"This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40% of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment." - Secretary of State Clinton, 2012
Hillary Clinton, the most well-known candidate running for President in 2016, has been on a steady decline in her favorability rankings according to the latest Gallup poll
. While I don't hold complete confidence in any poll, when a well-known candidate like Clinton continues to fall in likability, there is probably an underlying image issue associated with that candidate.
Enter the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a corporate-led and secretive trade agreement that many progressives have serious issues with, and is an agreement Hillary Clinton once labeled as the "gold standard" in trade agreements. Labeling a corporate-centric trade agreement, with serious negative consequences
for our nation as the "gold-standard" probably didn't bolster her favorability ratings; but what also did not help, is her recent reversal of that position, as Clinton announced she is now against the Trans Pacific Partnership
... kind of.
How can Clinton make such a statement without answering a few questions to provide clarity on such a radical shifting of positioning on this issue within just three years? When Hillary stated that the TPP was the gold standard in trade agreements was she lying back then, or does she have access to this latest version of the TPP, and what exactly prompted the change for her to no longer support it (even though her comments didn't state she wouldn't eventually support the deal)?
The Clinton campaign will need to address those questions with clarity, because as of right now, it appears as if Hillary is merely making false promises based on polling data, which will only accelerate the decline in her favorability rankings further. Either way, her wishy-washy stance on the Trans Pacific Partnership, combined with her opaque reasoning for no longer supporting it, is not conducive to fostering trust among the electorate.
In stark contrast, Bernie Sanders came out against the Trans Pacific Partnership back in 2011
. While Clinton was busy supporting and pushing the deal as the "gold standard" in trade agreements around the globe as Secretary of State, Sanders was trying to make American citizens aware of the troubling issues surrounding this corporate-derived trade agreement.
That's the kind of image problem that plagued Hillary's 2008 run at the Presidency, a lack of belief in core issues, and her toughest competition in this year's race (Senator Sanders) usually holds long-term positions in which he acted on as evident by his long voting record and record on public statements.
Not sure Clinton will be able to spin away from her comments on the TPP, but if her campaign is going to succeed this time around, she'll need to be honest; even if the truth is that she is a plutocrat, interested in advancing corporate interests for things she believes will be best for our country.
A truth I doubt we'll hear from the Clinton campaign any time soon.