Fast Track to Nowhere

The idea behind “fast track” trade authority is simple. Congress agrees to give the President authority to negotiate a trade treaty to which the Senate may only vote straight up or down — no amendments. Senators often have parochial interests, which could result in enough “helpful” amendments (i.e., protectionist clauses) to scuttle any free trade agreement.

And time was, that’s what presidents asked for and that’s what presidents got.

With that in mind, read from this story about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s one-woman war against President Obama’s request for fast track authority in the Pacific:

The president, who wants expedited negotiating power to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress, said last week that Warren’s claims were “absolutely wrong.”

Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and prominent liberal voice, stuck to her argument in an interview published on Monday with a Washington Post blog, saying Obama should release details of the Pacific trade talks so legal experts can determine if a pact could be used to weaken U.S. bank rules.

“If the president is so confident it’s a good deal, he should declassify the text and let people see it before asking Congress to tie its hands on fixing it,” Warren said in the interview with the Plum Line blog.

A classified trade deal? Pardon my English, but are you fucking kidding me? Mitch McConnell ought to get a close look at the working end of a pitchfork for even considering such a thing, much less doing his weaselly best to push it through the Senate.

If there are classifiable military items in this agreement, they belong in a separate bill to be considered separately — and open to amendments. But this is supposed to be about trade, about the very lifeblood of our once-great, once-capitalist country.

Kill this thing with fire and don’t bother to start over until there’s a new resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in place of the rezident who’s been occupying that address since January 20, 2009.