Experienced analysts need to remodel their criteria. Or, at the least, there are processes underway in Washington DC that cannot be explained by traditional concepts. President Obama is a hostage of his own party and has found an essential shore in the Republican Party, which is to say, his antagonist. What is happening to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership is symptomatic of a policy that crosses its own fences and affirms itself as the spokesperson of sectoral and no longer national interests. It is quite clear that the battle to reach an agreement with the 11 other countries in the Pacific will create winners and losers. That idea that this will be a win-win situation for everyone has, by now, been abandoned, left a blunted weapon in the propaganda arsenal. The trend in the congressional disputes certifies the bizarre character of the allegiances. Last week Congress blocked the White House’s request for Fast Track Authority (FTA), the rapid preferential process conceded to approve an agreement in a single vote: take it or leave it, without interminable amendments. The experience teaches that concessions are very often the precursors to approvals. But the Republicans, who believe in the agreement’s principle, voted against the FTA because it included a clause that protected workers. This last aspect presented two opportunities to make the Grand Old Party happy: it reiterated adhesion to laissez-faire ideology (and therefore no protections for workers) and weakened Obama. Adding to the byzantinism, the Democratic Party detracted votes from the measure—that even had its support—to deny the President complete FTA privileges. Obama felt the pinch, but the interests hidden behind the TPP are too important to be held prisoners to Congressional skirmishes. Last Thursday, the two provisions—the FTA and worker protections—were separated and Congress granted Obama the executive velocity he requested. The Senate should pass the FTA in the next few days. A long negotiating marathon is thus concluded, in which the positions are known. The Democratic Party is against an agreement with Asian countries; delocalization, closing expensive, rusting factories in the US to invest in the Pacific with lower salaries and environmental controls is its nightmare. On the eve of the vote, the popular and intellectual soul of the Democratic Party coalesced: workers, unions, intellectuals, and Nobel laureates like Stiglitz and Krugman. They’re afraid of losing jobs and selling American ideals to corporations. On the other hand, Republicans support the sectors that would gain an advantage from increasing markets and the abolition of barriers: Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and big companies in sectors where intellectual property is the most valuable. It’s the umpteenth singularity in the President’s position, the unprecedented situation of supporting an agreement that his party rejects and the opposition encourages. A new subject—the White House—has become the scale’s needle and the victim of its uncertainty, and enriches this hundred-year American bipolarism. Obama has certainly not forgotten his political origins in the industrial metropolis of Chicago; he has not betrayed his convictions and has not been coaxed by Republicans just to make history. He just discovered at the end of his second term that being President means incarnating the ambitions of a nation, not just those of this party. He needs to dialogue with everyone and find a middle ground. His intellectual honesty is beyond question, but his ears are certainly more attentive when he meets the CEOs of large multinationals than when he converses with his electoral base. It remains to be seen whether his ex-electorate will remember this at the polls.