’s shift on TPP, besides sensing the political winds were not too favorable. Well, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm had a rather weak explanation after the Republican National Convention wrapped last week: she does what her boss tells her.
Granholm did add that trade is an important issue in her home state of Michigan, and that it’s important that the country adopt fairer trade deals, much like what Trump is saying on the stump. Granholm tried to highlight Clinton’s agenda on trade, which CNN’s Chris Cuomo interjected by saying, “he’s [Trump] never has his hands on trade policy and she [Clinton] has.”
“Well, alright, so—she worked…she supported her boss in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but when it came down to her evaluation of it—when she was gone—she said I’m not supporting that. But she’s going to go against the person who appointed her to the position, she’s going to do what her boss tells her,” replied Granholm.
“That’s leadership?” asked Cuomo.
Granholm said that you don’t go against the person who appointed you; otherwise you wouldn’t be in the cabinet very long. Well, yes and no. Yes, in general, that might be true, but this is Hillary Clinton. She’s a former First Lady, U.S. senator, and wife to one of the icons of the Democratic Party. She could probably have voiced an opinion or two about pretty much anything that came across her desk. Moreover, firing Clinton would cause more of a headache with endless stories about Clinton and Obama duking it out again post-2008 election. It’s a media whirlpool that’s simply not worth it. As for TPP, if she felt this deal was bad for the United States, then Clinton should’ve voiced her concerns as our secretary of state to President Obama. She didn’t because she may have truly felt that TPP was good for the country. She felt the North American Free Trade Agreement was good for the country when Bill signed it into law. The Colombia Free Trade Agreement looked even better once some petro checks from financer Frank Giustra were made out to the Clinton Foundation. At the time, both Clinton and Obama were against the agreement due to concerns over infringement of labor union rights, among other things. Giustra is now on the non-profits’ board of directors.
Yet, we all know Clinton changed her position because it was friendlier to the Democratic base. The thing is that Granholm just can’t say that her candidate flip-flopped out of political convenience. Then again, with the DNC leaked emails, they have bigger fish to fry.