Putting Party Before Country

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 29, 2011

José Cárdenas calls out the White House on trade policy:

The Spanish equivalent of chutzpah is “sin vergüenza.” It’s a phrase that comes to mind reading the transcript of President Obama’s recent weekly address on “Getting America Back to Work.”

The president once again signaled his support for pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, but then proceeded to blame Congressional Republicans for ostensibly obstructing their final approval by refusing “to put country ahead of party.” (Since he doesn’t specifically name Republicans, one has to infer he is not speaking about Democrats.)

The audacity is breathtaking. In fact, the charge didn’t escape notice by the Washington Postfact-checker, which admonished the President: “[w]e do think it is a highly selective recounting of…history for the president to suggest GOP lawmakers are blocking the deal because they are putting party before country.”

“Moreover,” it adds, “Obama leaves the distinct impression that Congress is sitting on the bills, when in fact they have not yet been officially submitted for consideration.”

The reason they haven’t been submitted is that the White House knows that the deals will be approved on a straight up-and-down vote in both houses, since a significant number of Democrats support the deals as a way to stimulate production and create jobs.

But the White House’s slow-roll is due to its deference to Big Labor, which opposes the deals and happens to be a key constituency of the president’s party - and just exactly who is putting party ahead of country?

This Administration’s record on trade has been nothing short of terrible. But as usual, it refuses to take responsibility for its policy failures. It doesn’t take much to discover that the Administration spin on trade policy is just not true, but as Cárdenas notes, the White House is willing to try to mislead anyway. The reasons to make Barack Obama’s Presidency a one-term affair just keep piling up.

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