The Word "Progressive" Means Something-- And It Shouldn't Be Re-Defined By Conservatives And Corporate Whores
The phrase Große Lüge-- Big Lie (a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously")-- comes right from Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, although it was his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who really put the phrase on the map.
If Boehner wanted to make a clumsy attempt to lure some self-identifying progressives into supporting the TPP he might start a front organization and call it the Progressive Coalition For American Jobs. But Boehner didn't distort the truth so infamously this time. It was the White House that started this front organization and called it the Progressive Coalition For American Jobs. Grassroots progressives and Beltway progressives, progressives in the House and progressives in the Senate, all oppose the job-destroying, toxic TPP-- except for the progressives in the Progressive Coalition For American Jobs. After all, their thrown-together website claims the group is made up of “progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers" and goes on to state that "it's critical that we give the president trade promotion authority and establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
There’s something weird about the group, though: No one in the Washington, D.C., progressive community seems to have ever heard of them before.So they recruited Massachusetts' ex-Governor, Deval Patrick , who is sometimes considered a progressive, to join up. "Patrick’s involvement," explained the Boston Globe, "is part of the group's recruitment of well-known national Democratic leaders that include former Washington governor Christine Gregoire and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk. The three will head the group's advisory committee... Part of the Obama administration's strategy is to woo members of the Congressional Black Caucus to get behind the trade deal in hopes of gaining votes for its support when the issue comes before the House. Patrick and Kirk are among the most prominent African-American political figures in the country." And then, yesterday, Politico reported that Bain Capital also recruited the ex-governor. "Bain is as progressive as the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs," one congressmember told me last night. "Governor Patrick might as well be part of both of them!"
“Who are they? Are they getting paid? And this group will convince anybody of what?” asked Sen. Sherrod Brown. “There is zero progressive interest in this [trade promotion authority].”
The group’s website provides few details about when the coalition was launched or who’s working for the group. But the team behind the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs includes some of the most senior members of Obama’s campaign team. Lefty site Daily Kos reported Mitch Stewart, the former aide the president tapped to run Organizing For America, and Lynda Tran, the former OFA press secretary are involved. A press release earlier in the week announcing the group came from 270 Strategies, the campaign firm started by Stewart and Obama’s former field director, Jeremy Bird.
Tran told BuzzFeed News the purpose of the group was to boost liberal voices who support the Obama trade agenda.
While there is Democratic support for increasing free trade and the White House has made an effort to placate progressives, arguing any deal will include tough language supporting labor rights and environmental protections, that message hasn’t landed with the left. The Progressive Caucus in the House has released their own set of trade principles arguing that they believe it’s “possible to negotiate a trade agreement that doesn’t replicate the mistakes of the past.” But as it currently stands, House progressives remain diametrically opposed to Obama’s trade agenda.
“If you look at the progressives-- labor unions, activists, online organizations-- who are lined up against the TPP, there are no credible groups left to build a ‘coalition,’” said an aide to a progressive House member, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record. “The creation of a front group like PCAJ is a sign people pushing for a bad trade deal don’t have the votes to jam the [trade deal] through Congress.”
...With the emergence of the Progressive Coalition For American Jobs, some progressives got the feeling Obama’s allies were trying to flip the script.
“It’s insulting,” said Candice Johnson, spokesperson for the Communications Workers of America, one of the many unions organized against TPP. “You put progressive in your name and that’s going to convince people?”
She called the group “fake,” noting that it includes none of the biggest names in progressive politics in its coalition. Johnson wasn’t alone in that characterization.
“As far as I know, the only thing ‘progressive’ about this so called ‘Progressive Coalition for American Jobs’ is the first word of the group’s name,” said Becky Bond, president of CREDO, the San Francisco-based progressive activist known to tangle publicly with the White House.
...“I have been in the trenches working on TPP from the beginning, and as far as I can tell there is no one in favor of it except big corporations,” Mike Lux, a top progressive consultant in Washington, wrote in an email. “Every progressive group and sector that works on economic issues-- labor, consumer groups, enviros, the online groups, civil rights groups, human rights groups, you name it-- is vehemently against TPP, so I don’t know what progressives are in this group’s coalition.”