Why Are We Shaking Hands Without Knowing The Deal?
(photo from www.cnn.com)
But in the meantime, along comes a reminder that a potentially globe-changing trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is being hammered out by the Obama administration . . . in secret. Yes, secret. And the political party of my choice, the GOP, seems to be perfectly okay with it! What's more, Republicans want to institutionalize the President's secrecy by promoting so-called "fast track" authority. At first blush, TPP stands to be a pretty good deal for South Dakota's principal industry, agriculture, mainly by easing the way for exports of grain and meat. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has endorsed it, as has The National Corn Growers Association.
But as I've noted before, the only problem is that the negotiations have been conducted so secretly that nobody seems to know much about the details of the deal, where the devil resides. I got the sense from our Senator Thune's January 5 op-ed in the Rapid City Journal that he puts concerns about American exporters being on "an equal playing field" with their counterparts and competitors in the global marketplace at the top of his priorities for 2015. Who can take exception to that old canard? My Q for the Senator regarding this is: How carefully is he following a deal that is being shaped up in such intense secrecy? There is much to be concerned about in deals of this magnitude, and congressional Democrats have been resisting giving President Obama "fast track" trade authority that would give Obama the right to sign off on it with only cursory review by Congress, which would have to give a "yes" or "no" vote without any chance to amend the deal.
My Q to Senator Thune, who conspicuously signed the notorious "Letter to Iran" that has raised such a ruckus is this: Now that you and your office have explained to Kevin Woster in
This Is Big. We're All Affected. So What's Up With It?
(photo from www.uprisingradio.org)
Dems can't walk away from this without taking similar heat. As all hot and bothered as they've been about that "Letter to Iran," you have to assume that they're okay with Obama exercising executive secrecy in the Iranian negotiations. Yet, as okay as they are about the Iranian gambit, Dems have been most vociferous about criticizing presidential secrecy in the TPP negotiations. Though Obama has apparently backed off the "fast track" argument, John Thune continues to press for presidential authority to close the deal. This is more than a "strange bedfellows" juxtaposition. It's more a demonstration of the outright hypocrisy that's being applied by both parties to each situation. Apparently you're only okay with secrecy except when you're not okay with secrecy. Got it? Um-huh. Got it. As one wag smarmily put it the other day (not so facetiously), public approval of Congress has now reached a barely discernible level. Gee, I wonder why.