12:01 AM, Feb 14, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The right and left are moving towards each other, in a sort of pincers movement designed to destroy the army of free traders pressing Congress to give President Obama what is known as fast-track authority. That would permit him to put any trade deals he negotiates with eleven Pacific Rim countries (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP) and the EU (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP) to Congress on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Congress would be precluded from rejecting the concessions the American side had to make to get a deal done.
Dissident Democrats include greens who fear environmental goals might be subordinated to commercial interests, trade unions that believe more trade means fewer jobs and lower wages here at home, and pro-regulation Democrats who worry that the deals might weaken health and safety and other regulations. So adamant are the anti-free-traders on the left that the Democratic leadership, when in control of the Senate, would not even put fast-track to a vote, lest the members be forced to choose between the president and the trade unions.
The president believes he can count on Republicans and some Democrats to provide the votes that would grant him fast-track authority. Most Republicans in Congress have never met a trade union leader, or at least not one who might support them, and so have no fear of union animosity. And they are convinced that freer trade would stimulate economic growth, create high-wage jobs, and, not incidentally, please their corporate and financial backers. Obama hopes to persuade at least some Democrats to go along by promising his green and pro-regulation supporters that he will build into the agreements protections against efforts to use these trade deals to weaken various regulatory provisions of American law.
Enter the couplings of some rather strange bedfellows. Obama can count on support from key Republicans who otherwise have very little use for him. These strange bedfellow include Orrin Hatch in the Senate, and Paul Ryan in the House, the latter pushing the president’s trade deals while at the same time savaging his budget and tax proposals. Opposing the freer-trade coalition is a set of equally strange bedfellows: conservative Republican Tea Partiers and ultra-liberal Democrats. Conservatives contend that Obama has so over-shot his constitutional authority by granting de facto amnesty to some five million illegal immigrants, refusing to enforce federal laws against marijuana, and turning Guantanamo detainees lose to return to battle, that it would be folly to encourage his tendency to rely on unilateral executive orders by giving him fast-track authority. Rick Manning, president of a Tea Party advocacy group, puts it this way, “After President Obama’s power grabs … people have come to the conclusion you should not be giving this president any additional authority.” Liberal Democrats are annoyed with what they see as the president’s failure to protect workers whose wages have stagnated during his tenure in office. “We have trusted and trusted for years and years, and it’s only been to the detriment of American workers … Fast track … will not happen,” Rosa DeLauro, liberal Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut, told reporters.
Proponents of the deals with the EU and the eleven Pacific Rim countries make two arguments. Ryan contends that one out of every five jobs in America is dependent on trade, which seems a bit of an exaggeration given the fact that our exports of goods and services average only about 13.5% of GDP and are exceeded by our imports, which suggests that trade both giveth and taketh away, perhaps creating more jobs for workers making things we buy than it does jobs for American workers making things foreigners buy. The president now adds a second argument. His administration’s just-released national security strategy document contends that trade with Pacific Rim countries would shore up alliances crucial to Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, announced after he proclaimed the wars in the Middle East at an end.
Politicians know that free trade has winners and losers, and right now the potential winners, which include large multi-national corporations and major investment banks, are not quite as popular as the potential losers -- workers who fear their jobs will disappear if we open our markets even more widely to imports from countries that are not as fastidious in adhering to trade rules as we are. China now allows U.S. companies to operate only if they turn over vital intellectual property and trade secrets to the communist regime. And America’s major international airlines -- American, Delta, and United Airlines -- claim they are losing market share in the lucrative business-class overseas market to heavily subsidized Middle Eastern carriers.
3:32 PM, Dec 9, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Even as they publicly condemn Tea Party Republicans as hostage-taking legislative thugs, the truth is that some Democrats are quietly jealous of them.
9:03 AM, Aug 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Forget Bill Clinton. And Richard Nixon. And, for that matter, George W. Bush. The president who has faced the greatest "level of obstruction" is, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the current president of the United States -- Barack Obama.
