Nafta, the Democrats and Chasing the End of a Rainbow

“At least five members have said they will vote with the president if he needs their votes.”

It was November, 1993, and then-President Bill Clinton (and his lieutenant, VP Al Gore) were pushing hard for ratification of Nafta. The AFL-CIO was fighting against it. “We tend to have long memories,” said AFL-CIO president, Lane Kirkland. He was threatening congress members who’d gotten elected through labor support, and it was far from clear that Nafta was going to pass congress.

The role of those “pro-labor” congress members was clear, as this article (see reprint) from the Wall St. Journal of Nov. 16, 1993 makes clear. Although it seemed that there were enough votes to kill NAFTA, “the White House cautions that vote counts are tricky. At least five members [of congress] have said they will vote with the president if he needs their votes, while another five say that they would like to be released from pledges to vote for Nafta if their votes aren’t needed.”

In other words, the congressional opposition to Nafta was all a fraud, a shell game. Now you see it, now you don’t.

It’s the same with single payer or Medicare for all or whatever you want to call it today. Even if the Democrats retake congress and the presidency in 2020, there will be just enough votes for it to almost pass. Just barely enough.

Can you say, “chasing the end of the rainbow”?

Categories: politics, United States

2 replies »

  1. Most Democrats voted against it. Most GOPers voted for it (actually all of them if I remember correctly). Pelosi voted for it. She was my Congressperson. The left on the Labor Council in SF, which I was a member then for my union, assailed her and attempted to prevent an re-endorsement of her based on her vote. The bureaucracy a defended her as “good for labor, one of us”. Seriously.

  2. Yes, most Democrats voted against it, but the whole point of this article is that it was all a set-up job. It was understood that it was going to pass anyway, and if there was a doubt as to its passage, then enough Democratic “no” votes would be peeled off. So they got to have their cake and eat it too. It’s the same with “Medicare for all”. Now, they can whoop and holler about it, knowing full well that the Republicans will kill it. Should the Democrats get a majority and the presidency, the same thing will happen – just enough Democrats will join the Republicans to kill it.

Leave a Reply