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Obama's Dishonest Free-Trade Demogoguery

1:00 PM, Sep 6, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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For a while now, Obama's been mentioning in speeches that there are free-trade agreements that need to be ratified as away to create jobs and spur growth... while blaming Republicans for the hold up. Today, Mitch McConnell blasts Obama in the Washington Post for his blatant dishonesty on the issue:

Publicly, the White House claims to support all three agreements [free-trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama]. It even said in July that Republicans are the ones standing in the way of ratification. But this is absurd because Congress can’t ratify trade agreements until the president submits them for congressional approval. He knows as well as I do that once he does, all three would garner wide bipartisan support.

What’s the real holdup? For three years, the administration has delayed finalizing these deals because unions have been extracting concessions in exchange for their support. Early on, they demanded further concessions and political reforms from our trading partners, all of which have been satisfied. Now, they’re demanding taxpayer funds for worker training programs that many believe are not only duplicative and costly but may not even be effective. Still, I and others have told the president we are prepared to allow this program to move ahead for a vote as a sign of good faith and to move the trade deals forward.

Hmm. So it seems that the hold up is really unions, who -- coincidentally, I'm sure -- Obama and the Democratic party's largest source of campaign cash, and just happen to be ardently opposed to free trade.

Not that this is in anyway surprising. What is surprising is the amount of hubris that the White House posesses here. Why would they attempt to beat Republicans over the head with an issue that is quite transparently their fault? I'm sure Mitch McConnell's op-ed has someone in the White House speechwriting shop doing some hasty revision ahead of Thursday's speech, but I'm confident that many other disingenuous blame-the-GOP talking points will somehow make the final address.

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