We are starting to see why Hillary did not want to release the records of her actions as First Lady. There are embarrassing and seriously damaging items emerging on a host of issues. I'll address them one by one in articles over the next few weeks. One of the issues that has important implications for the current race for the nomination is the emergence of facts contradictory to what Hillary has said about her past positions on NAFTA.
NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement which came into effect January 1 1994, is blamed by many people throughout Midwestern and Rust Belt states for the region's massive loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico in the late 1990s. Democrats in those regions, in particular, tend to have a negative opinion of NAFTA and those politicians responsible for its passage. Statistics show they have good reason. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, since NAFTA was passed in 1994, net manufacturing employment in the United States has declined by 3,654,000.
The politician most associated with the passage of NAFTA is former President Bill Clinton. Since NAFTA has become such a liability in the race for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton has attempted to paint herself as being opposed to NAFTA all along. This CNN video of Anderson Cooper with Carl Bernstein shows that Hillary and her campaign were trying to sell the idea that Hillary was opposed to NAFTA and actually argued with Bill Clinton in 1993 not to pass NAFTA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXDVLesZSA
In fact, the documents released today show a meeting that Hillary chaired at the White House on November 10, 1993 where she promoted the passage of NAFTA to 120 people. Reports are coming out in every news agency pointing out the contradictions between her stated positions since announcing her bid for the Presidency and everything before that. ABC News' Jake Trapper on Political Punch interviewed several of the attendees of Hillary's November 10th meeting http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/03/clintons-1993-n.html. Trapper reports:
Two attendees of that closed-door briefing, neither of whom are affiliated with any campaign, describe that event for ABC News. It was a room full of women involved in international trade. David Gergen served as a sort of master of ceremonies as various women members of the Cabinet talked up NAFTA, which had yet to pass Congress.
"It wasn't a drop-by it was organized around her participation," said one attendee. "Her remarks were totally pro-NAFTA and what a good thing it would be for the economy. There was no equivocation for her support for NAFTA at the time. Folks were pleased that she came by. If this is a still a question about what Hillary's position when she was First Lady, she was totally supportive of NAFTA.
That first attendee recalls that the First Lady's office in the East Wing put together "the invitation list, who was invited authorizations and all that stuff."
And what is this attendee's response to Clinton today distancing herself from NAFTA? "For people who worked hard to pass NAFTA and who support the importance of markets opening for the economy in the long term, they're very upset. A number of the women who were there are very upset. You need to have some integrity in your position. The Clintons when Bill Clinton was president took a moderate position on trade for Democrats. For her to repudiate that now seems pretty phony."
This Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ0swdRvYgw where MSNBC's Tim Russert covers Hillary's position on NAFTA including her statements on NAFTA in a debate shows a Hillary Clinton constantly trying to have it both ways on NAFTA and contradicting herself every other time she talks about NAFTA.
One of the things you would expect of someone who really has good experience and judgment is that they can articulate a basic set of principles and positions on issues that they can run on and defend and that stay relatively static. I'm not saying you have to stick to them in the face of overwhelming evidence that one of your positions has been proven to be wrong, like George W. Bush does, even someone who has good experience and judgment occasionally changes their mind. That is not what we have with Hillary. Hillary gives a different opinion on the same subjects every couple of weeks depending on her audience and what she thinks it will net her. As evidence of this is now coming out and is going to be presented to the American people in the starkest terms, how can one be expected to trust her to do anything that she says she is going to do? How can one really know what she believes or intends to do about anything? The only things Hillary's experience seems to be good for is perfecting how to talk out of both sides of her mouth, engaging in the politics of personal destruction and other aspects of her ruthless pursuit of power that remind one of what a Karl Rove might do. That kind of person ought not to be the Democratic nominee.