Finally, the dishonesty is being unmasked. Finally, we see just how much we're being lied to when it comes to economic policy. Finally, we see it hasn't just been Hillary Clinton lying about her role in championing NAFTA, but we see it is the entire Clinton machine.
For the last few weeks, Hillary Clinton has been claiming that she never supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She has explicitly claimed "I have been a critic of NAFTA from the very beginning."
Clinton's record of speeches over the last decade, of course, tells a much different story. In 1996, she toured Texas to promote NAFTA. In 1998, she visited Davos, Switzerland to thank corporations for mounting "a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of NAFTA." In her memoir a few years ago, she touted NAFTA as one of her husband's big successes. And in 2004, she told reporters that "NAFTA has been good for New York and America."
And yet, despite all of this evidence, Clinton has worked to confuse voters by insisting that she has always been fighting against NAFTA. As I've written in another post, it is a tactic reminiscent of Joe Lieberman denying he supported the Iraq War in the lead up to his 2006 election contest with Ned Lamont. And it is a tactic that Establishment shills have tried to embolden. As just one example, the esteemed David Gergen has used his television platform to back up Clinton's historical revisionism - and Gergen has been cited by others as "proof" Clinton's claims are true - despite, of course, her very own words.
But now with the release of Clinton's White House schedules, the veneer has been torn off, and the brazen dishonesty is finally on display for everyone to see. As Reuters reports:
"Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton now argues that the North American Free Trade Agreement needs to be renegotiated, but newly released records showed on Wednesday she promoted its passage...Among the thousands of details of daily life for Clinton, there was a November 10, 1993, entry -- a 'NAFTA Briefing drop-by,' in Room 450 of the executive office building next door to the White House, closed to the news media. Approximately 120 people were expected to attend the briefing, and Clinton was to be introduced by White House aide Alexis Herman for brief remarks concluding the program."
ABC's Jake Tapper digs even deeper, noting that at one of the meetings, Gergen "served as a sort of master of ceremonies as various women members of the Cabinet talked up NAFTA." In other words, Gergen has been on television deliberately lying for the Clinton campaign, as he was actually running these NAFTA-promoting events with Clinton. Tapper goes on to interview people who were in the room.
This revelation comes just as the other appendages of the Clinton machine attempts to revise history even further. This week, Rahm Emanuel -- the chief White House lobbyist who rammed NAFTA through Congress -- authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed praising candidates for indicting NAFTA and claiming "I share their concern for Americans who have lost their jobs to global competition." To quote my book Hostile Takeover, this is "the same Rahm Emanuel who penned an op-ed in the conservative Wall Street Journal pressuring Democrats to capitulate and pass the 2000 China trade deal - a move perfectly timed to help secure the critical votes that ultimately passed the deal."
The facts are clear: The Clinton machine joined with K Street to manufacture the very international economic policies that are destroying the economy. And yet, this same machine now claims to have had nothing to do with those economic policies -- at the very moment, the machine is pushing a NAFTA-style Colombia Free Trade Agreement in Congress. We are, in short, experiencing the renaissance of "Clintonism" -- an ideology that treats Americans like we are stupid and treats basic undebatable facts as commodities to be manipulated and perverted for personal gain. And that renaissance should make everyone question all the recent promises by Clinton about changing NAFTA.
Had she simply acknowledged she was for NAFTA and that now she's not for NAFTA, that might give her some credibility. But, then, this is a candidate who just a few months ago laughed at a serious question about NAFTA, claiming "all I can remember are a bunch of charts." In other words, this is a candidate and a campaign machine that is absolutely uninterested in how these policies have devastated the middle class -- and hostile to an honest discussion about those policies. So the question now is simple: Can a Wall Street-backed candidate who denies the undeniable past be trusted with the future?
UPDATE: Just to show you how complacent the media is in the face of lies, the New York Times' headline about the papers is "The Early Word: Clinton Papers Reveal Little." Yes -- the fact that the papers directly refute the very claims about NAFTA she used to win Ohio is not news to the New York Times.
UPDATE II: Jake Tapper has more on how the "schedules show her holding at least five meetings in 1993 aimed at helping to win congressional approval of the deal." Clinton's official defense is now that "numerous contemporary accounts make clear that Hillary Clinton was personally opposed to NAFTA, and her position on NAFTA was and remains consistent." That's nice "contemporary accounts" as a euphemism for "historical revisionism" -- and, of course, those accounts come from people like David Gergen, who we now know is lying.
UPDATE III: The Obama campaign held a conference call with reporters on the NAFTA issue and just issued this memo.