Sunday, April 26, 2015

Taking It Out in Trade

I'd like to think that President Obama put his foot in his mouth the other day, when he compared Senator Elizabeth Warren's criticism of his Transpacific Partnership trade pact to certain Republicans' claims about "death panels" in the Affordable Care Act.  I'm putting it indirectly like that because Obama didn't name Sarah Palin in his remarks, leaving it to others to connect the dots, which they've obligingly done.

Obama claimed that Warren (and Bernie Sanders and other liberal critics of the TPP) are factually wrong about the TPP, even going so far as to say that they "can walk over today and read the text of the agreement. There’s nothing secret about it.”  This appears to be a lie.  Yes, Warren replied (along with her colleague Sherrod Brown), members of Congress can read the text (as can lobbyists and other corporate personnel), but the public and the media can't, because the text is classified. 

The implied comparison to Palin is of course miserably insulting.  If Warren's as stupid and dishonest as Palin, why did Obama appoint her as his special assistant and advisor on the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?  On the contrary, Warren is what is commonly called a "wonk," a studious and hard-working person with a strong interest in detail.  Palin is a sloppy, intellectually lazy person who sees no reason why she should be bothered with factual accuracy.  Warren might very well be mistaken about aspects of the TPP, but you'd have to be a fool to take Obama's word for it.  And this is ironic, isn't it:
"What I am averse to is a bunch of ad hominem attacks and misinformation that stirs up the base but ultimately doesn't serve them well. And I'm going to be pushing back very hard if I keep hearing that stuff," Obama told reporters on Friday.
It's the typical Obama response to his critics from the left: first mockery, then abuse, then threats.  I doubt it will hurt him; some of the faithful will get angry, since Warren is a popular figure among progressive Democrats nowadays, but if the anger gets out of hand, Obama will make some trivial, derisive gesture of apology or appeasement and all will be forgiven.