Warren on Clinton: ‘I’d Like to See Her Be Clearer’ On Trade Deal

Clinton takes part in a Center for American Progress roundtable discussion on "Expanding Opportunities in America's Urban Areas" in Washington
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Bloomberg Politics reports on the current state of the elaborate 2016 presidential dance between presumed Democrat favorite Hillary Clinton and the Left’s new darling, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Warren sounds almost exasperated enough to throw her phony Native American headdress into the ring:

Senator Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t say Tuesday whether her differences with Hillary Clinton over trade would cause her to withhold her endorsement from the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

Asked repeatedly by Bloomberg’s Peter Cook if Clinton’s still-vague position might cause her to withhold support, Warren repeatedly refused to answer.

“What I think you’re asking me is does this matter to me? ” she said. “The answer is it matters to millions of workers across this country.”

Warren threw in a crack about how President Obama’s trade deal is so secretive that even his former Secretary of State doesn’t know what’s in it – a state of affairs that sadly didn’t stop power-hungry Democrats from passing the Affordable Care Act a few years ago – but nevertheless cut Clinton very little slack for her ignorance.

“She’s always said that she is opposed to that, but I’d like to see her be clearer on that,” said Warren, referring to provisions of the deal that might undermine U.S. regulations.

It’s hard to imagine how Clinton could be any less clear. Her comments in Iowa on the trade deal are an absolute marvel of wait-and-see gutless triangulation. “I have said I want to judge the final agreement,” she told a small-business roundtable in Cedar Falls. “I have been for trade agreements. I have been against trade agreements.”

Translation: Let me know when this is all over, and I’ll retroactively align myself with the winning side. As I have always said, I am in favor of good things, and opposed to bad things. It’s called “leadership,” people. Look it up.

The risk of such an oxygen-wasting non-statement is that it might end up annoying everyone instead of pleasing everyone. That seems to be the case here, judging by Warren’s grumpy feedback. It doesn’t help that Clinton spent the last few weeks in a bunker, refusing to speak with anyone except the hand-picked props at her political events. Emerging from the shadows to squeak that she’s still pondering your position and might have a firm statement ready sometime in the next decade isn’t going to win many friends.

About the only thing Clinton will say with any conviction is that she wants the trade deal to “protect American jobs and increase wages,” as MarketWatch puts it. That’s downright hilarious coming from the party that can’t wait to flood the job market with millions of low-wage illegal aliens. Fortunately for the Democrats, their loyal voters are incapable of understanding supply-and-demand relationships.

Trade-deal politics are tricky on both sides of the aisle, but it’s particularly thorny for the Democrats when all of their declared and likely 2016 presidential candidates – Clinton, Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley – are against a deal the current President, Barack Obama, is pushing with great vigor.

Granted, the Democrat candidate for 2016 must distance herself from Obama’s failures without seeming to disrespect or disown the outgoing President. A retreat into protectionism, coupled with a call for even greater micro-management of the economy, is one way to accomplish that objective. Won’t this left-wing populist backlash against Obama might damage the wheezy Democrat narrative about Republican obstructionism preventing Obama from unleashing his full magnificence upon America, since the Republican congressional leadership is trying to help him get this trade deal through?

One cannot help wondering if much of the internal Democrat squabbling over the trade deal is political theater, designed to create an opening to Obama’s left, and heighten the drama before Elizabeth Warren’s inevitable endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s scandals may yet drag her down, so playing coy with her endorsement lets Warren keep her decks clear for an eleventh-hour party-savior substitution.

If Clinton survives the scandals, Warren isn’t going to marginalize herself in the party by acting obstinate. She knows Democrat voters will march out for whoever the Party candidate is, whether alleged populist rising stars endorse them or not… but if the Party candidate goes on to defeat, they’ll be looking for scapegoats.