This week, the nation waited in breathless anticipation for the expected announcement tomorrow that Jeb Bush is running for president. Bush, who seems more adept at raising money than votes (he hasn't gotten one since 2002, the year his brother called for "regime change" in Iraq), appears to be the Republican most capable of uniting the money wing of the party with the money wing of the party. If nothing else, Bush's extended run-up to actually running demonstrates how pointless and fake so much of campaign coverage is. And the "process journalism" doesn't stop after Election Day. On Friday, President Obama suffered a defeat on fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But most of the coverage was over the political and procedural ins-and-outs rather than the effects of the bill itself. Too bad we can't contain the media's horse-race coverage to the exploits of American Pharoah.
There are few policies that show the split between elite opinion and everyone else as clearly as trade policy. On trade we see a remarkable convergence of the leadership of both parties against their base, with the elites firmly behind the leadership against what they view as the ignorance of the masses.
This is not our parents' trade bill. It is not about providing fair trade -- which we all support. Fast track is about pushing through the TPP, TTIP and future trade agreements that would massively increase the power of big corporations and affect the daily lives of Americans. The impacts go beyond job loss -- as serious as that is.
On trade policy, Clinton now finds herself to the right of Mr. Wall Street Democrat, Chuck Schumer. And this is only the first of countless tests of where Clinton really stands -- tests that will keep coming up between now and primary season. If she is presenting herself as a forceful leader, it ill-becomes Clinton to duck.
Can reasonable people disagree about the issues at hand in the TPP and TTIP? Absolutely. The president is wrong to suggest that his supporters in Congress and beyond are irresponsible when they question these agreements -- particularly given that his administration continues to keep them classified as a "national security" matter.
The legitimate force that drives trade agreements is companies' need for predictability and stability in order to invest beyond the borders of their home country. Everyone can support that. But where trade agreements go wrong is in secret negotiations, with virtually zero democratic input or accountability