Now here’s a marriage you didn’t see coming—the Tea Party and labor unions.
What has brought these two disparate groups together is their opposition to President Obama’s effort to have Congress pass fast track legislation that would make it easier for the ratification of international trade deals. Essentially Congress could not amend the deals and would be required to vote rather quickly on any legislation.
The President told the American public in his State of the Union speech that such legislation was essential for the nation’s economic development. By pursuing free trade and knocking down trade barriers, we would create jobs here making products to ship “over there”.
Unions don’t like the idea because they remember NAFTA which they blame for increasing America’s trade imbalance and hurting our workers because multinational corporations shifted manufacturing from the U.S. to overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor and lower environmental standards.
The Tea Party opposes fast track legislation because they simply don’t want to give President Obama more power over Congress. But not all Tea Party groups oppose the legislation. The Tea Party Express wants to give President Obama the upper hand on trade agreements, thus creating a rift with the Ross Perot wing of the Tea Party like Tea Party Nation.
Will this unholy marriage survive past this one issue? Probably not. These groups simply don’t agree on other big issues. But with the stars aligned on fast track, maybe at least they can have a nice honeymoon before the divorce papers arrive.