mystery science

Failure Theater is a term we use here to describe the operating principle of the GOP. You make a big show of fighting for something your base really wants while at the same time sabotaging your own efforts. Finally, you just throw up your hands and say “we tried.” What follows after than will be either “the votes just weren’t there” or, “hey, look, over there, SQUIRREL).

Yesterday, I gave the Democrats an ‘attaboy’ for rejecting the TPP ‘fast track’ bill and with it, Barack Obama and ‘all his empty promises.’ The Democrats railed against the secrecy and had demanded that a bill which would ostensibly prevent the TPP bill from allowing a hostile, deeply corrupt and reflexively predatory China unfettered access to US markets:

A heated dispute over how to challenge China on currency policy has imperiled a trade bill that has become President Obama’s top legislative priority, uniting even the president’s top Democratic supporters against taking up the bill in the Senate.

Senator [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ], Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, vowed to press forward with a vote Tuesday afternoon to begin debating legislation granting the president “fast track” negotiating authority to complete a major trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations. But Democrats say they will filibuster the measure unless it is combined with a separate customs enforcement bill that would crack down on currency manipulation.

The Democrats were right in both cases. The secrecy surrounding the TPP bill is simply inexplicable outside the context of there being something really nasty of the US taxpayer deeply embedded in the language.

They put on a good show. A spat was created between the White House and leftwing darling [mc_name name=’Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’W000817′ ] that resulted in one Democrat senator implying Obama was sexist. But in the end they folded like a cheap suit.

Senate Democrats reached a deal with Republicans Wednesday to move forward on U.S. President Barack Obama’s fast-track trade agenda, one day after pro-trade Senators stalled the bill by blocking debate, according to Politico and Roll Call. In exchange for their support on a vote for the fast-track trade authority, Democrats will get separate votes on two related bills on currency manipulation and duty-free status to U.S. imports of goods from certain sub-Saharan African countries.

“We have to take some of these votes separately or we kill the underlying legislation,” said Senate Majority Leader [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ], R-Ky., according to Politico. “It’s reasonable and I look forward to our colleagues from across the aisle joining with us.”

What they did was exchange an arrangement whereby the currency manipulation bill would be an integral part of the fast track bill, in other words if Obama wanted TPP he had to agree to cracking down on Communist China. What they settled for was the TPP bill, with secrecy still intact, which Obama will sign and a separate currency manipulation bill which Obama has said he will veto.

Well played, [mc_name name=’Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’W000817′ ], champion of the little guys and those with high cheekbones. Well played, [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]. Well played, Democrats. You’ve shown you can play Failure Theater as well as the GOP.