Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Obama vs Warren

Obama vs. Warren:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and

Fast-tracking Presidential Trade Authority

I've generally supported President Obama since the beginning, seeing him as the best candidate available in both of the last two Presidential elections.  I didn't always agree with him, but he was still the best available in both national election cycles.

Now comes another time I must disagree with him, at least in principle if not on substance.  The Washington Post reported today, Tuesday, May 12, 2015:

'Recently, Obama grew tired of Warren’s tactics on the trade bill. The president is particularly irked by Warren’s representations that the Pacific trade deal is being held in secret, when members of Congress are allowed to review its current stages in a classified room in the Capitol basement...

... “On most issues, she and I deeply agree,” Obama told Yahoo News while at Nike’s headquarters in Oregon trumpeting the trade deals. “On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”'

So Congresscritters can see the details of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) bill and Presidential fast-tracking authority , but We the People can't?  I'm truly disappointed with Obama's stand on this.  If it's such a great deal, why can't we see the details before it comes up for a vote?  Why the secrecy?  What is in this bill that he doesn't want us to see until it has become a fait accompli?  Clearly that is the secrecy that Senator Warren is referring to, and I see Obama's response as an attempt to deflect from Warren's position.

It's been said that President Obama is playing chess while his opponents are playing checkers.  Could it be that he now has an opponent who carries her own chess board and pieces?  Only time will tell. 

But even that is beside the point. Let the People see what is in the bill under consideration, before it is voted on.  We've been here before, most notoriously in 2001 when the so-called "PATRIOT Act" was ramrodded through both houses of Congress for G.W. Bush to sign. 
Granted, this bill isn't on that level, but it's still being touted as an important piece of legislation. 

But the current secrecy is a clear violation of the principle of openness in government, which is one of the things that candidate Obama promised before he was elected. And if, for some reason, he thinks this bill should not be made public before it's passed, well then, how about telling us why the secrecy is necessary?  That might go a long way toward ending, or at least mitigating, the hostility that is currently building between the Senator and the President, and perhaps even prevent a civil war within the Democratic Party. 

Don Rice Jr.

© 2015 Donald C. Rice Jr.