Most conservatives support free trade in general, like Ronald Reagan did. In his article he wrote today for Breitbart, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), reaffirmed his support for it, as well. But a great deal of mystery surrounds the back-room negotiations between the White House and Congress on the so-called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, or “fast-track”) bills and amendments. President Obama, himself, has given the public no information at all about the initiative except to assure us that he has our best interests in mind and that he “spend[s] most of [his] time focused on … the Economy.” So we can trust him. Perhaps that’s what he’s thinking about all day, every day, out on the golf course.
I can tell you what I trust. I trust that when Sen. Ted Cruz writes an article that criticizes his own Republican leadership in order to express his reservations about the initiative, in a way that will cause him to suffer punishment, then we can probably believe some of what he has to say. So, from him and other Congressmen, we can conclude some fairly bombproof statements about TPA:
1. It’s not secret because of China. It’s secret because YOU can’t handle the truth. Though it’s been hinted that the whole thing must be negotiated behind closed doors to keep it from our trading partners, this is a bit like saying that we need to whisper around the children so that God doesn’t hear. China is more sophisticated and cut-throat in their trade strategy than we could ever hope to be, and they already know what Obama is planning before the NSA does. And they don’t hide it, or expect us to pretend, either.
2. It changes our immigration laws. As Cruz complained: “Despite the administration’s public assurances that it was not negotiating on immigration,” it turned out otherwise.
3. It’s thoroughly unconstitutional. From the discussions so far, it has become obvious that the agreement involves surrendering authority from Congress over to the Executive Branch that is fundamentally the purview of the Legislative Branch. By definition, this worsens our current Constitutional crisis by further concentrating power in the Executive. How much? Does it matter? How much more poison do we need to get healthy again?
4. Republican leadership is pushing it using enough palace intrigue to make Rasputin blush. In a complex maneuver no one understands, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) lied to Senate Republicans to get their early support (including Cruz’s), and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) made a back-room deal with House Democrats that preserves the corrupt Export-Import Bank and further increases the tax burden on businesses. It’s difficult to imagine any way that Tea Party Conservatives could be more thoroughly sold out by the Republican leadership. Again. Cruz asks: “Why does Republican Leadership always give in to the Democrats?”
5. It’s a Very Bad Idea. If Obama can’t even get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid on board with it, but somehow the brain trusts in the Republican leadership are willing to strip Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) of his chairmanship to enforce voting for it through what Laura Ingraham calls “mafia tactics,” it’s got to be the most fucked-up idea since Prohibition.
Cross-Posted at PoliNation.