The Democratic group made the sweeping pronouncement in a fundraising email to supporters over the weekend.
"No President in U.S. history has faced the level of obstruction that Barack Obama has," the email reads. In parentheses, the group adds: "(It’s not even close at this point)."
8:46 AM, Aug 8, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The boss was on the set of MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday to discuss Iraq, the Tea Party, and the midterm elections. Watch the videos below:
8:05 AM, Jun 26, 2014 • By JAY COST
On balance the Republican “establishment” has done fairly well this primary season. Its favored candidate in the Nebraska Senate race lost, and of course Eric Cantor went down to defeat, but Thad Cochran, Lindsey Graham, and Mitch McConnell all hung on. So, all is right in the world, right?
11:18 AM, May 12, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In advance of tomorrow’s Nebraska Republican Senate primary — one of the most hotly contested in the nation — Ben Sasse’s final two television ads note his opposition to Obamacare. The first begins, “Conservatives are rallying in Nebraska against Obamacare and for Ben Sasse,” and it features Sarah Palin speaking in support of Sasse, as well as footage of Ted Cruz, another prominent Obamacare opponent and Sasse supporter. (Paul Ryan, Mike Lee, Rick Santorum, and Tom Coburn have also endorsed Sasse.)
Here’s the ad:
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:10 PM, Mar 19, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with executive editor Fred Barnes on the republicans' efforts to win big in 2014, and whether the Tea Party will play the role of spoiler as republicans hope to take back the Senate.
But not an ordinary congressman. Mar 10, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 25 • By MARIA SANTOS
Representative Kerry Bentivolio once said, “I have a problem figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio. All my life I have been told I’m Kerry Bentivolio, and now I am a Santa Claus, so now I prefer to be Santa Claus.” Bentivolio, a 62-year-old freshman Republican from Detroit, plays Santa in parades and shows for his business, Old Fashioned Santa and Company, back in Michigan.
Remember, remember the sixteenth of December.Dec 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 14 • By RICHARD SAMUELSON
Two hundred and forty years ago this month, a gang of Bostonians dressed as Indians boarded the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver and dumped 90,000 pounds of tea into Boston Harbor. That fateful action on December 16, 1773, and Parliament’s inflammatory response—closing the Port of Boston, altering the colony’s charter, radically limiting popular government in Massachusetts, allowing the quartering of troops in private houses, among other arbitrary measures—precipitated the American Revolution.
Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook was understandably intrigued when Cass Sunstein, a former Obama White House official and former Harvard law professor, published a Bloomberg.com column headlined “How the Alger Hiss Case Explains the Tea Party.” If you know anything about the famous perjury trial of the high-ranking State Department official and Soviet spy, the headline might seem to suggest that Sunstein is admitting the Tea Party has correctly identified insidious political threats.
10:14 AM, Oct 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Democratic congressman Alan Grayson of Florida used an image of a burning cross to spell "Tea Party" in a recent fundraising email:
The email was first noticed by Dave Levinthal:
P.J. O'Rourke referees a political dogfight.Sep 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 01 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
Living in rural New England with four dogs teaches important political lessons—to the dogs.
Paraphrasing a thought from Michael Oakeshott (to the extent one ever could tell what Oakeshott was thinking), politics is “the activity of attending to the general arrangements of what-the-heck.” That is, everything’s a political system. Politics exists even in lonely fields and forests where the nearest neighbor is an exercise-of-a-Second-Amendment-right away.
Hosted by Michael Graham.5:00 PM, Jul 18, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on today's investigative hearings on the IRS scandal.
1:58 PM, Jul 17, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Career IRS employees have testified on Capitol Hill that the federal agency's chief counsel played a part in the scandal of targeting conseratives, the House Ways and Means Committee announced today in a press release. As a result, House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, Ways and Means Subcommittee chair Charles Boustany Jr, and Oversight Subcommittee chair Jim Jordan have sent a letter to the IRS requesting "new documents related to IRS employee discussions about the 2010 election, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and the tax-exempt status of Tea Party groups," a press release announces.