Barak Obama is in the fourth quarter of his presidency. Like any president nearing the end of his time in office, visions of the legacy he will leave behind flutter through his conscience far more frequently than before. Mistakes made…opportunities missed…become even more onerous with each dwindling tick of the clock.
The president believes that the path to securing America’s future economic growth passes through Asia. He has made it clear that one of the top entries remaining on his bucket list is to build a strong trade agreement with the countries of the Pacific Rim.
Any trade agreement which the president might envision would require the approval of a Republican controlled Senate that has demonstrated little interest in helping him to build his legacy. Fully recognizing that his trade initiative would get bogged down in the political quicksand inherent in this august body; the president chose a different tact.
The president tried to force a vote on trade promotion authority which would allow the administration to present the trade deal for a straight up or down vote without any amendments or prospect of filibuster. The measure failed by a 52-45 vote.
But this time it wasn’t the Republicans who thwarted the president’s initiative. It was members of his own party that threw him under the bus. Only one Democrat, Senator Tom Harper of Delaware, stood by the president.
The details of the trade deal really are not that important at this time. Senator Harry Reid was already working on a compromise before the final vote was cast. The bigger story is Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the part she played in defeating the leader of her own party.
For the past several weeks Senator Warren has been the number one voice in opposition against the president’s bill; expressing her concerns that the bill would deflate American wages and cost American jobs. She was particularly vocal in speaking out against the president’s attempt to fast track the bill via the trade promotion route: “If this bill is a good as the president says it is then let’s see all the details and then sit down and have a vigorous debate.
The president chose to make the debate personal; referring to Senator Warren by name as one of his party who were spreading false information about the details of the bill and its effects on American jobs.
In the end Senator Warren won…and in the process dealt a huge blow to the president and his legacy.
Senator Warren has been in the senate but a minute. But she has used her limited time wisely; and has emerged as a driving force with the Democratic Party. She has proven herself to be fearless in taking on the banks and the major corporations. She has become the standard bearer for the middle class and she has single handedly moved the party toward its more progressive roots. Yesterday she took on the president…and won.
Much to the dismay of many on the left…Elizabeth Warren is NOT running for president. However, while she may not officially be a candidate she will have a tremendous influence on the party’s nominee, the upcoming election and the long term future of the Democratic Party.