Unexamined Premises

Make Obama's Secret Trade Deal the Hill the GOP Establishment Dies On

I'm thinking...

I’m thinking…

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Grand Old Party and take them out. If conservatives — who are just now realizing the extent of the bait-and-switch double-cross that the loathsome Mitch McConnell and Weepy John Boehner have pulled on them — must now make common cause with their “friends” across the aisle in the interests of recapturing the Party of Reagan, so be it. Sometimes the enemy of my enemy really is my friend.

That the Republican Establishment has lined up in lockstep with President Obama really tells you all you need to know about the minority wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Government — ever bigger, ever more secretive, ever more disdainful of American sovereignty and of the voters who put them in office. The measure has already passed in McConnell’s Senate, so its fate is now up to Boehner’s House:

House leaders, confident but not yet certain they have the support to pass sweeping trade legislation, are aiming to bring the package to a floor vote by the end of this week — even as they rush to resolve a last-minute hangup over how to pay for aid to displaced workers. The vote to grant President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a massive Pacific Rim trade deal will be extremely tight by all accounts. Senior aides and lawmakers in GOP leadership are intent on scheduling the vote at the moment they believe they have the votes locked up — ideally by Friday, to spare supportive lawmakers the possibility of another weekend of attacks by trade foes back in their districts.

“We’re doing very well, we’re close,” Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who’s been at the forefront of the GOP effort to round up support, said Tuesday of the current vote count.

Just what you want to hear from the man who was the party’s most recent vice-presidential nominee: the same guy who let a grinning, jabbering, gibbering Joe Biden smack him around the ring in their one debate and never once threw a punch.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been holding small meetings with lawmakers in his office as he seeks to maximize Republican “yes” votes — and he huddled late Tuesday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to address some unresolved spending and procedural issues. House Republicans will hold a closed-door meeting on Wednesday morning at which the trade vote is expected to be a major topic of conversation.

The White House, meanwhile, is working with House GOP leadership to solidify Democratic support. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s operation has developed a whip list of at least 22 Democratic supporters of so-called Trade Promotion Authority, and they have worked with the White House and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) to identify other lawmakers believed to still be in play.

Sources involved in canvassing for support say from 25 to 30 Democrats must vote for the package for it to pass. Ryan, Scalise and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chief deputy majority whip, have persuaded many undecided GOP lawmakers to support the legislation.

This is what comes of putting bloodless men of no imagination in charge of important American institutions. For Boehner especially, a measure of success (proof that Republicans can “govern”) is how much legislation he can push through the sausage machine at the behest of his betters. This is the part of politics he likes:

Behind the scenes, Boehner and Ryan are consulting with Pelosi, the White House and other senior Democrats to avoid capping Medicare spending to pay for financial assistance to workers who lose their jobs to free trade, aid formally known as Trade Adjustment Assistance…. A GOP leadership aide said “there is more work to be done, but this is process.


And “process” is all the GOP Establishment understands. A defeat of the trade deal in the House will help finish it — despite what George Will says, it’s a terrible thing — and deal a wounding blow to an arrogant, petulant president who’s long had it coming. The very fact that the language of the deal, and the scope of increasing presidential fiat authority, is secret speaks to how potentially awful it is. But never mind that, says Will, sounding like Willard Mitt Romney: jobs, jobs, jobs!

The economic challenge is to generate economic growth sufficient to restore vigor and upward mobility to an underemployed America, sustaining national security and entitlements as, every day, another 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare. The constitutional problem is how to restore institutional equilibrium by bringing the presidency back within the restraints the Founders devised with the separation of powers.

Only conservatives can turn economic policy away from the self-defeating aim of redistribution and toward growth. This goal would be advanced by the trade agreement among the 12 nations who together account for 37 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and one-third of world trade. Defeating TPA, and thus the agreement, is a service most House Democrats will perform for a reactionary faction, organized labor. Defeat would, however, make economic dynamism even more elusive, punishing the nation without meaningfully disciplining the president.

“Meaningfully disciplining” Obama should have begun on Day One of his presidency. Like the two most classless boxing champions of the modern era — Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard — he’s been allowed to strut and dance across the ring, taunting and bullying his opponents, without ever once having been knocked on his keister. Yes, the American economy, as Will notes, is still dismal, the “recovery” largely a fabrication of Obama’s stenographers in the media. But is this deal — which possibly includes a Trojan Horse on immigration — the way to fix it?

The conservative caucus in the House should ally completely with the radical Democrats and defeat this monstrosity. The fight against the “progressive” Left will go on forever, but the battle against the Republican leadership needs to be brought to a swift, stunning and decisive conclusion. It’s not until weak-minded collaborators like McConnell and Boehner are gone that the real war can be joined. As the National Journal story on Ryan linked above begins:

Before they were allies, they were campaign-trail foes. Yet, since taking the gavel of the influential Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Paul Ryan has emerged as President Obama’s most convincing messenger on Capitol Hill on behalf of a free-trade agreement that would be a big boost to the president’s legislative legacy.

Not much I can add to that. If the young turks, some of whom came in on the 2014 wave election, who struck at Boehner but failed to bring him down as speaker don’t take this opportunity topple him, then we’ll know they’ve been co-opted already. And that we’re in even more trouble that we thought.