The real awkward moment came on Thursday night, when he showed up, armed security entourage and beer in tow, at her charity insider baseball game, expecting her to fast-track all the way home on the TPP without even touching first base -- which in a functioning democracy, would include the release of its actual contents to the public. He didn't even call first, the cad.
Not to be suspicious of Pelosi's virtue or, god forbid, ethics, but let's be perfectly honest here. She is really hot to consummate the corporate coups disguised as trade deals. But she has simply been unable to catch a privacy break. (also look at her uncivil bringing-up-the rear treatment by Obama at the game, above) Not only were members of her own caucus publicly dissing her for whipping pro-TPP votes behind their backs on a fevered daily basis, but her own constituents back home in San Francisco were beginning to act up. Hanging up on their calls wasn't working. They just began showing up at her office in person, showing all the telltale signs of discontent and opprobrium:
Nancy Pelosi presumably wants to stay in Congress well past her sell-by date. Therefore, after bragging about what a great speaker and leader she's been all these years (regardless of her refusal to impeach war criminal George W. Bush when she had the chance) she regretfully took out her little jar of harmless designer sand and sprinkled it all over Obama's fast-track luge run of dreams. But she and Barack both see this for what it is: a theatrical attempt to retain an outward appearance of democracy and propriety. They and their pals in Congress will be back at their orgy of greed again as early as next week. They just need to provide a slightly larger fig leaf than the weak, separate, cynical Trade Adjustment bribe proffered by the GOP to grease the skids for TPA (fast track). Even paltry displaced worker assistance was voted down by the Dems, partly because it involved robbing Medicare recipients to pay for worker re-training. As Pelosi hinted, restoration of Medicare funds and horsetrading with Republicans over some infrastructure spending might be just the ticket for a smoother trip to TPP paradise for the oligarchs.
The fix is still in. Fig leaves are a dime a bribed dozen, so therefore we progressives must not rest on our laurels. Today's temporary victory is by no means the "stinging defeat" for a cruelly spurned president that the corporate press is making it out to be. A New York Times news analysis* by Jennifer Steinhauer, for example, makes the TPP all about personalities instead of about the actual corporate power-grabs contained therein. To Steinhauer, we have ourselves a breach of etiquette problem instead of a corruption problem. It was neither fear of the electorate nor a new-found moral compass, but the same old Beltway "dysfunction" that caused Democrats to "abandon their president", she says.
After years of Republican derision of President Obama’s fiscal agenda, which they frequently describe as socialism, in the end it was the president’s own Democratic Party that deprived him of what would have been the largest economic policy victory of his second term.Where do you even begin? Instead of ordinary citizens both here and abroad temporarily dodging the cruel neoliberal bullet (hollow point, because once TPP enters the body politic, it explodes into a thousand little bomblets ripping apart the whole fabric of democracy) we have a multimillionaire politician being stabbed in the back by a twisting Democratic knife. It's all about Obama -- a true hollow man for the ages.
The stunning defeat was the culmination of years of political dysfunction in Washington, with a twist.
After decades of watching presidents secure trade agreements from South Korea to Mexico, even in the face of opposition from their base, Democrats have broadly come to the conclusion that such agreements exacerbate income inequality. They refused to come out in sufficient numbers to help Mr. Obama bring a broad agreement over the line.Steinhauer insinuates that only bitch-slapping Democrats have come to the "conclusion" that trade deals exacerbate income inequality. She doesn't bother to research whether or not this is true. She cares only about the spurned hollow man.
Mr. Obama’s struggle also reflected a longstanding policy of the administration of maintaining a cool distance from Capitol Hill, enraging members of both parties. He delegated most of the arm-twisting to his unpopular trade representative, Michael Froman, thus allowing a populist figure, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, to take up much of the oxygen on the debate. She railed against trade deals on television during the period when the White House was trying to seduce those on the fence.Can there be a mainstream article mentioning Elizabeth Warren without taking the obligatory dig at her? In this episode, we envision Warren greedily sucking up all the oxygen as she "rails" (like a banshee) to torture poor Barry. Slanted journalism like this is how public opinion gets manufactured to side with plutocratic interests. This is the journalism of what Tariq Ali aptly calls "the extreme center."
Steinhauer snarkily and falsely and centristically concludes,
As they return to their home districts for the weekend, Democrats will now have the distinct pleasure of experiencing what Republicans have undergone for the last few years — a narrative of their party in disarray and divided.Huh? With all but 39 House Democrats "spurning" lover boy, the party is hardly divided. It is, however, beginning to lean ever so slightly and gingerly to the left.
The Times editors chose wisely when they assigned Jennifer Steinhauer to concoct her Beltway-centric TPP confection. Before her current gig covering Congress, she covered Hollywood. She is also the author of a new recipe book about how to recreate such toxic junk food classics as Twinkies and Sno-balls in your own kitchen.
|Garbage In, Garbage Out|
She gushes, "For Americans of a certain age, memory lane is paved with Ho-Hos."
Just like the paving stones of Pennsylvania Avenue, K Street and Capitol Hill.
Blue Dogs, Devil Dogs, Horn Dogs, Corn Dogs, All-American stadium Hot Dogs -- it's one big happy cash party for all the greed-junkies who are slow-dancing the TPP and trampling the rest of us underfoot in the process.
Wall Street didn't even blink in the wake of the "stinging defeat." Maybe because Friday's vote is in reality a teasing butterfly floating for more bribery dollars?
*Update, 6/13: Sorry to mix metaphors from the above post, but since publication last night, New York Times reporter and Obama publicist Peter Baker horned in on Jennifer Steinhauer's piece in order to bat cleanup, relegating her to second banana in the byline department. Baker rewrote the lede, spinning the narrative in a way most favorable to Obama. His overwrought pathos begins:
He made it personal. He appealed to their loyalty. He asked them to give him what every modern president has had. He argued the facts, disputed the politics, quarreled over the history and at times lashed out at those who still refused to stand with him.This makes Obama seem like a hero-martyr rather than the hapless knifing victim portrayed by Steinhauer. Baker goes on to repeat the White House excuse that Friday's vote was just another one of those procedural snafus, and that Obama is actually victorious. The vote was belittled as "a nasty little issue" by one of the political operatives in Baker's part of the news analysis. The White House is also quoted as finding Nancy Pelosi "oddly in a mystery zone" -- which, I suppose, is a politically correct way of saying that she's senile. Before voting against all aspects of the trade package, Pelosi is described by Baker as having been "uncharacteristically shaken" and "vague." Baker all but called for an assisted living ambulette for this woman. You almost feel sorry for her.
Key word: almost. Maybe Jennifer Steinhauer can whip up a batch of Devil Dogs and bring them over to Pelosi as she engages in yet another secretive frenzy of weekend whip counting. The vagueness is a big act. It's how these people flirt and seduce one another.