There is much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth in liberal circles today. It is reminiscent of so many other moments during Barack Obama’s presidency. It’s like a game of paranoid telephone. Some pundit somewhere warns that if Obama does something, something else might happen that would be bad. Before you know it, that has become “Obama did this and the bad thing is going to happen!” Not long after, it is “Obama, in league with the Devil himself, has opened the gates of hell and demons are pouring out!!!” Remember when Obama made a deal with Republicans to extend the debt ceiling and completely caved to all their demands, destroying everything that liberals have fought and died for over the years? Of course you don’t. As soon as it became obvious that he had completely snowed the Republicans, tricking them into cutting all their own pet programs while leaving ours intact, you completely forgot your panic and moved on to the next imaginary crisis that was about to be caused by something Obama might do.
The latest liberal Chicken Little episode concerns Fast Track and the TPP negotiations. Based on an 18 month old Wikileaks release of a preliminary draft of one section of the treaty, liberals have decided, en masse, that Obama has gone over to the dark side and created NAFTA on steroids to appease his corporate masters. First of all, none of the people screaming about this treaty know what is in it. They just know what they are afraid might be in it, or, in the case of certain politicians, what it might possibly contain that they can use to frighten uninformed voters into sending them money.
People complain that the negotiations are secret. There is a very good reason they are secret. Negotiations involve give and take, asking for more than you want so you can come close to what you need. Giving in order to get. They would be absolutely impossible with 350 million Americans kibitzing from the sidelines. That is why we elected the people who are doing this.
But, you say, Obama wants congress to pass Fast Track and let him have whatever he wants with no oversight! No, grasshopper, that is not what Fast Track is. There will be 60 days, two whole months, during which every single word of the treaty will be public. We will all be able to go through it, see what is actually in it, pick it apart, analyze it, and, if it really sucks, ask our representatives to vote against it, because in the end, they will still get to vote on it. Of course they can’t amend it. It is a negotiated treaty. Amending it is tantamount to throwing it in the trash and starting negotiations over again. Fast Track just makes them own up to the fact that they want to kill it.
“What about all those patent protections for the evil corporations?”, you say, referring back to that 18 month old preliminary draft of one small portion of the deal, “What about that?” Don’t you want American companies to be protected from copyright violation by China, and other Asian countries known for their intellectual property theft? Should we just eliminate patent protection? Really?
“What about companies being able to sue the United States (or other countries) If their business is damaged by local laws? Doesn’t that threaten our sovereignty?” This is also from that 18 month old preliminary draft, so we don’t yet know exactly what is in it, but there are provisions like it in every trade deal in existence, and the US has never been successfully sued. Remember, this will be pored over and vetted by every single member of congress and their staff. If the sky is really falling, they can vote it down.
I voted for this president because I trusted him to do what is in the best interests of our country, and because I think his ideals are significantly in line with my own. I see no benefit in speculation as to what might happen if he takes some imaginary action. Judging from the way he has conducted his presidency thus far, I think we are in good hands.